Weather

Korean Climate

Mean Temp 26.6°C  79.88°F at Taegu     

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

Korea Temps - 1950-1953 - Station 143 (Daegu)


Overview

 August

12 August 1950 - Sach'ŏn Offensive (Changchon Ambush)

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August

12-13 August 1950(night) - Enemy Counter Attack (Hill 202)

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August

12-14 August 1950 - Sach'ŏn Offensive

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Bio

Gen. MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo announced that Task Force Kean, made up of soldiers and Marines, made a 27-mile advance to take hill positions east of Chinju and stop a North Korean advance on Pusan. During the drive, the task force routed many enemy units, according to the statement, and captured a lot of Russian equipment. The Marines then redeploy to the Naktong front below Taegu. Army forces pull back and set up along the road leading from Masan to Yŏngsani,

-- B-29 Superfortresses drop 500 pounds of bombs on Najin, a major seaport and rail center 20 miles from Manchuria through which Russia ships supplies to North Korea.

-- The Army reported that two North Korean lieutenants surrendered to Americans using "safe conduct passes" Air Force planes have been dropping in enemy areas.

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Two SA-16s and three SB-17s were used this date for orbit missions. Total flying time for these missions was thirty six hours and thirty five minutes. (36:35)

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USN_Units

Aug. 12: USN Task Force 77 stopped close air support and interdiction strikes in South Korea and moved up Korea's west coast to attack interdiction targets in North Korea, leaving all air attacks in South Korea to FEAF. More than 40 B-29s attacked the port of Rashin in northeastern Korea, near the border of the Soviet Union.

[note]

 

Endangered by the NKA advance to P'ohang, two squadrons of F-51s in the 35th FIG moved from nearby Yŏnil airfield in South Korea to Tsuiki AB, Japan.

[note]

 

Citations

Medals   

Distinguished Service Cross

19500812 0000 DSC BAUMGARTNER

19500812 0000 DSC CRYTZER

19500812 0000 DSC GIBSON

19500812 0000 DSC SOWL

19500812 0000 DSC TEDFORD

19500812 0000 DSC VANDERVOORT

 

 

Silver Star

Barth, George B. [BGen SS CG DivArty25thID]

Beckley, Jerry E. [PFC SS B555thFAB]

Carroll, Robert M. [1stLt H7thCR]

Coghill, William F. [1stLt SS 24thReconCo24thID]

Cowling, David S. [2ndLt SS PltLdr B5thMR]

Dupras, Edward P., Jr. [Maj SS LFC SOG AmphGrp-1]

Giaquinto, Raymond A. [Cpl SS FTLdr G5thMR]

Hall, Edward C., Jr. [2ndLt SS 1stBn5thMR1stPMB]

Rodgers, John P. [Sgt SS A90thFAB]

Small, Selden Clobridge [Cmdr SS ComNE Recon]

Smith, Edwin P., Jr. [Lt(jg) SS1 UDT-1 SOG AmphGrp-1]

Smith, Harrison E. [PFC SS HqHqBtry90thFAB]

Welch, David Fife [LtCmdr SS CO UDT-1 SOG AmphGrp-1]

Willard, Donald W. [Cpl SS 1stMD]

 

[note]

 

 

Forgotten Regiments of the Korean War

 

  

On the 12th, his [Lt. Col. John T. Corley, 3/24th] battalion attacked through the rugged mountains just south of Sobuk-san (Hill 738), an area of high, very steep, narrow-topped ridges and deep valleys.  

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Def

"Colonel Unni Nayar, India’s, UNCOK - United Nations Commission on Korea (UNCOK) Representative and two British correspondents were killed when their jeep struck a land mine on the Naktong front." 

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   Unit Info

The US Army’s 5th Regimental Combat Team and the 25th Infantry Division’s 35th Infantry Regiment joined forces east of Chinju to continue the Task Force Kean counteroffensive that pushed the North Koreans back twenty miles.

[note]

 

 

Ridgway duels for Korea

 

 

August

General Ridgway's trip to the Far East Command and Korea with the Harriman group in August 1950 was his first and only visit to Korea until he arrived there in December to assume command of Eighth Army. During this visit, Ridgway, in a letter to his mother on 12 August 1950, wrote that Korea looked just like parts of China he had seen.

[note]

 

 

South then North

 

The N. K. 6th Division now took up defensive positions opposite the 25th Division in the mountains west of Masan. It placed its 13th Regiment on the left near the Nam River, the 15th in the center, and the 14th on the right next to the coast. Remnants of the 83rd Motorized Regiment continued to support the division.

The first replacements for the 6th Division-2,000 of them-arrived at Chinju reportedly on 12 August. Many of these were South Koreans from Andong, forced into service. They were issued hand grenades and told to pick up arms on the battlefield. Prisoners reported that the 6th Division was down to a strength of between 3,000-4,000 men. Apparently it still had about twelve T34 tanks which needed fuel. The men had little food. All supplies were carried to the front by A-frame porters, there placed in dumps, and camouflaged with leaves and grass. [16-50]

During the fighting between Task Force Kean and the N. K. 6th Division on the Masan front, violent and alarming battles had erupted elsewhere. Sister divisions of the N. K. 6th in the north along the Naktong were matching it in hard blows against Eighth Army's defense line. The battles of the Pusan Perimeter had started.

[note]

 

Unit Info  

The next day Eighth Army attached the 27th Infantry to the 24th Division with the mission of attacking north to Yŏngsan-ni,. Army estimates credited two enemy battalions with being east of the Yŏngsan-ni,-Masan road. In the fight northward during 12 August, Murch's 2nd Battalion encountered entrenched enemy who fought with mortars, machine guns, and small arms. An air strike co-ordinated with the ground attack helped it drive the enemy from his positions. In this attack, the 2nd Battalion killed about 100 enemy, wounded an unknown number, and captured twelve machine guns and a number of "Buffalo" guns (14.5-caliber antitank rifles). [17-45]

[note]

 

That night, 11 August, the fighter planes at Yŏnil flew to another airfield for security, but returned the next day. From hills to the south and southwest of the airstrip enemy troops delivered long-range, ineffective fire against it. Even though this fire did no damage, it created a state of alarm. The next day, 12 August, 28-year-old Colonel Kim Hi Chun, acting on General Walker's orders, in a successful attack eastward from An'gang-ni, led his ROK 17th Regiment into Yŏnil, greatly to the relief of everyone there.

[note]

 

The N.K. 3rd Division's attempted crossing of the Naktong south of Waegwan had ended in catastrophe. When the survivors of the 7th Regiment rejoined the division on or about 12 August, the once mighty 3rd Division was reduced to a disorganized unit of some 2,500 men.

The North Korean Army placed the division in reserve to be rebuilt by replacements. [19-25] This division, which had been the first to enter Sŏul at the beginning of the war, fought the battle of Choch'iwŏn, crossed the Kum River before Taejŏn and defeated the 18th Infantry there, joined subsequently with the 4th Division in the capture of Taejŏn, and drove the 1st Cavalry Division from Yŏngdong, was now temporarily out of the fight for Taegu.

[note]

 

The 2nd Battalion, 29th Regiment, was the first unit of the division to cross the river. Its troops waded unopposed to the east side, during the night of 11-12 August, at three ferry sites 3 to 5 miles due west of Hyŏnp'ung. This battalion climbed Hill 265, a northern spur of Hill 409, 2 miles southwest of Hyŏnp'ung, and set up machine gun positions. The other two battalions then crossed and occupied Hill 409.

About twenty to thirty men of the 1st Battalion reportedly drowned in the 5-foot-deep swift current in this crossing. It will be recalled that this enemy force in the Hill 409 area ambushed an I&R patrol from the 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Division, on the morning of 12 August, when it moved north along the river road trying to establish contact with the 7th Cavalry Regiment during the battle of the Naktong Bulge. [19-28]

[note]

 

The first replacements for the division [ N.K. 6th Division] arrived at Chinju on or about 12 August.

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Bio   Bio   Def

The drop in air delivery to Korea caused General Partridge, commanding the Far East Air Forces, to complain on 10 August that the Army was not fully using the airlift's 200-ton daily capacity. That day, Eighth Army ordered curtailment of delivery by the Red Ball Express and increased use of the airlift to its maximum capacity. The reason given for this action was a sudden apprehension that the port of Pusan could not process promptly the flow of water-borne supplies. The absurdity of the logistical situation was illustrated the next day, 11 August, when, upon General Partridge's suggestion, two 2 1/2-ton trucks were airlifted in a C-119 from Tachikawa Air Base in Japan to Taegu.

The Air Force planned to airlift two trucks daily in this manner.

As a result of this development, Eighth Army on 12 August ordered that, effective 15 August, the Red Ball Express be discontinued except on Tuesday and Friday of each week when it would carry cargo difficult for the planes to handle. Under this arrangement airlift tonnage greatly increased. On 16 August, transport planes carried 324 tons of cargo and 595 passengers; on 19 August, 160 tons of cargo and 381 passengers; on 28 August, 398 tons of cargo and 343 passengers; and, on 29 August, 326 tons of cargo and 347 passengers. [11]

[note]

 

  

The 6th Medium Tank Battalion served as Eighth Army reserve near Taegu in August; the 70th joined the 1st Cavalry Division on 12 August; and the 73rd on army orders sent its companies to support various ground operations around the Pusan Perimeter -

A Company to Ulsan guarding the eastern main supply route,

B Company to Task Force Bradley at Yŏngju and Kigye, and

C Company to the 27th Infantry in the Bowling Alley north of Taegu.

[note]

 

Bio

On 12 August, MacArthur issued CINCFE Operation Plan 100-B and specifically named the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul area as the target that a special invasion force would seize by amphibious assault. [25-6]

[note]

 

Bio  


X Corps troops Assembled

By 20 July General MacArthur had settled rather definitely on the concept of the Inch'ŏn operation and he spoke of the matter at some length with General Almond and with General Wright, his operations officer.

On 12 August, MacArthur issued CINCFE Operation Plan 100-B and specifically named the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul area as the target that a special invasion force would seize by amphibious assault. [25-6]

On 15 August General MacArthur established the headquarters group of the Special Planning Staff to take charge of the projected amphibious operation. For purposes of secrecy the new group, selected from the GHQ FEC staff, was designated, Special Planning Staff, GHQ, and the forces to be placed under its control, GHQ Reserve.

On 21 August, MacArthur requested the Department of the Army by radio for authority to activate Headquarters, X Corps, and, upon receiving approval, he issued GHQ FEC General Order 24 on 26 August activating the corps. All units in Japan or en route there that had been designated GHQ Reserve were assigned to it. [25-7]

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The Forgotten War

 

   Bio

On August 12 Johnnie Walker again flew in to confer with  John Church. He found complete chaos. The NKPA forces were swarming all over the MSR and had all but surrounded Yŏngsan-ni,. The three infantry regiments dug in facing the Naktong (9th; 19th; 34th) were desperately repelling new all-out NKPA assaults. Gordon Murch's 2/27 and George De Chow's 3/27 were coming up from the south toward Yŏngsan-ni,; but the Wolfhounds had run head-on into thousands of fleeing refugees, and progress was slow. Worse yet, every yard gained pushed more unwanted NKPA troops against Yŏngsan-ni,.

The situation convinced Walker that unless he committed further reserves, there was danger that the NKPA might capture Yŏngsan-ni, and continue east to Miryang and block the main Taegu - Pusan road and railway. He therefore reluctantly ordered 2nd Division commander Dutch Keiser to provide a battalion combat team from another of his regiments, the 23rd Infantry.

The 23rd, like the 9th, also had a brand-new Pentagon assigned commander, West Pointer (1929) Paul F. Freeman, forty-three. Freeman was an "old China hand." He had first served there with the 15th Infantry Regiment from 1933 to 1936. Three years later he returned to China as a language student and intelligence officer and was still in China when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. As the Pacific War spread, he migrated to India, where he became G4 to Joseph W. ("Vinegar Joe") Stilwell, and later organized Stilwell's commando team, which became famous in Burma as Merrill's Marauders.

Returning to the Pentagon in mid1943 as Stilwell's emissary, Freeman was drafted into the Army's war plans group. After working on the plan for the invasion of the Philippines, in late 1944 he joined the operation, serving as chief of staff of the 77th Division on Leyte and Luzon and the Sixth Army and I Corps G3. On Leyte he had a brief tour of combat leadership when he led a two company task force and "got shot at."

After the war George Marshall invited him to join his China mission, but Freeman was "fed up" with China and declined, choosing instead duty in the Army's Latin America section, working with or under Matt Ridgway and Godwin Ordway.

Upon the outbreak of the Korean War Freeman was ordered to command the 23rd Infantry. Like John Hill, he was appointed RCT commander, leaving in place the incumbent regimental commander, West Pointer (1931) Edwin J. (Ed") Messinger, forty-three, a noted athlete and paratrooper who had fought with the 17th Airborne Division in the ETO. However, unlike Hill, Freeman knew Dutch Keiser well from prior service and balked at this "bastard" command arrangement. Upon his arrival in Korea, the RCT title was abolished. Freeman took direct command of the regiment, and Ed Messinger was demoted to exec. In return, Freeman remained deeply loyal to Keiser and, almost alone among the senior officers of the division, defended Keiser's style of commanding from his CP.

Thanks to the fine work of Messinger and others, Freeman found the 23rd Regiment to be well trained and officered. Mated to the 37th FAB, commanded by West Pointer (1933) William H. Richardson, it arrived in Pusan ready for combat.

[note]

 

  

When Freeman received Dutch Keiser's orders to provide a combat team to help rescue the 24th Division, he chose the 1/23. It was commanded by another new arrival to the division, West Pointer (1938) Claire E. Hutchin, thirty-four. Hutchin had never led troops in combat. During World War II he had been a Pentagon war plans officer; in the postwar period he had accompanied the Marshall mission to China. But Hutchin was fortunate to draw an able, combat experienced exec, Cesidio V. ("Butch") Barberis, who had served in Walker's XX Corps in World War II.

[note]

 

 

U.S. Air Force

 

 

In accordance with my instructions, General Banfill presented a written request to General Willoughby to prepare psychological warfare leaflets for dropping in North Korea, for the purpose of warning the civilian population, particularly women and children, to move away from military objectives within North Korea.

General Banfill also expressed to General Willoughby my concern over the latitude given the press in reporting both enemy and our own dispositions. This has reached a point where American lives are definitely being jeopardized and I recommend that consideration be given to the imposition of some form of censorship. General Willoughby's answer was to the effect that while he himself agreed in principle, the Commander-in-Chief was definitely opposed to censorship in any form.


Major General T. S. Power of SAC arrives Tokyo. Took Generals Power, Craigie, Weyland and Timberlake (in from Taegu, Korea) to lunch at the Union Club.


Major General Frank E. Lowe, USAR, sent me the letter he wrote to General O'Donnell, commending the latter on the efficiency of his command, his abilities as a leader, and extending his thanks for the "ride"¯ over targets in the "Tiger Lil"¯ - piloted by a Capt. Bill Campbell of the 31st Recon Sq. Forwarded the letter on to O'Donnell expressing my gratification and pleasure on General Lowe's successful flight over Korea and that said flight would produce an accurate report back to the President. General Lowe is the Presidents personal representative out here.

Dispatched the following letter to General LeMay:

Here are a few highlights on the operations of FEAF which are of particular interest to you. As you probably read in news dispatches, elements of the 98th Bombardment Group participated in an attack four days and twenty-three hours after their departure from the ZI. Not to be out done, the 307th Bomb Group did equally well having flown an additional 3,000 miles in approximately the same relative time. The performance of the 22d and the 92d Bombardment Groups has been outstanding and far exceeded our planned operations to date. Personnel in the bomb groups have per- formed their duties on the ground and in the air in an exemplary manner. The combat crews have worked side by side with the maintenance crews loading bombs, arming turrets and assisting generally in the engineering maintenance of the aircraft. Inclement weather without the benefit of cover or hangar space, has made this no easy task. The 19th Bomb Group is being rapidly built up and their results have been excellent against precision targets. I believe you'll find them well qualified to participate in your overall plan when called upon. They are nearly on a par with the 22d and 92d right now. Rosie O'Donnell is doing a bang-up job and although not able at all times to use his '29s on targets to his liking, he has loyally and efficiently carried out the directives given to him. Thanks for letting him come. We are now using the five (5) medium bomb groups on targets north of the 38th Parallel. Until certain interdiction targets which require precision bombing have been taken out, the FEAF Bomber Command will be directed to employ: Two bomb groups with their main effort on inter- diction targets and three bomb groups on the mass destruction of selected targets. I take this opportunity to tell you of the very superior service that your liaison officer, Lt. Colonel James E. Trask[188-Col Trask was a FEAF plans and programming officer.] has performed since joining FEAF. He knows the bomber business, he has pitched in and worked in my plans section - at times straight through twenty-four hours. I consider him one of the finest young officers that I have come in con- tact with for a long time. His smartness, his knowledge of medium bomber tacts, his loyalty to you and the Air Force and his absolute loyal cooperation with me and my staff have all been outstanding. I commend him to you when he returns for any important assignment that you have - and for promotion. He will wear a decoration when he leaves which I will award to him personally. I also take this opportunity to thank you for the personal interest that you have taken in our job over here and the expeditious manner in which your units have moved to the Far East and the spirit with which they have jumped in to do the job that has been assigned to them. A visit from you, in which General MacArthur joins me, would be most welcome. Tommy Power is here with us today which has been most worthwhile to us and I am sure will be to you. Again, many many thanks for your help and the spirit in which it has been rendered.


 


At 1530 hours did a telecast at the request of Charles DeSorias of the Los Angeles Times TV Station. Mr. DeSorias did the interviewing. His questions were: what can I report to the American people as to the AF position to-date, something about the fighters - what they have done, the performance of the Mustangs, the striking force of the '29s - and a summary from me.

I answered all questions at length - re the first, our position - we have been operating for 47 days straight, driven the Reds from the skies with our F-80s in particular, and giving close support to our gallant ground forces. The F-80 has proven itself; has the speed and fire power, its magnificent close support of the ground forces has brought nothing but praise - General Gay stated he nor his men have ever been harassed by enemy air action.

The '51 is doing a superb job, but in fairness to both a/c, the '51 is obsolete - F-80 can do everything the '51 can do and do it better. The employment of '29s is an excellent example of mobility and capabilities of the B-29. Within 8 days after their move from the ZI - total of 8,000 miles, they were bombing the enemy's dockside installations at Wonsan. B-29s have 2 major missions: destroying the enemy's transportation system at key points north of the 38th; and destroying enemy's military supply production.

In my summary I told him that the FEAF of the U.S. had shifted from a defensive mission to an offensive mission in the first 24-hours of the war and since then have carried the fight to the enemy. Everyone doing a magnificent job, the great pride I have in my command in that it is proving itself to be such an effective Air Force and that the resourceful American youth, in the air and on the ground, is once again doing his stuff.


Will give Major General Lowe, USAR, representative of the President, some pre- and post-strike photos as well as a report on our operational activities for the past 47 days.

 

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elastic bridge 19th BG(M)

23,24,25,26,27,28,29 1- week

30,31,01,02,03,04,05, 2-weeks

06,07,08,09,10,11,12, 3-weeks

13,14,15,16,17,18,19, 4-weeks

20 - the Navy sink the bridge

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Def

At first in Korea the Mosquito controllers were assigned a geographical section of hostile territory in which to reconnoiter and report enemy targets, but ground commanders soon began to take a proprietary interest in the Mosquito control system and were reluctant to let the airborne controllers out of sight.

The notion that a given Mosquito "belonged" to a division became emphatic after 12 August, when, as a means for facilitating identification, the Mosquitoes assumed radio-call signs to coincide with division-call signs. Thus the Mosquito which operated in the area of the 1st Cavalry Division called itself "Mosquito Wild west." "The airborne controller," noted Major Carlton in mid- August,

"has been restricted to limited areas over the front lines....Less thought is being given to the enemy's build-up fifteen to thirty miles behind his lines." Under these circumstances the Mosquito controllers also met situations in which rights of jurisdiction came into play. "A short distance north of Waegwan,"

reported Major Carlton,

"an enemy tank sat exactly on the dividing line between two divisions. When fighters arrived and reported to the Mosquito, the Mosquito aircraft requested authority to strike the tank, giving its location. The ground controller came back, negative, the tank is in another division's territory."

Although the position of the tank was passed on to the neighboring Mosquito controller, the net result of the jurisdictional problem was that the Communist tank got away without air attack. As soon as it could obtain the necessary aircraft and controllers, the Fifth Air Force began to assign additional Mosquitoes to the task of locating targets in the enemy's build-up area behind his front lines. The Mosquito controllers working in the enemy's rear areas reported targets through the Mosquito relay aircraft directly to the JOC and controlled such armed reconnaissance aircraft as the JOC dispatched to them.#137

Drawing the Battleline 109

In an effort to clear Army air-request traffic from his tactical air-direction net, General Partridge sent detachments of men with SCR-399 radios to the ALO at each division headquarters, and, in effect, attempted to operate the tactical air-request net which the Eighth Army was unable to provide.#138

Now, how-ever, the forward ground commanders found it difficult to pass immediate air-support mission requests over the division's organic communications, and they continued to dispatch requests directly to the JOC over the tactical air-direction net.#139

Even though he lacked the technicians and equipment of a regularly constituted tactical control group, General Partridge had improvised a control system which served its temporary purpose. He had also attempted to provide facilities which the Eighth Army-pending the arrival of the 20th Signal Company, Air-Ground liaison, from the United States-was unable to establish.

[note]

 

 

On 12 August North Korean troops entered the port of P'ohang, and next day the 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group had no choice but to evacuate the embattled airfield and return to Tsuiki Airfield in Japan.

[note]

 

USN_Units

In view of Task Force 77's dissatisfaction with both close-support and tactical interdiction targets, Admiral Joy on 12 August sought and secured permission from GHQ to move the carriers up Korea's west coast and attack interdiction targets in North Korea.#55

General Stratemeyer accepted the proposition that the Navy carriers would operate north of the 38th parallel, but he requested that the fleet pilots would assist the medium bombers to destroy bridges on the strategic interdiction plan.#56

But the carrier airmen-probably because of their experience with FEAF's tactical interdiction targets in South Korea-did not want to accept targets from FEAF's strategic interdiction plan.

[note]

 

     

 

On 7 August the 22d and 92d Groups, joined by planes of the 98th Group which had left the United States five days earlier, plastered the marshaling yards and adjacent arsenal at Pyongyang. Aircraft of the newly arriving 307th Group hit Pyongyang's yards on 8 August, and a major effort flown by the 22d, 92d, and 98th Groups struck the oil refinery and marshaling yards at Wonsan on 10 August. 59

These strikes cleaned up the fat accumulations of supplies at North Korea's main transportation centers, and Bomber Command promptly turned to the work of knocking out the key bridges named for destruction. Effective on 12 August, the normal daily effort of three B-29 groups was directed at bridges.

[note]

 

Def   Def   Bio

In the end, weather prevented the bombers from destroying the naval oil-storage areas at Rashin (Najin). Although the Joint Chiefs had listed this target, the American State Department had been dubious about the wisdom of hitting an objective in a city only 17 miles from the Siberian border. Fearing that errant bomber crews might violate Russian territory, USAF cautioned FEAF that attacks against Rashin were to be made only under visual bombing conditions and after positive target identification. Someone at FEAF, however, neglected to pass this order on to General O'Donnell, and on 12 August Bomber Command bombed Rashin by radar.

 On this day B-29 bomb patterns were strangely off in azimuth, and the center of the bomb pattern fell into the unoccupied countryside near the port city, doing no damage to the target and little damage to the city. No violation of the Soviet border was alleged, but USAF strongly reminded General Stratemeyer that Rashin attacks were to be visual bombing efforts.

[note]

 

 

U.S. Marine Corps

 

 

12-13 August 1950(night) - Enemy Counter Attack (Hill 202)

[note]

 

August

19500812_0000_USMC Hill 202

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12-14 August 1950 - Sach'ŏn Offensive

[note]

 

12 August 1950 - Sach'ŏn Offensive (Changchon Ambush)

[note]

 

Bio    Bio

Generals Craig and Cushman surveyed the wreckage from a helicopter next day. This strike, however, was only one of the more dramatic examples of the Brigade air-ground team in action. MAG–33 aircraft were constantly orbiting on station over the front line as the ground forces advanced. Flown by infantry-trained pilots briefed on the local ground situation, the Corsairs were available for employment on short notice. It was a simple and flexible system; and the fact that VMF–214 and VMF–323 were based on the two carriers meant that they could arrive on station with more fuel and ordnance for strikes as compared to Japan-based squadrons.[4]

[note]

 

Bio

 

Published on 12 August as CinCFE Operation Plan No. 100–B, it was based on these assumptions:

  1. (a) that the North Korean ground advance would be stopped in time to permit the build-up of our forces in South Korea;
  2. (b) that our forces in South Korea would be built up to the capability of mounting effective offensive operations against NKPA forces opposing them;
  3. (c) that we retain air and naval supremacy in the area of operation;
  4. (d) that the NKPA ground forces would not receive major reinforcements from the USSR or Red China;
  5. (e) that there would be no major change in the basic disposition of the NKPA forces.[9]

[note]

 

       

August 12, 1950

The following day, Capt. Kenneth J. Houghton's reconnaissance platoon led the 1st Brigade more than ten miles down the road toward Sach'ŏn without encountering any enemy opposition until the advance guard prematurely triggered an ambush at Changchon. The Marines on the road were able to fight their way out only after elements of the 1st Battalion secured the heights on both sides of the road and Lieutenant Colonel Newton directed air strikes on the enemy. A patrol from Company B annihilated the enemy atop Hill 202 during the fighting.

[note]

 

Mclb barstow insig.png

When the last shot went downrange on August 12, the regiment finally was fully equipped with functioning arms.  Other major items, such as vehicles, proved equally unreliable and hundreds of civilians worked overtime at Barstow to recondition this equipment.

Other than the test-firing of weapons, the regiment had almost no time to train.   One of the battalions managed to conduct a command post exercise. Some units squeezed in a condition hike.  Whenever there was a few minutes to spare, platoon and squad leaders sat down with their men to review basic subjects.  But the vast majority of each day was eaten up by the administrative demands of assigning, equipping, feeding and housing personnel.  Barely four months later, company commander would remark:

“All that I can remember of Pendleton is a hazing blur of reports, insurance and allotment forms, new men coming in, clothing issues, drawing weapons, and bringing our supplies up to wartime [requirements].” 

Even the familiarization fire was constrained by the lack of ammunition and time. The units from Camp Lejeune were well trained, but there was no opportunity for new squads to work together, for companies to operate with there third platoons, or battalions with their third companies.  Puller did not know his executive officer or most of his staff and had no change to see them or his battalion’s in action in a field environment.  He never even realized that nearly a fifth of his men were reservists, assuming instead that his ranks had been filled out by regulars from the Navy stations.

While the division sorted itself out at Pendleton, loading proceeded apace at San Diego.  The mount-out of the division and all its gear was hectic and sometimes disorganized but completed on time. 

[note]

 

VMFA-232 patch.svg   Vmfa-235 squadron insignia.jpg

Nine days later, [8/12] Reserve VMFs

The VMFs were ordered to report as units, preserving. their squadron designations' and increasing the number of VMFs to 18.

Thereafter, for a 'period of one month, no additional calls for aviation reservists were issued;

[note]

 

Def

This draft was substantially complete by the second weekend in August, and on 12 and 13 [Sunday and Monday] August the instructions were studied by a group of reserve district directors, which had been ordered to report to Headquarters for consultation.

Several valuable recommendations resulting from this conference were incorporated. In addition, a Headquarters representative visited the reserve district directors not previously consulted to request assistance in ironing out any problem of interpretation, omission, or execution that they anticipated. Once again, constructive suggestions were received, and the Head-quarters representative immediately forwarded these to Washington.

After careful but rapid evaluation, Headquarters modified the already released administrative instructions where justified.

[note]

 

Def

Meanwhile, the last Organized Reserve ground units had been ordered to active duty and the 1st Marine Division was building up to war strength before mounting out. The need for additional personnel still existed, however, and Marine Corps Headquarters, in the administrative instructions of 15 August, directed that "all male enlisted members of the Volunteer Marine Corps Reserve in the ranks of Sergeant and below...." be ordered to active duty with a delay of 15 days. Thus, shortly after the departure of the last elements of the division from Camp Pendleton on 1 September, the first of these Volunteer Reservists began arriving.

[note]

 

 

U.S. Navy

 

 

Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg

Marines advanced to Sach'ŏn and to Ch'angwŏn.

[note]

 

Korean_War

The Korean Navy, however, was already fully occupied in the west. On 3 August the ROK YMS 502 sank seven sailboats which were loading off Kunsan; four days later (7 August) and 30 miles to the northward she sank two motor-boats, while other Korean units destroyed four small junks in the Haeju Man approaches above Inchon. On the 9th an important step was taken in support of west coast operations as an LST was sailed for Ŏch'ŏng Do, an island 40 miles off Kunsan, to establish an advanced ROKN supply base which would eliminate the 300-mile round trip to Pusan.

Map 7. 19500802 00000 Support of the Perimeter, 2–13 August 1950

See usn_navy_map07.pdf

Since the Koreans were busy elsewhere, U.S. and Commonwealth units were made available in the south. On 2 and 3 August the destroyer USS HIGBEE (DDR-806) patrolled the Namhae area but encountered no enemy movement. On the night of 4-5 August underwater demolition personnel from the fast transport USS Diachenko (APD-123) attempted to blow bridges north of the railroad town of Yŏsu, a natural jumping-off place for enemy shore-to-shore movement. But the landing force was repelled by a North Korean patrol, which arrived inopportunely by handcar, and Diachenko had to content herself with a 40-minute bombardment of the railroad yards.

Four days later (9 Aug) an imaginative B-29 report of heavy junk concentrations near Yŏsu brought the Canadian destroyers HMCS Cayuga (218)and HMCS Athabaskan (R79) on a flank speed sweep of the south coast, but with negative results. On the 12th the destroyer USS Collett (DD-730), from Admiral Higgins’ task element, steamed into Yŏsu Gulf to bombard the town.

For the first few days of August, while these coastal activities were in progress, the Seventh Fleet Striking Force lay at anchor in Buckner Bay.

[note]

 

Def      

Koread-War  Koread-War   Koread-War  

Commander Seventh Fleet told "the whole story," or at least a good deal of it, on the night of 9-10 August in a message to ComNavFE with information copies to CincFE, EUSAK, FEAF, and Fifth Air Force. This dispatch pointed out the "urgent and continuing need of air support for our ground forces," described the problems of control of aircraft at the objective, and reported "only partial employment" of aircraft sent in to Taegu.

 Recognizing that the air controllers were operating under great difficulties, and that the Navy ought to assist in any way it could with officer personnel and communications arrangements, Vice Adm. Arthur D. Struble noted that the Seventh Fleet remained prepared to contribute control aircraft as it had previously done, and once again suggested that "possibly" USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7) air control personnel could help out.

Although no specific mention was made of the problem of inter-force communications, or of Hoskins’ proposed assignment of a qualified and senior liaison officer, there were possibilities here if only they were acted on. But none of the commanders to whom the dispatch was addressed seems to have followed it up, and ComNavFE’s response was not entirely helpful.

Apparently as a result of semantic confusion, Admiral Struble’s report had been interpreted not as "partial employment" in close support, but as indicative of failure to expend ordnance, and the reply observed that this was "not understood" in view of the number of interdiction targets available in the south.

Employment of the Mount McKinley Tacron was refused on the ground that it was engaged in training operations, and the other suggestions were passed back to the operating commanders. Commander Seventh Fleet was instructed to furnish airborne controllers as arranged with JOC; the Commanding General Fifth Air Force was invited to state any needs for personnel and communications assistance

This exchange of generalities seems merely to have strengthened Admiral Struble’s desire to get away from the perimeter and strike northward. For although he at once requested information on interdiction targets from all hands, his revised intentions for the future called for strikes in Area B on the 12th, followed by a move north to attack the region between Sinanju and P'yŏngyang.

This dispatch elicited a request from Fifth Air Force, received on the 12th as the carrier bombers struck marshaling yards near Sŏul and as jet fighters swept airfields and communication lines, which indicated that all effort was still wanted in Area B. Although undertaking to comply if necessary, Commander Seventh Fleet observed in reply that he had been cleared by GHQ to strike northward the next morning, and would do so if his efforts could be spared. Apparently they could.

[note]

 

Bio

On the 12th the destroyer USS Collett (DD-730), from Admiral Higgins’ task element, steamed into Yŏsu Gulf to bombard the town.

[note]

 

Such an eventuality had been foreseen, and preliminary planning for a water evacuation of P'ohang was underway. Three LSTs were ordered up to take out Air Force ground personnel, and on the 8th the removal of heavy equipment from the P'ohang airstrip was begun.

By 10 August the ROK 3rd Division, outflanked on its landward side, had been forced to hole up at Ch'ongha, ten miles north of P'ohang, where it was surrounded.

Having bypassed the South Koreans, the enemy advance now gained momentum, and on the 11th heavy demands were made upon the fire support ships south of Yŏngdök. USS Helena (CA-75) got four tanks this day, as her helicopter was flying KMAG personnel to P'ohang to confer with General Walker, but naval gunfire was not enough.

On the 12th, tank-led troops of the North Korean 5th Division fought their way into the town, where they were joined on the next day by elements of the 12th Division, switched eastward from the northern mountain front

[note]

 

Koread-War

CincFE had published his directive for "Chromite" on the 12th, and ComNavFE’s derivative operation plan had been issued on the 20th.

[note]

 

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Shortly after midnight the next morning, August 12, the NKPA again fell on the main body of the 5th RCT. At that time Ordway had the rest of his men deployed on the road in pitch-dark, preparing to advance through the pass after daybreak, as Kean had ordered. The new 1/5 commander, Roelofs, urged Ordway to move out - run the pass immediately - but Ordway, adhering to Kean's orders, remained in place for three critical hours, futilely trying to raise Kean on the radio.

[note]

 

 

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Sometime after 0100, 12 August, Lt. Col. Roelofs was awakened by his executive officer, Capt. Claude Baker. Baker informed him that the battalion had lost contact with C Company on the ridge northward and sounds of combat could be heard coming from that area. When further efforts to reach the company by telephone and radio failed, Roelofs sent runners and a wire crew out to try to re-establish contact. He then informed Colonel Ordway of this new development, and urged speedy movement of the trains and artillery westward through the pass. But Ordway reluctantly held firm to division orders not to move until after daylight.

Roelofs, taking two of his staff officers with him, set out in his jeep eastward toward Pongam-ni. He noted that the regimental trains had assembled on the road and apparently were only awaiting orders before moving. At the bridge in Pongam-ni he saw several officers of the 555th Field Artillery Battalion, who also seemed to be waiting orders to start the movement. Roelofs turned north at Pongam-ni on the dirt trail running toward the Sobuk-san mining area. He drove up that road until he came to the A Company infantry platoon and the section of tanks. They were in position. They told Roelofs they had heard sounds of small arms fire and exploding grenades in the C Company area on the ridge to their left (west), but nothing else. [16-33]

Upon returning to his command post Roelofs learned that contact still had not been re-established with C Company. The runners sent out had returned and said they could not find the company. The wire crew was missing. Members of the battalion staff during Roelofs' absence had again heard sounds of combat in the company area. They also had seen flares there. This was interpreted to mean that enemy troops held it and were signaling to other enemy units. From his position in the valley at regimental headquarters, Colonel Ordway could see that elements of the 1st Battalion, probably C Company, were being driven from the ridge. Roelofs again urged Colonel Ordway to start the trains out of the gulch.

Still unable to contact the division, Ordway now decided to move the trains and artillery out westward while it was still dark, despite division orders to wait for daylight. He felt that with the enemy obviously gaining control of the high ground above Pongam-ni, movement after daylight would be impossible or attended by heavy loss. The battalion of the 24th Infantry promised by the division had not arrived.

[note]

 

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On the north flank, the 25th Regiment started crossing the Naktong about 0300, 12 August, in the vicinity of the partially blown highway bridge at Tŭksŏng-dong, on the Koryong-Taegu road. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, covered this crossing site fourteen miles southwest of Taegu.

[note]

 

 

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About 0400 Ordway gave the order for the trains to move out. They were to be followed by the artillery, and then the 1st Battalion would bring up the rear. In the meantime, the battalion was to hold open the pass and protect the regimental column. [16-34]

Despite Ordway's use of messengers and staff officers, and his own efforts the trains seemed unable to move and a bad traffic jam developed. Movement of the trains through the pass should have been accomplished in twenty minutes, but it required hours. During the hour or more before daylight, no vehicle in Ordway's range of vision moved more than ten or twenty feet at a time. One of the factors creating this situation was caused when the Medical Company tried to move into the column from its position near the 1st Battalion command post. An ambulance hung up in a ditch and stopped everything on the road behind it until it could be pulled out.

[note]

 

A staff officer awakened Colonel Hill before daylight to inform him that the enemy had ambushed several ambulances and trucks two miles east of Yŏngsan-ni,. Although hard-pressed at Cloverleaf, Hill immediately ordered F Company, 9th Infantry, out of the line there and dispatched it together with a platoon of mortars to attack the roadblock. The 15th Field Artillery Battalion helped by turning some of its guns to fire on it.

Simultaneously, 24th Division headquarters assembled from eight different units about 135 men, including clerks, bakers, military police, and Reconnaissance Company troops, under the command of Capt. George B. Hafemen, commanding officer of Headquarters Company.

 

This force hurriedly moved west from Miryang and took up a position at the pass near Simgong-ni on the Yŏngsan-ni,-Miryang road. Its mission was to block further eastward penetration of the enemy. Two tanks accompanied Hafeman's force. Hafemen and his men held this position all afternoon against North Korean attack. Three times armored cars came through to them with food, water, and ammunition. [17-42]

[note]

 

Finally, at about 4:00 A.M., Ordway conceded that Lt. Col. Roelofs was right and, notwithstanding Kean's orders to the contrary, passed the word to move out.

[note]

 

Ordway led the procession in his jeep. He went through the pass with no difficulty and soon caught up with his 2/5. Roelofs started behind him with the 1/5, most of his men advancing on foot. But behind the 1/5 an ambulance skidded into a ditch and blocked the road. This mishap created a massive traffic jam blocking the advance of the regimental supply trains and the artillery.

[note]

 

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0542 Sunrise

[note]

 

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With the first blush of dawn, enemy fire from the ridge overlooking the road began to fall on the column. At first it was light and high. Colonel Ordway got into his jeep and drove westward trying to hurry the column along. But he accomplished little. After the ambulance got free, however, the movement was somewhat faster and more orderly.

Colonel Ordway himself cleared the pass shortly after daybreak. He noticed that the 1st Battalion was holding the pass and the hill just to the north of it. West of the pass, Ordway searched for a place to get the trains off the road temporarily so that the artillery could move out, but he found none suitable.

He continued on until he reached Throckmorton's 2nd Battalion bivouac area. The head of the regimental trains had already arrived there. He ordered them to continue on west in order to clear the road behind for the remainder of the column. Soon one of his staff officers found a schoolyard where the vehicles could assemble off the road, and they pulled in there.

 

About this time an artillery officer arrived from Pongam-ni and told Ordway that the artillery back at the gulch had been cut to pieces. Ordway returned to the 2nd Battalion bivouac and then traveled on eastward toward Pongam-ni. On the way he met the 1st Battalion marching west on the road. The troops appeared close to exhaustion. Lt. Col. Roelofs told Ordway that so far as he could tell the artillerymen had escaped into the hills. Ordway ordered the 1st Battalion into an assembly area and then directed the 2nd Battalion to return to Pongam-ni, to cover the rear of the regiment and any troops remaining there.

That morning at dawn, after Colonel Ordway had cleared the pass, Colonel Roelofs watched the column as it tried to clear the gulch area. To his great surprise he discovered moving with it the section of tanks and the A Company infantry platoon that he had left guarding the road entering Pongam-ni from the north. He asked the platoon leader why he had withdrawn. The latter answered that he had been ordered to do so.

By the next day this officer had been evacuated, and Colonel Roelofs was never able to learn if such an order had been issued to him and, if so, by whom.

Roelofs ordered the tanks and the infantry platoon to pull out of the column on to a flat spot near his command post. He intended to send them back to their original position just as soon as the road cleared sufficiently to enable them to travel. When he reported this to Colonel Ordway, he was instructed not to try it, as their movement to the rear might cause such a traffic jam that the artillery could not move.

About this time, soon after daybreak, enemy infantry had closed in so as virtually to surround the artillery. The North Korean 13th Regiment of the 6th Division, the enemy force at Pongam-ni, now struck furiously from three sides at the 555th and 90th Field Artillery Battalions' positions. [16-35]

The attack came suddenly and with devastating power. Roelofs was standing in the road facing east toward Pongam-ni, trying to keep the traffic moving, when in the valley below him he saw streaks of fire that left a trail behind. Then came tremendous crashes. A truck blew up on the bridge in a mushroom of flame. The truck column behind it stopped. Men in the vehicles jumped out and ran to the ditches. Roelofs could now see enemy tanks and self-propelled guns on the dirt trail in the valley north of Pongam-ni, firing into the village and the artillery positions. To the artillerymen, this armed force looked like two tanks and several antitank guns.

The withdrawal of the section of tanks and the A Company infantry platoon from its roadblock position had permitted this enemy armor force to approach undetected and unopposed, almost to point-blank range, and with completely disastrous effects.

The triple Nickel emplacements were in the open and exposed to this fire; those of the 90th were partially protected by terrain features. The 105-mm. howitzers of the 555th Field Artillery Battalion ineffectually engaged the enemy armor. The 90th could not depress its 155-mm. howitzers low enough to engage the tanks and the self-propelled guns. Some of the triple Nickel guns received direct hits. Many of the artillerymen of this battalion sought cover in buildings and under the bridge at Taejŏng-ni. Some of the buildings caught fire.

Simultaneously with the appearance of the enemy armor, North Korean small arms and automatic fire from the ridge north of the road increased greatly in volume. This fire caused several casualties among the 4.2-inch mortar crew members and forced the mortar platoon to cease firing and seek cover. The heavy machine gun platoon, fortunately, was well dug in and continued to pour heavy fire into the enemy-held ridge. An enemy machine gun opened up from the rear south of the road, but before the gunner got the range a truck driver killed him. Other sporadic efforts of a few infiltrating enemy troops in that quarter were suppressed before causing damage.

A lieutenant colonel of artillery came up the road with three or four men. He told Roelofs that things were in a terrible condition at the bridge and in the village. He said the guns were out of action and the trucks had been shot up and that the men were getting out as best they could. As the road traffic thinned out, enemy fire on the road subsided. Roelofs ordered the 4.2-inch mortar platoon to move on through the pass. The heavy machine gun platoon followed it. The wounded were taken along; the dead were left behind. There was no room for them on the few remaining trucks that would run.

As the last men of the 1st Battalion were moving westward toward the top of the pass, three medium tanks rolled up the road from Pongam-ni. Roelofs had not known they were there. He stopped one and ordered it to stand by. The tankers told him that everyone they saw at the bridge and along the stream was dead. To make a last check, Roelofs with several men started down anyway. On the way they met Chaplain Francis A. Kapica in his jeep with several wounded men. Kapica told Roelofs he had brought with him all the wounded he could find. Roelofs turned back, boarded the waiting tank, and started west. At the pass which his 1st Battalion men still held, he found 23 men from C Company, all that remained of 180. These survivors said they had been overrun.

[note]

 

USN_Units

At daybreak, Corsairs flew in to strafe and rocket the enemy. They had no radio communication with the ground troops but, by watching tracer bullets from the ground action, the pilots located the enemy.

[note]

 

At dawn the NKPA, seeing that all this road bound artillery was blocked and virtually helpless, attacked "suddenly and with devastating power." The artillerymen tried to shoot back, but the NKPA, firing from superior positions, shattered and overran the  555th and 90th Field Artillery Battalion batteries. The artillery batteries were hard hit: The 555th lost six guns; the 90th, five. About 300 artillerymen from the two outfits were dead, wounded, or missing. (Later it was found that the NKPA had murdered twenty captured men of the 90th.)

Learning of this disaster in his rear, Ordway hastened to send infantry to the rescue. Since Roelofs 's 1/5 was under heavy attack near the pass and fragmented, it could provide little help. In desperation Ordway ordered the 2/5 to turn around and return to Pongam.

  

 Meanwhile, John Corley was attempting to bring his 3/24 from the west. But it was hopeless. Corley had only that day taken command, and his men had no heart for a fight. According to the Army historian they bugged out in droves; three of Corley's officers, attempting to stop the stampede, were killed or wounded.[7-42]

Kean's artillery commander, Bittman Barth, was nearby when the disaster occurred. When Barth called Kean to report it, Kean placed him in tactical command of the sector. It was decided that one of the three Marine infantry battalions would be hurried to Pongam to reinforce (or rescue) Ordway's 5th RCT. Barth would command the Marines as well as Ordway's 5th RCT and Corley's 3/24, badly scattered in the hills two miles short of Pongam.( Soon the 5th Marines would be attacking to two 180 degrees different directions)

[note]

 

   

AUGUST 12, 1950 0600

By daylight, an enemy force of 300 to 400 men had penetrated to Wich'on-dong. There, H Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment, engaged it in close combat. In a grenade and automatic weapons attack, the North Koreans overran the advance positions of the company, the mortar observation post, and the heavy machine gun positions. The initial enemy objective seemed to be to gain possession of the high ground east of Yongp'o in order to provide protection for the main crossing that was to follow.

[note]

 

  

 

With the Marines a day’s march from Sach'ŏn, the Army 5th RCT was running a dead heat on the shorter Chinju route to the north, where opposition had been light the last 2 days. It might even have appeared on the evening of the 11th that the combined operation had turned into a friendly rivalry between two outfits racing toward their final objective by parallel roads. But any such assumption would have been premature, as General  Craig and his staff well realized. They looked for further resistance and were not disillusioned. Within the next 48 hours, in fact, Craig’s men were destined to carry out one of the most astonishing operations in the history of the Marine Corps—simultaneous BLT attacks in opposite directions on two fronts 25 miles apart.

There was no hint of any such development at 0630 on the morning of 12 August, when the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines passed through the 3rd Battalion with a mission of seizing Sach'ŏn. If anything, the front was too quiet to suit veteran NCO’s, who suspected the enemy of being up to no good. The column moved out behind a 15-man detachment of Recon Company acting as the point under the command of Captain Kenneth J. Houghton. Next came Baker Company with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Platoons in that order. Two Marine tanks were sandwiched in between the 1st and 2nd Platoons, and three more M–26’s brought up the rear of Captain Tobin’s company, followed by the main body of the battalion.

No opposition awaited the column. This unnatural calm continued for 4 1/2 hours as the Marines advanced about 11 miles.

[note]

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Bio

The 10th Division did not jump off until August 12, three days behind the 3rd, a lapse that gave Hap Gay time to redeploy Clainos's Clouters.

The 2/7 now had a new, aggressive, and battle-experienced commander. He was Gilman A. Huff, a former enlisted man who had won a battlefield commission and numerous medals for valor in the ETO. He was "a strange individual," Gay wrote, a "trial" and a "drunk" when resting but a wonderful" fighter in war.

The 2/7 was backed by the steady 77th FAB. Its commander, William A. ("Billy") Harris, was a West Point (1933) classmate of Pete Clainos and an aggressive and colorful officer. He was one of two sons of a retired Army major general and the nephew of West Pointer General Peter C. Harris, who had been the powerful adjutant general of the Army in World War I and afterward. Billy's older brother, Hunter, one year ahead of him at West Point, was a well-known Air Force bomber expert who had, in 1950, been selected as a brigadier general, and was to go on to four stars.

These high Army connections had probably saved Billy Harris from being washed out of West Point. In 1933, when he was a first classman (senior), standing high in his class, he developed such severe stomach trouble" that the medical department recommended he not graduate. Learning of this, Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur summoned Harris to Washington for a personal interview. Standing at attention, knees knocking, Harris made a good case for being allowed to graduate. "Do you think you're well enough to be an officer?" MacArthur asked.

"Yes, sir," Harris replied.

"I do too," MacArthur said, concluding the interview and dismissing Cadet Harris. "Go back to West Point."

In World War II, while older brother Hunter was gaining fame and glory in the Eighth Air Force, Billy was stuck in an ETO staff job, albeit one of the most fascinating and hush-hush in the theater. He was a senior American representative on the British conceived deception plan for the Overlord invasion. Known as Fortitude, the plan was designed to convince Hitler and his generals that Overlord was a feint, that the real invasion would come at the Pas de Calais and in Norway. The job cleared Harris for Ultra (information from breaking the German military codes) and other high-level secrets, but it denied him a combat command. He finished out the war in the ETO on Omar Bradley's Twelfth Army Group intelligence staff and then spent three postwar years in the Pentagon, still suffering from a bad stomach.

[note]

 

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At 0800 that morning Craig had set up his CP at Kosŏng. It was his custom to keep a terse and factual record of events from day to day, and the following chronological account is derived from entries in the Brigade commander’s field notebook:

[note]

 

        

A mile eastward, [of Pongam-ni bridge] another enemy force struck at B Battery, 159th Field Artillery Battalion. In this action enemy fire ignited several trucks loaded with ammunition and gasoline. At great personal risk, several drivers drove other ammunition and gasoline trucks away from the burning vehicles. The attack here, however, was not as intense as that at Pongam-ni and it subsided about 0800. [16-39]

After the artillery positions had been overrun, two tanks of the 25th Division Reconnaissance Company arrived from the east and tried to drive out the North Koreans and clear the road. MSgt. Robert A. Tedford stood exposed in the turret of one tank, giving instructions to the driver and gunner, while he himself operated the .50-caliber machine gun. This tank attack failed. Enemy fire killed Tedford, but he snuffed out the lives of some North Koreans before he lost his own. [16-40]

[note]

 

Bio   Bio   Bio

President Truman sent his special assistant, Averell Harriman, to Tokyo on 6 August, primarily to discuss Far Eastern political matters with General MacArthur. General Ridgway and Lt. Gen. Lauris Norstad of the Air Force accompanied Mr. Harriman.

While these officials were in Tokyo, General MacArthur took the opportunity to express his views on the situation facing him in Korea, MacArthur believed that speed was the keystone of victory over the North Koreans. He told Harriman and the military officers that the United States could not afford to wait for a slow build-up of forces in Korea. The United States must destroy the North Korean Army as early as possible. If not, the Russians and Chinese Communists, MacArthur feared, would be able to strengthen their protégé by shipping in more arms and supplies.

 MacArthur also saw in a failure to settle the matter speedily, political dangers. United Nations members would grow discouraged and Oriental peoples would be disappointed with, and lose confidence in, the United States. [08-14]

On 12 August, shortly after these visitors departed, another and more fully developed draft of the landing plan was issued, setting a target date of 15 September. The strategic concept of this plan would be put into effect one month later without substantive change. Without naming major Army units, the plan proposed committing the GHQ Reserve and the 1st Marine Division in an amphibious operation to seize the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul area and to cut the main lines of enemy communications and supply to North Korean units in the south.

In conjunction with the seaborne assault, the Eighth Army was to break out of its perimeter and drive northwest along the Taegu-Taejŏn-Suwŏn axis to link up with the amphibious force. The Navy and the Air Force would carry out vital missions of transportation, security, naval gunfire support, carrier aircraft support, and strategic bombing. The 1st Marine Air Wing would furnish tactical air cover for the landing. [08-15]

These plans for landing at Inch'ŏn on 15 September met opposition both within MacArthur's own staff and in other quarters. Navy and Marine officers raised objection to the plans. These officers did not oppose an amphibious assault even though they felt that Army planners were minimizing the problems which the Navy and Marine Corps must overcome in carrying and landing the assault forces on D-day. They did not want to land at Inch'ŏn. [08-16]

Their concern over Inch'ŏn arose from its natural obstacles to military and naval operations. From the standpoint of navigation, sea approaches, and landing beaches, Inch'ŏn ranked among the worst harbor areas in Korea. The Yellow Sea in its periodic surges into the harbor (changes in the sluggish, heavy tide exceeded thirty feet) had created broad mud-banks and tidal flats which fronted the entire harbor. These flats were so soft and the muck so deep they would not support men on foot. Twice a day the tides rolled in to cover these flats. The naval officers believed it would require a 23-foot minimum tide before small landing craft could safely operate over these flats and a 29-foot tide before Navy LST's could come into Inch'ŏn's beaches. This meant that they could land men and supplies only from the time an incoming tide reached twenty-three feet until the outgoing tide dropped again to that level, a period of only about three hours. troops ashore would then be stranded until the next high tide about twelve hours later. Morning high tide for 15 September was forecast at 0650 and evening tide at 1920. As already noted, the tide on that date would be deep enough for landing craft.

Numerous islands bracketed Inch'ŏn to seaward, forming a natural pocket and restricting naval maneuver to narrow channels. Navigation through these channels, particularly the main Flying Fish Channel, was treacherous even in daylight. The channel was narrow, twisting, and dead-end. If the enemy mined this channel, approach would be virtually impossible.

In order to land, the Marines would have to scale seawalls ranging from twelve to fourteen feet high which fronted the harbor across almost its entire width. The Inch'ŏn area was heavily built-up. The enemy could mount a very effective resistance, taking advantage of buildings for protection. The Marines did not want to land in the middle of a built-up area if they could help it. To complicate matters, Wŏlmi-do, a 350-foot-high pyramidal island, heavily fortified, dominated Inch'ŏn Harbor. All in all, Navy and Marine planners found Inch'ŏn a poor place to land.

[note]

 

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The area south of Inch'ŏn had been investigated by Navy UDT and Marine amphibious scouts of the Reconnaissance Company, 1st Marine Division, who had sailed to the Far East with the Brigade. As a preliminary, this group had embarked on the USS Horace A. Bass (APD–124) and gone ashore undetected to stage several raids during the period 12–16 August on the enemy’s main line of communications along the west coast. Three tunnels and two railway bridges were destroyed without the loss of a man.[12]

Next the raiders successfully carried out a survey and reconnaissance of available landing beaches during the period 22–25 August in the P'osŭng-Myŏn area. Their findings impressed General Shepherd so much that before his departure from Tokyo he called on CinCFE to make a last plea for reconsideration of the landing area. General MacArthur, however, remained firm in his preference for Inch'ŏn.[13]

[note]

 

  

THE CHAMPION GLOBE-TROTTERS of the 1st Marine Division were the men of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. Before returning to their homes from Korea, these military tourists would have traveled entirely around the world by various forms of land, water, and air transportation.

The unit was originally an element of the 6th Marines, FMFLant, serving afloat with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. On 12 August 1950 the CP aboard the USS Yellowstone (AD-41) at Suda Bay, Crete, received a message from CNO ordering the battalion to the Far East.

Lieutenant Colonel Frederick R. Dowsett, deputy commander, noted that the dispatch had bypassed such channels as CMC and the Sixth Fleet.[1] This irregularity, he learned later, was explained by the urgency of an order which had been framed by Admiral Sherman while General Cates was present. It directed that the USS Bexar (APA-237) arrive on 14 August at Suda Bay and depart two days later (16 August) with the troops.

The rub was that these Marines were dispersed on various ships all over the Mediterranean. Given the rush job of picking up the scattered elements of the battalion was the USS Leyte (CV-32), which was due to return to Norfolk for refitting afterwards and thence to the Far East via the Panama Canal.

[note]

 

  

The next morning, 12 August, the 1st Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. George R. Newton, passed through the 3rd Battalion and led the Marine brigade in what it expected to be the final lap to Sach'ŏn, about 8 miles below Chinju.

[note]

 

The situation in the village and at the bridge was not quite what it appeared to be to Roelofs and some of the officers and men who escaped from there and reported to him. Soon after the enemy armor came down the trail from the north and shot up the artillery positions, enemy infantry closed on the triple Nickel emplacements and fired on the men with small arms and automatic weapons. Three of the 105-mm. howitzers managed to continue firing for several hours after daybreak, perhaps until 0900. Then the enemy overran the 555th positions. [16-36]

The 90th Field Artillery Battalion suffered almost as great a calamity. Early in the pre-dawn attack the North Koreans scored direct hits on two 155-mm. howitzers and several ammunition trucks of A Battery. Only by fighting resolutely as infantrymen, manning the machine guns on the perimeter and occupying foxholes as riflemen, were the battalion troops able to repel the North Korean attack. Pfc. William L. Baumgartner of Headquarters Battery contributed greatly in repelling one persistent enemy force. He fired a truck-mounted machine gun while companions dropped all around him. Finally, a direct hit on his gun knocked him unconscious and off the truck. After he revived, Baumgartner resumed the fight with a rifle. [16-37]

[note]

 

Despite this close air support, the artillery position was untenable by 0900. Survivors of the 90th Field Artillery Battalion loaded the wounded on the few serviceable trucks. Then, with the uninjured giving covering fire and Air Force F-51 fighter planes strafing the enemy, the battalion withdrew on foot. [16-38]

 Survivors credited the vicious close-in attacks of the fighter planes with making the withdrawal possible. But most of all, the men owed their safety to their own willingness to fight heroically as infantrymen when the enemy closed with them.

Meanwhile, enemy fire destroyed or burned nearly every vehicle east of the Pongam-ni bridge.

[note]

 

      Bio

During the morning, General Barth, commander of the 25th Division artillery, tried to reach the scene of the enemy attack. But the enemy had cut the road and forced him to turn back. North Koreans also ambushed a platoon of the 72nd Engineer Combat Battalion trying to help open the road. Barth telephoned  General Kean at Masan and reported to him the extent of the disaster.

 

           

Kean at once ordered the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, to proceed to the scene, and he also ordered the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, to attack through the hills to Pongam-ni. [16-42]

[note]

 

  

The 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, likewise did not reach the overrun artillery positions. [Lt. Col. John T. Corley, the much-decorated United States Army battalion commander of World War II, had assumed command of the battalion just three days before, on 9 August.]

Although Eighth Army sent some of the very best unit commanders in the United States Army to the 24th Regiment to give it superior leadership, the regiment remained unreliable and performed poorly.

On 12 August, Corley's two assault companies in the first three hours of action against an estimated two enemy companies, and while receiving only a few rounds of mortar fire, dwindled from a strength of more than 100 men per company to about half that number. There were only 10 casualties during the day, 3 of them officers.

[note]

 

The next day, 12 August, 28-year-old Colonel Kim Hi Chun, acting on General Walker's orders, in a successful attack eastward from An'gang-ni, led his ROK 17th Regiment into Yŏnil, greatly to the relief of everyone there.

[note]

 

By 0900, however, the 2nd Battalion, with the powerful help of the 77th Field Artillery Battalion and of air strikes, drove the enemy troops back through Yongp'o toward the bridge and dispersed them. [19-23]

It could not be assumed that this failure would end the efforts of the N.K. 10th Division west of Taegu. In the three days from 10 to 12 August the Naktong River had dropped three feet and was only shoulder-deep at many places. The opportunity for large-scale enemy crossings was at hand. [19-30]

[note]

 

Throughout August 12, the engineers and Hafeman battled North Korean infiltrators. Hafeman's two posts held, but two of the smaller engineer positions fell to the enemy. Three times, U.S. armored vehicles dashed into the Wŏnjon enclave with food, water and ammunition. Hafeman reinforced his group with an 81mm mortar and continued to hold.

 


As one highlight well worth noting here, K and L companies of the 34th Infantry at last were ordered to withdraw from their exposed positions along the Naktong.

There has been a persistent, and erroneous, impression in the minds of many that the Army ran when the North Koreans attacked across the Naktong in August and, later, in September 1950.

This is false.

In August, the bulge, a front covering 16,000 yards, was manned by three understrength rifle companies. Two of those units remained in position, although completely cut off. One of the two was reinforced by a counterattacking unit, and the combined force then dug in and held. Only the most northern company was displaced. Men from that unit moved north into the sector of the 21st Infantry. The frontage was far too great for the force available to even outpost, let alone defend. The men of those units have been wrongly, even cruelly, reviled for too long. They stayed in their defensive positions until ordered out by higher authority. They performed their duty with honor.

[note]

 

1000 Korean Time

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Roelofs organized the battalion withdrawal westward from the pass. In the advance he put A Company, then the C Company survivors. Still in contact with enemy, B Company came off the hills north of the pass in platoons. The company made the withdrawal successfully with the three tanks covering it from the pass. The tanks brought up the rear guard. The time was about 1000.

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1100 Korean Time

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Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1130—Received telephonic orders from CG 25th Div. stating that enemy was attacking in force across our MSR near Chindong-ni. He directed that I send one reinforced battalion to rear at once to give assistance to 24th Infantry engaged in that area and to recapture artillery pieces.

[note]

 79th Field Artillery Regiment COA.svg   

While Newton’s men were fighting at Changchon, the Brigade commander had come up against a most unusual command situation. It began late on the morning of the 12th, when General Craig received orders from CG Task Force Kean, directing him to move a reinforced Marine rifle battalion back to Chindong-ni. General Kean emphasized that the shift be made without delay. Infiltrating enemy forces had penetrated far back in the rear to overrun positions of Battery C, 555th (“triple Nickel”) Field Artillery Battalion and Headquarters and Able Batteries, 90th Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the 25th Division. The MSR being endangered, Marine reinforcements were urgently needed for a counterattack.[7]

[note]

 

Bio   Bio  

Just before noon of the 12th, General Kean had ordered General Craig to send one battalion of marines back to help clear out enemy troops that had cut the middle road behind the 5th Regimental Combat Team and had its artillery under attack.

[note]

 

 

 

1200 Korean Time

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At noon, with Sach'ŏn only 4 miles away, Houghton and the point rounded a bend into the thatched-hut hamlet of Changchon. The first enemy soldiers of the day were sighted when two skulking figures took cover. Several Marines opened fire, and in reply the hills on both sides of the road erupted into flame. [6]

The enemy had obviously planned to allow the entire column to come within range. But the trap was sprung prematurely as NKPA machine-guns blazed away from the high ground in front and on both flanks.

Captain Tobin immediately sent the 1st Platoon (B Co) to the aid of the point. First Lieutenant Hugh C. Schryver led his men forward along the roadside ditches, and at the cost of three casualties they reinforced the thin line of Recon troops returning the enemy’s fire.

Next, the company commander ordered First Lieutenant David S. Taylor’s 2nd Platoon to move up behind three Marine tanks. The M–26’s were unable to maneuver off the road because of the danger of bogging down in rice paddies, but as mobile fortresses they added to Marine fire power.

Click here to view map

Captain Tobin’s whole company became more or less pinned down when the 3rd Platoon and headquarters, farther back on the road, received automatic weapons fire from Hill 250 on the right. Newton immediately requested the battalion air controller, First Lieutenant James W. Smith, to call for a strike in this area. This was the only supporting arm available at the moment, since the mortar and artillery crews were just setting up their weapons in hastily selected positions.

[note]

 

Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1200—Proceeded by helicopter to CP 5th Marines to give necessary instructions. Made two landings enroute to gather trucks for troop lift.

[note]

 

At noon on the 12th, as the Marines were nearing Changchon, the brigade was ordered to return one battalion and a battery of artillery to clean up this road block.

[note]

 

Advancing 11 miles unopposed, it came within 4 miles of the town by noon.

[note]

 

Meanwhile, at his assembly area five miles westward, Colonel Throckmorton had received Colonel Ordway's order to return with the 2nd Battalion to the pass area west of Pongam-ni. When he arrived there the fight in the gulch and valley eastward had died down. A few stragglers came into his lines, but none after noon.

[note]

 

 79th Field Artillery Regiment COA.svg      

 

At Bloody Gulch, the name given by the troops to the scene of the successful enemy attack, the 555th Field Artillery on 12 August lost all eight of its 105-mm. howitzers in the two firing batteries there. The 90th Field Artillery Battalion lost all six 155-mm. howitzers of its A Battery. The loss of triple Nickel artillerymen has never been accurately computed.

[note]

 

Bio

MacArthur elected to stay with Inch'ŏn, and he issued his Operation Plan 100-B on 12 August. The assault was set to go forward in mid-September, for three reasons: the assault forces required would not be available until then; the offensive had to proceed before the nasty Korean winter set in; and Inch'ŏn’s tides restricted amphibious operations to only a few days each month (after mid-September, the next adequate tides would not occur until 11 October).

Organization and Command of the Landing Force. What forces would make the assault? The Eighth Army’s units (the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions and 1st Cavalry Division) were occupied in the Pusan perimeter. The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division would not arrive from the United States quickly enough.

In June 1950, the Marine Corps had no units of any size in the Far East, and consequently there were no trained amphibious troops immediately available to MacArthur. Fleet Marine Force Pacific, headquartered at Hawaii, consisted only of the grossly undermanned 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. The 2nd Marine Division, on the Atlantic Coast, was similarly under strength.

[note]

 

1300 Korean Time

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Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1300—The reinforced 3rd Bn., 5th Marines, now on way to Chindong-ni area.

[note]

 

Bio  

 

Early that afternoon, (12 August 1300) as Craig had directed, Stewart and Taplett flew back to the Chindong-ni area for reconnaissance and planning prior to the arrival of 3/5. The Brigade commander had been able to give them very little initial information. About 2,000 to 2,500 enemy had infiltrated to the vicinity, according to Army estimates.

The two Marine officers were instructed to fly to a bridge over a dry stream bed, where they would be met and briefed by a 25th Division liaison officer awaiting them in a jeep with a red air panel on the hood.[8]

Stewart and Taplett found the bridge, though no jeep was in sight. After landing in the stream bed, they discovered a camouflaged Army light tank; but the officers of the armored company could not offer any enlightenment. A number of wire lines lay in the roadside ditch, and the Marine officers checked them, one by one. At length, by a process of trial and error, they found a line leading to the 25th Division CP and talked to the G–3.

He instructed them to “look the situation over” and decide upon a course of action to eliminate enemy activity in the area and provide security for the remaining artillery unit—a battery of the 159th Field Artillery Battalion which had been attached to the 555th. Then the Marine officers were to report to General Barth, ADC of the 25th Division, upon his arrival in the area to take the overall command.

Ever since the jump-off of 7 August, the operations of Task Force Kean had been distinguished for informality. Oral orders were the rule rather than exception, with unusual latitude of decision being permitted to officers in the field. After their telephone conversation, Stewart and Taplett made a helicopter reconnaissance of the area, followed by a flight back over the MSR to locate 3/5. Upon their return, they encountered Colonel John Daly, USA, CO of the 555th Field Artillery Battalion. Battery C of that unit, he informed them, had been surprised the night before, along with two batteries of the 90th, and completely overrun about 3,000 yards up the stream bed. They were destroyed as a fighting force, though scattered survivors and wounded men remained in the area. Daly briefed the Marine officers as to the location of enemy forces; and they decided to seize two key ridges commanding the MSR, which ran parallel to the stream bed. The troops of 3/5 were just then piling out of the trucks at the debarkation point, and Taplett ordered them to attack without waiting for Barth, since it would soon be dark.

These Marines, contrary to standing operating procedure, had turned their backs on the roar of battle at Changchon early that afternoon and ridden away in the opposite direction. Then, to complete the mystery, they traveled 25 miles to the rear to assault a ridge which was supposedly secured. How Company jumped off with George following in trace. Colonel Daly provided a 15-minute artillery preparation, though he had no orders, and Taplett’s FAC managed to summon a flight of Corsairs with partial loads aboard, including napalm.

No one had any idea of the enemy’s strength, and after receiving some fire from the ridge, Captain Fegan picked the locations for an air strike. How Company moved in rapidly afterwards against such light resistance that the Marines seized the first position without a single casualty. Only one casualty was inflicted upon the enemy, who apparently had put up a rearguard fight while withdrawing.

[note]

 

          

Afternoon of the 12th saw the Marines fighting on two fronts for the first, if not for the last time in this war. At Changchon the 1st and 2nd Battalions encountered another ambush, but the attempted envelopment brought heavy casualties to the enveloper.

[note]

 

  

An hour later, three and a half miles east of Sach'ŏn, the Marine column entered an enemy ambush at the village of Changchon or, as the troops called it, Changallon.

Fortunately for the marines, a part of the 2nd Battalion, 15th Regiment, and elements of the 83rd Motorized Regiment that lay in wait in the hills cupping the valley disclosed the ambush prematurely. A heavy fight got under way and continued through the afternoon and into the evening. Marine Corsairs struck repeatedly. In the late afternoon, the 1st Battalion gained control of Hills 301 and 250 on the right, and Hill 202 on the left, of the road.

[note]

 

           Bio

An hour after noon the 3rd Battalion was on its way back. That evening Craig was called to Masan for a conference with Kean. There he received the order to withdraw all elements of the brigade immediately to the vicinity of Chindong-ni. Events taking place at other points of the Pusan Perimeter caused the sudden withdrawal of the Marine brigade from Task Force Kean's attack. [16-26]

    Unit Info

Bloody Gulch-Artillery Graveyard

Simultaneously with the swing of the Marine brigade around the southern coastal loop toward Chinju, the 5th Regimental Combat Team plunged ahead in the center toward Much'on-ni, its planned junction point with the 35th Infantry.

[note]

 

Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1330—Sent my G–3, LtCol Stewart, and LtCol Taplett, CO of 3/5, by helicopter to bridge indicated by CG 25th Div. to reconnoiter and formulate plans prior to arrival of battalion. Marines to operate directly under 25th Division for this action.

[note]

 

1400 Korean Time

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Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1400—We are out on a limb with only two battalions left and Sach'ŏn still to take. Went to leading elements to check. They were engaged in a heavy fire–fight at an attempted ambush position. Air brought to bear and helped, plus artillery. Enemy positions taken by 1/5, which dug in on high ground while 2/5 was disposed to protect rest of Brigade column.

[note]

After the Corsairs worked over Hill 250 , Tobin ordered Second Lieutenant David R. Cowling’s 3rd Platoon to attack the high ground. A rifle platoon and machinegun section had been sent forward from Able Company by the battalion commander, and Newton gave these reinforcements the mission of seizing Hill 301, also on the right side of the road.

As Cowling’s men were crossing the open rice paddy, the Marine tank guns and mortars added their fires to the air strike. But enough enemy machineguns survived to catch the 3rd Platoon in a crossfire which forced it to fall back with 1 man killed and 4 wounded. The Able Company contingent occupied Hill 301 meanwhile without meeting any resistance.

During the course of these actions, the FAC reported to Newton that 2 of the Corsairs overhead had 5 minutes of time left. The battalion commander directed that they search for targets of opportunity along the road leading from Changchon to Sach'ŏn. The result was a repetition on a small scale of the Kosŏng turkey shoot, for the Marine planes surprised a little column of enemy vehicles and personnel. After the Corsairs unloaded their remaining ordnance, the road was strewn with twisted and burning vehicles.

The 3rd Platoon fell back on Hill 301 as Newton ordered Captain John R. Stevens to secure the nearby high ground on the right side of the road with the rest of his Able Company troops. This left Hill 250 as the center of enemy resistance on the right. A total of 113 Marine mortar rounds were delivered on these positions, followed by a second air strike. The concentration of fire finally silenced the enemy’s remaining machineguns, and the Baker Company right flank was secured.

 

[note]

 

1500 Korean Time

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The elastic bridge:

23,24,25,26,27,28,29 1- week
30,31,01,02,03,04,05, 2-weeks
06,07,08,09,10,11,12, 3-weeks
13,14,15,16,17,18,19, 4-weeks
20 - the Navy sinks the bridge

[note]

 

Bio

Believing that enemy forces were moving through the hills toward the regimental command post at Taejŏn, Throckmorton requested authority to return there. The regimental executive officer granted this authority at 1500. [16-41]

[note]

 

1600 Korean Time

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While this fight was going on the 3rd Battalion was being trucked back to Chindong-ni, where it arrived in late afternoon and where before dark it carried its first objective, a hill ridge commanding the main supply route.

This singular situation, in which two of the brigade’s battalions were fighting at Changchon while the third was engaging 25 road miles to the rear, was ended by orders to withdraw.

[note]

 

Bio   USN_Units   USN_Units

For the moment, at least, the threat to the southern end of the perimeter had been ended by the advance of Task Force Kean. On the coast the Marines had repelled the enemy with heavy loss; inland the 35th Infantry had briefly regained the heights along the Nam River east of Chinju. In this region North Korean units now faced difficult problems of reorganization and re-equipment, and their long supply line was suffering increasingly from the cumulative effects of interdiction strikes.

As the second week of August was ending, [8/7-12] the critical sectors of the perimeter were on the Naktong front west of Yŏngsan-ni,, in the northwest beyond Taegu, and on the east coast in the vicinity of P'ohang. The response to this altered situation was quickly evident in the redeployment of U.N. naval forces. Admiral Joy had been directed to carry out demolition raids on the Korean coast, and as the Marine Brigade moved northward to the Naktong bulge the weight of naval effort shifted to the northeast and to the enemy’s coastal line of communications with the Soviet Maritime Provinces.

North of the 40th parallel the Korean coastline is precipitous, with mountains rising steeply from the sea. Constricted by this geography, the railroad for more than 40 miles runs close to the shore, and is thus accessible to naval gunfire and to landing parties. Here in the first weeks of war USS Juneau (CLAA-119) had carried out her raid [see 7/11/1950]; this vulnerable area was now to be brought under all forms of naval attack.

Execution of this work was facilitated by the arrival from San Diego of the fast transport USS Horace A. Bass (APD-124), Lieutenant Commander Alan Ray, a destroyer escort conversion carrying four LCVPs and with a capacity of 162 troops.

[note]

 

    

The [3rd] Marine battalion arrived at Kogan-ni, three miles short of Pongam-ni, at 1600 and,

[note]

 

   Bio  

The 3rd Battalion, Fifth Marines, supervised by regimental commander Ray Murray, operating in a helicopter, redeployed toward Pongam, late in the afternoon of August 12. The Marines, somewhat baffled by their orders to "attack to the rear," found the NKPA opposition slight (or nonexistent) and, like Kean, expressed skepticism at Ordway's estimate of enemy strength. Murray proposed to Barth an offensive action designed to clear the enemy from the area and rescue the men and guns of the 555th and 90th FABs. However, by that time Johnnie Walker, hard pressed by the NKPA in another sector, had ordered Task Force Kean to pull back to its original start line at Chindong-ni and disband. The Marines assisted in Ordway's withdrawal.

[note]

 

So ended the operations of Task Force Kean. It fell far short of its main objectives of capturing Chinju, encircling the NKPA 6th Division, and attacking the NKPA 4th Division from the rear, but the operation was not without merit. The various components of the task force had inflicted severe casualties (an estimated 3,000) on the 6th Division and decisively interrupted its drive on Pusan. Marine close air support operating from two small ("jeep") aircraft carriers (USS Sicily (CVE-118) and USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116)) had been particularly effective. In one noteworthy air attack on August 11 near Kosŏng, Marine Corsairs had wiped out most of the vehicles of the NKPA 83rd Motorcycle Regiment and killed or wounded many enemy.

The operation had also provided an opportunity to bloody two more RCTs on the offensive rather than on the defensive. The performance of the 5th RCT under Ordway was on the whole undistinguished and at times abysmal, but no more so than most Army regiments entering combat in Korea for the first time. Its men emerged from the experience chastened but wiser and determined to do better much better. The Marines lived up to their advance ballyhoo; they proved themselves to be well disciplined and well led fighters. Like Michaelis's Wolfhounds, the Marines were to become one of Walker's dependable Fire Brigades.

The offensive had also given Bill Kean an opportunity to size up his regimental commanders. He continued to be well pleased with Hank Fisher in the 35th. He had sacked Horton White in the 24th, replacing him with Art Champeny. To no one's surprise, at the conclusion of this operation he also sacked Godwin Ordway.

Bill Kean's choice to replace Ordway did cause surprise. He was the 2/5 commander, John L. Throckmorton, a cool and brainy West Pointer who stood high in the class of 1935. Throckmorton, thirty-seven, became the youngest regimental commander in Korea and the first battalion commander in Korea to move up to command a regiment.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Throckmorton was the son of a recently retired Army colonel. At West Point he was a scrub football player and cadet battalion commander for three years and was very nearly selected for cadet captain. After graduation he fell under the influence of Bill Kean, who was tough" but who significantly helped his early career. In Throckmorton's first troop assignment, Kean was his company commander. Later, while working under Bradley in the G1 section of the War Department, Kean sprung Throckmorton from a teaching post (chemistry) at West Point and got him assigned to an infantry division. Still later, when Kean became chief of staff of Bradley's First Army, he drafted Throckmorton for his G3 section, where Throckmorton remained for the rest of the war. During the peacetime years Throckmorton had been a member of the Army's celebrated Rifle Team, and in 1940 he was its coach. In the postwar years he qualified as a paratrooper.

[note]

 

Bio

Until Korea John L. Throckmorton had never commanded troops in combat, but he was a "quick study, brave under fire and extremely well organized. Both before and during Task Force Kean his 2/5 had performed with exceptional competence. The new job was a big challenge for young Throckmorton. The 5th RCT was by then in total confusion and disarray. Throckmorton began his command by insisting on some basics. He recalled:

"The staff was exhausted. They had had no sleep and were not functioning properly. I insisted that every man get seven or eight hours' sleep every night. They did, and they improved a hundred percent. I was also concerned about the men. Their boots were shot. I got mad about that and raised hell at division. We got boots in a hurry."

 

In time John Throckmorton transformed the 5th RCT into one of the best Army regiments in Korea.

[note]

 

1700 Korean Time

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Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1730—Returned to Brigade CP at Kosŏng and received orders to proceed via helicopter to Masan to confer with CG 25th Division.

[note]

 

1800 Korean Time

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As the sun disappeared from the summer sky, the Marines were holding the high ground and had dug in for the night.

[note]

 

  

Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1815—On flight to Masan I detoured to Chindong-ni area to make sure by air observation that 3/5 had arrived and apparently was not having any trouble.

[note]

 

  Bio

Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1830—Arrived Masan and was directed by General Kean to commence a tactical withdrawal from Sach'ŏn.

[note]

 

The other two Baker Company platoons and Houghton’s men had their hands full meanwhile on the left flank. They kept up a brisk fire fight from the roadside ditches until the Marine artillery took charge of the situation. One enemy position after another was knocked out in this quarter as Newton called for three more air strikes. These preparatory fires enabled the 1st and 2nd Platoons to attack on the left after a laborious crossing of an intervening rice paddy.

The Marines proceeded to clean up the remaining NKPA positions methodically. A climax was reached when First Lieutenant David S. Taylor’s spotted an enemy group approaching the crest of Hill 202 from the reverse slope. He sent Technical Sergeant F. J. Lischeski with a squad to prepare a welcome. The veteran NCO coolly formed a line along the ridge and directed his men to wait until the enemy came within 75 feet before opening fire.

It would be hard to find a more striking example of Marine infantry firepower. Of the 39 men in the NKPA group, all were killed outright in a matter of seconds except a single officer. This survivor was so badly wounded that he died on the way to the regimental CP.

 

[note]

 

1830 Korean Time

The fight had lasted all afternoon, and darkness fell before Baker Company could complete its movement to the high ground on the left side of the road and set up a perimeter of defense. It was estimated that an enemy company was operating in the area, covering the retreat of sorely battered elements of the NKPA 6th Infantry Division and 83rd Motorcycle Regiment.

Marine losses were 3 killed and 13 wounded. After the securing of the high ground to the right, casualties were evacuated by road on the lee side of slowly moving tanks which provided shelter from enemy fire on the left.


 

[note]

1900 Korean Time

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Bio 

At 1900, when General Barth arrived, he asked when the Marine battalion would be ready to attack. Taplett replied that he already had one company on the first objective, and the 25th Division ADC congratulated the Marines on their promptness. He approved Taplett’s course of action and gave his sanction for the seizure of the rest of the dominating high ground the following morning.

[note]

 

1945 Sunset


  Bio

Brigade commander’s field notebook:

“1945—Returned by helicopter to my Kosŏng CP in early darkness and issued necessary orders.”

The preparations for withdrawal lowered the spirits of Marines who believed that they had broken the back of enemy resistance in the Sach'ŏn area. This reaction may even be noted in the first paragraph of the Brigade withdrawal order:

“1. GENERAL SITUATION. Following Brigade rapid advance from Chindong-ni to Sach'ŏn in which this Brigade attacked, overcame, and pursued the enemy, the 25th Infantry Division has directed the withdrawal of this Brigade in order to hold a defensive position and mop up enemy resistance in the zone of action of elements of the 25th Division.”

 

Click here to view map

It would later be known that the basic reason for the Brigade withdrawal was a decision by the Eighth Army command and staff. The enemy had crossed the river Naktong, the last natural barrier of the Pusan Perimeter, and this emergency had caused the Marines to be pulled back in readiness for a counterattack in the Naktong bulge.

The foregoing chronology makes it evident that General Craig could never have handled this situation in an afternoon without helicopter transportation. Jeeps could not have reached so many destinations over narrow, twisting roads choked with traffic; and fixed-wing planes, even the adaptable OY’s, could not have landed wherever the Brigade commander willed. Marine helicopters set a good many precedents in Korea, and the events of 12 August 1950 established the usefulness of these versatile machines for command and staff flights.

[note]

 

 

2000 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/31/50
5:00 AM
07/31/50
6:00 AM
07/31/50
11:00 AM
07/31/50
8:00 PM

 

2100 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/31/50
6:00 AM
07/31/50
7:00 AM
07/31/50
12:00 PM
07/31/50
9:00 PM

 

2200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/31/50
7:00 AM
07/31/50
8:00 AM
07/31/50
1:00 PM
07/31/50
10:00 PM

2300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/31/50
8:00 AM
07/31/50
9:00 AM
07/31/50
2:00 PM
07/31/50
11:00 PM

  

 

The Marines of 1/5 anticipated that the next day’s advance would take them to Sach'ŏn. At midnight on 12 August, however, Lieutenant Colonel Newton received orders from the regimental commander to form the battalion on the road at 0630 in preparation for a lift by trucks to another sector, where the Marines were to reinforce Army units.

While Newton’s men were fighting at Changchon, the Brigade commander had come up against a most unusual command situation. It began late on the morning [1130] of the 12th, when General Craig received orders from CG Task Force Kean, directing him to move a reinforced Marine rifle battalion back to Chindong-ni.

[note]

 

Bio1st Battalion 5th Marines

At about midnight, higher headquarters abruptly canceled the next day's attack. Lieutenant Colonel Newton was ordered to have his men waiting on the road for truck transport to a new sector at dawn. These plans, however, ran into some glitches.

[note]

 

 


Casualties

Saturday August 12, 1950 (Day 49)

194 Casualties

As of August 12, 1950

2 13TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
26 14TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
4 159TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
1 15TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
5 19TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 1ST SERVICE BATTALION - MARINES
1 21ST INFANTRY REGIMENT
8 24TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
3 25TH ARMORED RECONNAISSANCE COMPANY
2 26TH ANTIAIRCRAFT ARTILLERY AW BATTALION (SP)
1 27TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 2ND MEDICAL BATTALION
7 34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
45 555TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
2 5TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
3 5TH MARINE REGIMENT
23 5TH REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
1 61ST FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM
20 7TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
11 90TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (155MM)
25 9TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 NAVY HOSPITAL CORPSMAN
2 VF-51 FIGHTER SQUADRON
194 19500812 0000 Casualties by unit

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 67 3561 33 6 3667
Today   188 4 2 194
Total 67 3749 37 8 3861

Aircraft Losses Today 003

 

 

 

Saturday August 12, 1950 (Day 49)

 

 

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