Weather

Korean Climate

Mean Temp 28.1°C 82.58 °F at Taegu    

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

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


Overview

EUSAK X Corps activated for coming Inch'ŏn-Sŏul operation. Principal elements are 1stMarDiv and Army 7thInfDiv.

[note]

 

Aug. 16

The U.S. Navy evacuates the ROK 3rd Division from P'ohang. The South Koreans are put ashore south of the city.

-- The largest tactical bombing raid of the war is carried out by 98 B-29s. They drop 880 tons of bombs on four to six North Korean divisions in a 26-square mile area around Waegwan, a town northwest of Taegu east of the Naktong River northwest of Taegu. First Cavalry (Division) troops follow the barrage and recapture the town, which has been a major enemy staging area on the Naktong.

[note]

 

Intelligence officers in Tokyo say Aug. 15 that although no Russians have been sighted or captured with North Korean forces, it is plain the communists are using Russian tactics. One such tactic is to lay down heavy artillery barrages behind their own troops so the foot soldiers have no choice but to continue assaults.

American troops around Chinju report Aug. 16 that they have captured Russian equipment made as early as June. The new materiel replaces equipment, largely WWII vintage, that North Koreans have lost during the invasion. On the same day the North Korean foreign secretary sends a message to Russia thanking them for the "friendly support of the Soviet Army."

[note]

 

3rd Rescue Squadron

Two SB-17s and two SA-16s were used for orbit missions this date. The SB-17s logged 14:15 and the SA-16s logged 17:30. making a total of 31:35 flown on these missions.

map

The search for the F-51 pilot that crashed at 33° 57' N - 130° 41' E was discontinued this date. It is believed that the pilot failed to bail out.

[note]

 

     Koread-War

Aug. 16: Because of the enemy threat to Taegu, the advance 5th Air Force headquarters moved to Pusan.

Ninety-eight FEAFBC B-29s carpet-bombed suspected enemy troop concentrations in a 27-square-mile area near Waegwan northwest of Taegu. The Superfortresses dropped more than 800 tons of 500-pound bombs in the largest employment of airpower in direct support of ground forces since the Normandy invasion of World War II. Subsequent reconnaissance showed little destruction of enemy troops or equipment, because they had already left the area.

[note]

 

USAF B-29 98 x B-29s drop 850 tons in first mass strike of the war

[note]

 

Citations

 

Medals   

Distinguished Service Cross

19500816 0000 DSC CARDOZA

19500713 0000 DSC O'DONNELL, EMMETT, JR.

 

Silver Star

Alfonso, Albert F. [1stLt SS I9thIR]

Barszcz, Anthony [Capt. SS CO G19thIR]

Bendix, John Dean [Pvt SS G5thCR]

Chandler, Woodrow W. [1stLt SS L21stIR]

Preiss, Frederick C. [Cpl SS C5thCR]

Slack, George Donald [Capt SS F19thIR]

 

[note]

 

 

 

   biography   biography

With 98 B-29s, O'Donnell would say, [referring to order of 8/14] "I was supposed to make a wilderness out of 27 square miles, in which no one knew any whereabouts of an enemy, if indeed any enemy forces were there." But Bomber Command took on the mission for psychological reasons if for nothing else. The area was divided into 12 equal squares, and each squadron was assigned an aiming point in the center of each square. just before noon on 16 August, the B-29s went over the target in 30 minutes, dropping 3,084 500-pound and 150 1,000-pound GP bombs. O'Donnell remained over the area for two and one-half hours without seeing any evidence of enemy activity. The Eighth Army did not advance into the area, so an assessment of the results of the massive Waegwan carpet-bombing attack was never possible.

The combination of Eighth Army defense and the aerial interdiction of daytime movement southward sapped the strength of the North Korean army. Captured consumption figures for one North Korean division showed that the division had received 206 tons a day to mid-July, 51 tons a day to mid-August, and 21.5 tons a day to mid-September. Early in September, the Korean Reds were desperate.

[note]

 

"The first 313 KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the US Army) recruits left Pusan by ship to join the badly under strength US 7th Infantry Division in Japan. Once started, the flow of Koreans reached nearly 2,000 per day until a total of 8,625 Korean officers and men joined the division."

[note]

 

biography   biography   biography

In a memorandum for record, 16 August 1950, Ridgway relates a conversation he had that day with General Collins after his return from the Far East. He told Collins that Secretary of the Army Frank Pace had asked him for amplification of the report he had made the previous day on conditions in Korea. Lt. Gen Wade H. Haislip, Army vice chief of staff, Ridgway's immediate superior, was present during this conversation with General Collins.

In a subsequent conversation with General Collins, Ridgway discussed the question of command in Korea. Collins made the statement in this conversation that "Van Fleet was the natural selection, adding, you could do it too.

Collins then asked Ridgway what his preference would be. Ridgway replied, "If we are going to war, I would prefer to fight in Europe. To this Collins said, "I am planning to put you in Haislip's place when he retires within a year and if I send you to Korea, you might be so involved I couldn't get you out.

This exchange indicates that, by midsummer of 1950, there was consideration of replacing Walker in command of Eighth Army and that Ridgway was under consideration, but the Army chief of staff seemed to have decided to keep Ridgway in the Pentagon and to send Van Fleet to Korea. Afterward Gen. Collins's view seems to have changed, for reasons that are not clear. At some point Averell Harriman and General Collins, and possibly others, discussed the subject of General Walkers replacement, and they agreed that Ridgway would succeed Walker.'

[note]

 

 

South then North

 

biography

Four days after the artillery disaster, General Barth had the 555th and 90th Field Artillery Battalions reconstituted and re-equipped with weapons.

 Eighth Army diverted 12 105-mm. howitzers intended for the ROK Army to the 25th Division artillery and 6 155-mm. howitzers intended for a third firing battery of the 90th Field Artillery Battalion were used to re-equip A Battery.

[note]

 

  

The 5th Marines had moved from the Masan front to Miryang, and then on 16 August it received orders to attack Obong-ni the next morning. The 2nd Battalion was to lead the assault, followed by the 1st and 3rd Battalions in that order.

[note]

 

      

On 16 August, as the tired men of Task Force Hill waited in their foxholes for help, the North Koreans attacked the 9th Infantry on Cloverleaf. The attacks were intense and at close quarters. North Koreans occupied some of the American foxholes after killing their occupants. On the right, the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry, lost ground. There was severe fighting also on Ohang Hill where elements of the 19th and 34th Regiments narrowly escaped being trapped.  Captain Barszcz, commanding G Company, 34th Infantry, distinguished himself by bravery and leadership in this action. [17-60]

(Last reference to "Task Force Hill")

[note]

 

August August


On 28 July 1950, General Lee Yong Ho, commanding the N.K. 3rd Division, transmitted an order pertaining to the treatment of prisoners of war, signed by Kim Chaek, Commander-in-Chief, and Kang Kon, Commanding General Staff, Advanced General Headquarters of the North Korean Army, which stated:


1. The unnecessary killing of enemy personnel when they could be taken as PsW shall be strictly prohibited as of now. Those who surrender will be taken as PsW, and all efforts will be made to destroy the enemy in thought and politically.

2. treatment of PsW shall be according to the regulations issued by the Supreme Hq, as attached herein, pertaining to the regulation and order of PW camps.

3. This directive will be explained to and understood by all military personnel immediately, and staff members of the Cultural Section will be responsible for seeing that this is carried out. [19-47]


Another document captured in September shows that the North Korean Army was aware of the conduct of some of its soldiers and was somewhat concerned about it. An order issued by the Cultural Section of the N.K. 2nd Division, 16 August 1950, said in part,

"Some of us are still slaughtering enemy troops that come to surrender. Therefore, the responsibility of teaching the soldiers to take prisoners of war and to treat them kindly rests on the Political Section of each unit." [19-48]

[note]

 

Again on 16 August, B Company and the tanks tried unsuccessfully to drive the enemy, now estimated to be a battalion of about 700 men, from Hill 303. The 61st Field Artillery Battalion and three howitzers of B Battery, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion, fired on the enemy-held hill during the day. Waegwan was a no man's land. For the most part, the town was deserted. Col. Marcel B. Crombez, the regimental commander, relieved the 2nd Battalion commander because he had lost control of his units and did not know where they were. A new commander prepared to resume the attack.

[note]

 

August August

An order issued by the Cultural Section of the N.K. 2nd Division, 16 August 1950, said in part, "Some of us are still slaughtering enemy troops that come to surrender. Therefore, the responsibility of teaching the soldiers to take prisoners of war and to treat them kindly rests on the Political Section of each unit." [19-48]

[note]

 

Carpet Bombing Opposite Waegwan

August 16, 1950

 

In the stretch of mountain country northeast of Waegwan and Hill 303, the ROK 1st Division daily absorbed North Korean attacks during the middle of August. Enemy pressure against this ROK division never ceased for long. Under the strong leadership of Maj. Gen. Paik Sun Yup, this division fought a valiant and bloody defense of the mountain approaches to Taegu.

American artillery fire from the 1st Cavalry Division sector supported the division in part of its sector. The ROK 13th Regiment still held some positions along the river, while the 11th and 12th Regiments engaged the enemy in the high mountain masses of Suam-san and Yuhak-san, west and northwest of Tabu-dong and 4 to 6 miles east of the Naktong River.

The North Koreans kept in repair their underwater bridge across the Naktong 6 miles north of Waegwan in front of Hills 201 and 346. Even direct hits on this bridge by 155-mm. howitzers did not seem to damage it seriously. [19-49]

The enemy penetration at the middle of August in the ROK 13th Regiment sector and along the boundary in the 5th Cavalry sector at Waegwan and Hill 303, together with increasingly heavy pressure against the main force of the ROK 1st Division in the Tabu-dong area, began to jeopardize the safety of Taegu. On 16 August, 750 Korean police were stationed on the outskirts of the city as an added precaution. Refugees had swollen Taegu's normal population of 300,000 to 700,000.

[note]

 

biography

Upon arrival at Kyŏngsan-ni, on 16 August, Colonel Michaelis [24th Div] received orders to reconnoiter routes east, north, northwest, and west of Kyŏngsan-ni, and be prepared on army orders to counter any enemy thrusts from these directions.

During the day, two enemy tanks came through the ROK 1st Division lines twelve miles north of Taegu at Tabu-dong, but ROK 3.5-inch bazooka teams knocked out both of them. [19-58]

[note]

 

   Unit Info

 General Kean sent 432 ROK National Police to Champeny the next day and the latter placed them in this gap. [that was a matter of serious concern.] [20-19]

[note]

 

Bio   Bio   Eighth U.S. Army (Forward)   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]

 

  

Still more armor reinforcements arrived on 16 August, when the 72nd Medium Tank Battalion, organic to the 2nd Infantry Division, landed at Pusan. The 2nd Division also had two regimental tank companies. [21-12]

[note]

 

  

July 10, 23, 28 Aug 7, 8, 16

After the Russian-built T34 tank appeared on the Korean battlefield, the Department of the Army acted as quickly as possible to correct the imbalance in armor. It alerted three medium tank battalions for immediate movement to Korea. These battalions were the 6th (M46), the 70th (M26 and M4A3), and the 73rd (M26).

Two of them were the school troop battalions of the Armored School at Fort Knox and of the Infantry School at Fort Benning; the third was the organic battalion of the 1st Armored Division.

The Department of the Army notified General MacArthur on 10 July that it planned to ship these battalions to the Far East as the quickest way it could devise of getting medium tanks and trained crews to the battlefield.

Ships carrying these three tank battalions sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and arrived at Pusan on 7 August.

The tank battalions unloaded the next day [8/8].

For further reinforcement of Eighth Army, the SS Luxembourg Victory departed San Francisco on 28 July with eighty medium tanks in its cargo.

Still more armor reinforcements arrived on 16 August, when the 72nd Medium Tank Battalion, organic to the 2nd Infantry Division, landed at Pusan.

The 2nd Division also had two regimental tank companies. [12]

Ships carrying these three tank battalions [6th (M46), the 70th (M26 and M4A3), and the 73rd (M26)] sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and

[note]

 

        

contributed key personnel to the 24th, 25th, and 1st Cavalry Divisions in succession when they mounted out for Korea. In an effort to rebuild this division, the first Korean augmentation recruits were assigned to it rather than to the divisions in Korea. The first three platoons of 313 recruits left Pusan by ship the morning of 16 August and

[note]

 

Bio   Bio   Def  Koread-War

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]

 

On 16 August, transport planes carried 324 tons of cargo and 595 passengers;

[note]

 

A battalion of marines in two vessels, the USS Bexar (APA-237) and the USS Montague (AKA-98), departed Suda Bay, Crete, in the Mediterranean on 16 August, and sailing by way of Suez

[note]

 

The Forgotten War

 

[note]

 

U.S. Air Force

 

 

Sent a 6-page, strong, carefully-worded redline, T. S., to Norstad, re the United Press story as written by Robert Miller. Radio in M2 parts; in first part was my own personal reaction to the type of article written; part 2 was an analysis of the major contentions and innuendoes made by Miller in his release.

Sent a redline to Vandenberg:

About 90 B-29s in heaviest concentrated bomber operation to date, today dropped more than 800 tons of 500 lbs. GP bombs, instantaneously fused, on 3 1/2 by 7 1/2 area immediate northwest of Waegwan, in close support of our forces. First element over target at 1050K, with visual bombing conditions; excellent results. Bombing completed about 1300K. Attack made on south to north axis, with Naktong River serving as eastern boundary. Flash reports from planes still airborne indicate generally excel- lent results.[201]

Copy of a signal sent by Joy (ComNavFE) to his command forwarded me by Joy with attached buck slip:

"Hope the attached dispatch to all naval units under my command will stop any more irresponsible comments which I deplore as much as you do."ť

 The radio reference is as follows:


To NAVFE, info - CINCPACFLT and CNO [Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations]. It has been brought to my attention that criticism is being voiced by members of the naval service  against other services of our country. In connection with this situation I concur completely in the following remarks from the Chief of Naval Operations, quote: "It is essential that officers refrain from comparison which derogate the efforts or effectiveness of other services. Such comparisons whether correct or incorrect are in bad taste and are prejudicial to the national interest."ť unquote. Take action to insure that all personnel both public relations and others are appropriately instructed.


My discussion with General MacArthur this evening resulted in his approving my recommendation not to do any area bombing with B-29s until we really get a clear-cut evaluation of what took place this morning. The reasons backing up my recommendation were:

(1) area northeast of Naktong River selected for B-29 bombing on 18 or 19 Aug is dangerous to ground troops and completely unsuitable. Fifth AF recommends against this, and EUSAK does not want bombing in this area.

(2) area M/B [medium bomber] bombing is suitable if ground forces intend to make a break-through, capitalizing on shock and disruption created by the bombing. In this particular case where ground forces are to make a limited attack to reduce the NK [North Korean] salient and drive the NK across the river, accurately controlled close support by fighter bombers is the air weapon most suitable.

(3) other areas west of the Naktong River are too extensive for B-29s to bomb effectively. Would be waste of effort and would not greatly affect our ground force counter attack except to interfere with fighter bombers.

(4) fighters and dive bombers of Navy could be utilized in this area to search out specific targets and would have less effect on close support operations of Fifth AF and Marine Air.

(5) it is imperative that B-29s continue interdiction and destruction missions in North Korea if essential effect is to be achieved by 15 Sep 50.

(6) JCS have assigned additional NK targets for B-29 destruction.

(7) Stockpile of 500-pound bombs is critical at this time - available stock pending replenishment should be used in NK.

(8) earliest liaison necessary in order that interdiction targets be studied and B-29s properly bombed up, therefore.


Recommend: support of U. S. counter attack be normal type Fifth AF and Marine close support, and U. S. Navy carrier effort be laid on and kept in SK where it is needed. Areas west of Naktong River be assigned to Navy aircraft as coordinated by Fifth Air Force in consultation with EUSAK, and the B-29s resume and stay on the NK interdiction and destruction program.


10:00 Air Marshal Bouchier and I had our pictures taken together for the

London Illustrated News.

Following is quoted in toto Partridge's personal daily summary to me of 16 Aug:

Part 1. Ref part 4 of yesterday's msg on reuniting hq at Taegu, prospects of continued occupation this location swing with opinions on the ground situation and this morning's situation reverses plan to reunite here. After further consultations with Gen. Walker and his staff and reviews of rail and truck transportation which it now appears might be avail[able] for our use, decided to move aviation engr [engineer] unit from K-2 to Pusan and concentrate work on strip east of city. This stops construction K-2 but insures safety of critical engineer equip which must move by train. Pusan Hq will be made fully opnl [operational] soonest so that control of AF may be transferred to Pusan without delay. Hq being pared down to minimum and impediment either evacuated or made ready for move on 1 hour notice. Exception of signal gear for which several hours notice will be required. We are watching EUSAK and will start dismantling our signal set up when they do. K-2 will remain opnl as at present.

Part 2. For political reasons General Walker is determined to remain Taegu long as possible. Apparently his staff feels move a military necessity.

Part 3. B-29 strike observed by Gen Walker who expressed keenest interest and appreciation since this was his first opportunity to watch heavies from air.

[note]

 

     

Prospective airfield sites were lost to the enemy at P'yŏngt'aek and Taejŏn, so that by early July only the site at Taegu remained practicable as an air base in central Korea. FEAF therefore decided to concentrate the full 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion, plus the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company, at Taegu.

Orders were issued to the units on Okinawa on 8 July, and by 16 July the first elements were unloading at Pusan; on 30 July the last of the battalion had moved northward into Taegu by train from the South Korean port. Here the aviation engineers hurriedly laid down a new PSP runway, seemingly without much attention to the sub-grade, and started renovation of the old strip which had been in use during the month.

On 16 August, just as the battalion was returning to work on the old strip and necessary taxiways, word was received that enemy pressure demanded evacuation of all engineer troops except a small maintenance detachment. Some 4,300 feet of the new runway, however, was in use by tactical units.

August

The engineer units thus labored to meet short deadlines with worn equipment and confused logistical support. Heavier construction equipment had to be left at the Pusan harbor because of the impracticability of moving it forward. The age of other equipment caused numerous breakdowns, and, with almost no flow of spare parts, the engineers cannibalized some items to keep like items running.

Large stocks of construction material were on hand in ECA dumps, and these stocks were drawn upon until Army supplies could begin to arrive from Japan. Pierced-steel planking assumed particular importance because of its world-wide shortage and handling difficulty. Frequently classified as a "portable" surfacing, it was shipped in bundles of 30 planks which would cover 375 square feet but which weighed approximately a ton. Thus a standard runway of 150 by 5,000 feet required 1,928 tons of PSP. The metal planking, moreover, was stored and controlled by the Pusan Logistical Command, and, being of use to non-aviation activities, some of the PSP was diverted to the construction of an ammunition unloading beach at Pusan and an ordnance service station at Taegu.

[note]

 



Prospective airfield sites were lost to the enemy at P'yŏngt'aek and Taejŏn, so that by early July only the site at Taegu remained practicable as an air base in central Korea.

August    August

FEAF therefore decided to concentrate the full 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion, plus the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company, at Taegu.

Orders were issued to the units on Okinawa on 8 July, and by 16 July the first elements were unloading at Pusan; on 30 July the last of the battalion had moved northward into Taegu by train from the South Korean port.

Here the aviation engineers hurriedly laid down a new PSP runway, seemingly without much attention to the sub-grade, and started renovation of the old strip which had been in use during the month. On 16 August, just as the battalion was returning to work on the old strip and necessary taxiways, word was received that enemy pressure demanded evacuation of all engineer troops except a small maintenance detachment. Some 4,300 feet of the new runway, however, was in use by tactical units.

[note]

 

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

[note]

 

Koread-War

13, 14,15,16,17, 18, 19, 20

FEAFBC

Effective on 12 August, the normal daily effort of three B-29 groups was directed at bridges.

Such a scale of effort continued until 20 August,

[note]

 

biography   biography

General Stratemeyer personally reported these findings to General MacArthur and further pointed out that Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers or Navy dive-bombers could provide the Eighth Army with its most effective air support. In summary, General Stratemeyer recommended that the medium bombers be allowed to resume and continue their interdiction and destruction operations in North Korea and that Task Force 77 should be brought back to South Korea to support the Eighth Army. #111

[note]

 

U.S. Marine Corps

 

biography

Chesty and his headquarters were the last to embark on the 16.  Ships sailed as they were loaded and all were at sea by the 22.  Smith flew to Japan with his senior staff and the last of the vessels departed.  Only then did he discover that MacArthur planned to launch an amphibious assault against the port of Inch'ŏn, with the 1 Marine Division in the lead, on September 15, Almond, now the head of X Corps, would command the operation.

P330

Determination and improvisation had carried the day in getting the division organized and out to sea.  It remained to be seen how the outfit would meet the test of battle.  Puller, for one, exuded confidence.  He was not personally acquainted with this officers and NCOs, but he knew that among them was a high proportion that had performed well against the Japanese just a few years before.  He would later boast “there never was a time in the history of the Marine Corps that a regiment was so well prepared by experience.  While that was an overstatement, it was  not too far off the mark.  He would have been even more optimistic had he realized that a starting percentage of his junior officers hade previous survive as enlisted men, many of them in combat in Work War II.

A/1/1

Captain Robert H. Barrow’s A Company was unusually blessed.   Five of his six lieutenants had been on active duty during the conflict, three as sergeants and one, surprisingly, as a Navy officer.  Barrow’s own background --- as an adviser with the Chinese Nationalist guerrillas in the war against Japan --- would prove to be especially valuable.

P331

Puller’s senior subordinates brought solid experience to the regiment. 

1st Marines

LtCol Allan Sutter = CO.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Rickert had served as a company commander on Guadalcanal and a regimental operations officer on Okinawa.  He had been XO of the 2 Marines when it transferred to the West Coast and maintained that billet when the outfit was redesignated. 

biography

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Hawkins had commanded the 1 Battalion, 2 Marines (now 1/1) for two years.  He had been a platoon leader in the 4 Marines with Puller in 1940 and was captured with the rest of his regiment when Corregidor fell in1942.  He later escaped form the Japanese and fought alongside Filipino guerrillas.  He went on to serve in the operations section of the 1 Marine Division during Okinawa campaign. 

biography

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ridge had been a student of Puller’s at the Basic School in 1938 and must have picked up his aggressive attitude.  During World War II he worked in high-level intelligence billets, but, as an observer on Okinawa, he spent enough time near the action to receive two wounds.  He had just taken command of 1/6 (now 3/1) in June 1950.

 

biography

 Lieutenant Colonel Allen Sutter, in charge of 2/1, had served as the communications officer on Guadalcanal and most recently in the operations section of an aircraft wing.

P331

Puller did not know the member of his command, but most of them were familiar with his reputation.  A few viewed their new commander with some trepidation, since they had heard that their predecessors at Peleliu had suffered one of the highest casualty rates of the war.  They knew only the numbers, not the details behind them, and came away with the idea that “he was reckless [with] the life of the Marines under him.”  That impression was reinforced when word went around that Chesty had ordered everyone to sign up for life insurance because he didn’t want complaints from “widows or sorrowing mothers.” 

The colonel even arranged for civilian insurance agents to come to the tent camp, as long as they sold policies without an exemption from payment in case of a war death.  The regimental chaplain noted that the CO “was very pleased” with himself: “Not least because he felt the insurance companies were getting taken!”  There was just enough fact behind the idle scuttlebutt to create “a chill of apprehension” among a few of Puller’s subordinates.

P332

For many young Marines, their commander was simply a legend; one of the most decorated Leathernecks ever said the only one with four Navy Crosses.  They had heard the stories, both of his bravery in battle and of his devotion to his troops.  That aura served an important purpose in the resurrected 1 Marines.  Outfits from Camp Lejeune with their own proud lineage had been redesignated and hordes of newcomers had fleshed out their ranks.  There was no time to train together or go through all the other experiences that meld individuals into a unit.  But Chesty provided the glue that quickly coalesced the 1 Marines into tight-knit fraternity. 

Sergeant Harvey Owens believed that “the regiment came alive” at Pendleton when everyone realized Puller was in command.  Lieutenant Charles R. Stiles, a staff officer in 3/1, thought the colonel “gave us pride in some way I can’t describe.”  In no time at all, there was a common response to questions about unit affiliation: “I’m in Chesty’s outfit.”  The officers and men of the 1 Marines would have no shortage of esprit de corps when they went into battle less than six weeks after unfurling their colors.

P332

Puller’s reputation was larger than life, but he cut a surprisingly low profile in person at Camp Pendleton.  He made no speeches and held no inspections.  He simply wandered around the ranges and the company streets quietly observing the purposeful preparations for war.  His grizzled visage, rumpled utility cap, and sun-bleached field uniform caused many to take him at first glance for an Old Corps gunnery sergeant.  Lieutenant Lew Devine, a recent Naval Academy graduate with World War II enlisted service, grew irritated when a scruffy character sitting on the deck of a Quonset hut interrupted while Devine was reporting in to the duty officer.  Much to the lieutenant’s chagrin, it was only after he made an annoyed replay that he noticed the silver eagles on the collars of the old fatigues.  Chesty took no offense.  In fact, he seemed to have mellowed in one respect in these latter years.  Some lieutenants and captains “dreaded the prospect” of working for a commanders with a reputation for his gruffness toward junior officers.  Most were pleasantly surprised to find Puller “a grand guy” or “ a decent guy and easy to get along with.” 

Chesty still took up for his men when the jury-rigged enlisted club ran out of been or they had to wait in long lines a the post exchange, but, in contrast to World War II, this era would generate no widely circulated tales of lieutenants and captains running afoul of his wrath.  Instead, he seemed to enjoy regaling his subordinates with stories during bull sessions on the ship or in lulls in the action in the field.

P333

Puller still appreciated anyone who was equally as  eager as he was to do battle.  Due to an excess of officers, Captain Carl L. Sitter faced the prospect of being left behind when his battalion sailed off to war.  He asked to see the regimental commander and told Chesty that he wanted “to go fight.”  He  discovered that “those seemed to be the magic words” and he soon had a billet as the regiments athletics officer.  The senior chaplain also received orders transferring him out of the regiment.  The Reverend Glyn Jones was a veteran of the Pacific campaign and voiced his desire to stay on.  When Chesty’s positive endorsement of the request was rejected by Navy headquarters, the colonel pocked the Baptist minister’s paperwork and told him to get on board the ship as fast as he could.

P333

Puller was still capable of delivering a fire-and-brimstone pep talk when he deemed it appropriate.  Several officers recalled that he gathered them together one evening to welcome them to the regiment.  The gist of his brief lecture was that they had enjoyed five years of peace and lived well off the largesse of the taxpayers; now it was time to earn their keep. 

He peppered his oration with more than a few profane words and the senior chaplain voiced his objections.  Chesty sincerely apologized, but subordinates found it humorous that the colonel and the Navy officer seemed to have the same discussion after every subsequent speech.  The Reverend Jones would remember his CO as “a good Christian man” whose “personal life could stand muster with anybody’s,” but “he had a little trouble with language.”

USN

The voyage to Japan took almost two weeks and the regiment made as much use of this time as the cramped ships allowed.  Puller’s headquarters and 1/1 sailed aboard the USS Noble (APA-218).  There was sufficient space topside for one platoon at a time to do calisthenics.  Small units gathered in other nooks and crannies for lectures on first aid, squad tactics, and similar subjects.  Individuals and teams spent hours reviewing the operation of their weapon and cleaning them.  Chesty spent much of the transit reading; by the time he got to the Far East, he had devoured nine books on Korea and Manchuria.

[note]

 

  

Overloaded trucks had shuttled Lieutenant Colonel Wood’s artillery battalion forward on 16 August. Although registration fires were completed by evening, the haste of the displacement and the doubtful information at the front left much to be desired from the standpoint of accuracy.[18]

[note]

 

6th US Marine Regiment.png

Forming the nucleus of the regiment, the 6th Marines, at peace strength and less two battalions, arrived from Camp Lejeune on 16 August.

[note]

 

On the 16th the two vessels departed according to schedule by way of Port Said and the Suez Canal. Security regulations were rigidly enforced, with only one stop being made when the vessels anchored at Ceylon for six hours to take on fuel.

Marine officers were figuratively as well as literally at sea, since they had no idea of the specific mission awaiting the battalion in the Far East. Unaware of plans for the Inch'ŏn landing, they envisioned the troops being employed as the ship-based raiding party of some American task force. Meanwhile their future teammates of the 7th Marines were preparing to embark from San Diego. Colonel Litzenberg and his officers had made a good start at Camp Pendleton even before the activation date of 17 August 1950.

In order to build up from cadres of former 6th Marines’ troops, this regiment received the largest proportion of combat-ready reservists of any major unit in the 1st Marine Division—about 50 per cent, counting the augmentation personnel to bring 3/6 up to war strength when it would be taken into the outfit in Japan.[3] CNO had set 3 September as the date of embarkation. But Headquarters, FMFPac, prepared the embarkation plans while the regimental staff solved problems of organization and equipment so effectively that the 7th Marines sailed on the 1st, thus beating the deadline by two days.[4]

Orders came to El Toro on 16 August for the overseas movement of the remaining elements of the 1st MAW.

[note]

 

Army planning had been initiated by the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group until 16 August, when the “Special Planning Staff” was set up at GHQ to issue directives for Operation Plan CHROMITE.

[note]

 

U.S. Navy

 

    

1st Marine Brigade began to move from Miryang to Yŏngsan-ni, CNO ordered 7th Marines to Far East.

[note]

USN_Units

Task Force 77 departed from Sasebo at 1742K, 15 August.

This time the route taken was for the east coast of Korea, The next two (16 and 17th) days were spent off the east coast with operations the first day south of 38*N and the second day north of the 38*N In the south,, bridges and supply dumps were hit; in the north, industrial targets, rail facilities and coastal shipping were attacked.

[note]

 

August


On [Saturday] 8 July activation of facilities at Fallbrook and Seal Beach, California, was begun, and Bangor Annex, at Keyport in Puget Sound, was made available for the outloading of Army and Air Force ammunition.
For all services requirements skyrocketed. The planned overseas movement of Army ammunition alone was to rise from zero to 77,000 tons for the month of August [8/31], a growth paralleled by increased calls for general stores, refrigerated provisions, and for personnel.

The Military Sea transportation Service had prepared for a predicted movement of 66,000 tons of cargo to the Far East in July [7/31]; in fact it ended up moving 312,000 tons and 30,000 passengers. More tonnage was urgently required and was being hastily assembled by Captain William R. Thayer, Deputy Commander MSTS Pacific; by the third week in July [7/16] the transports under his control had increased from 20 to 31, and 12 commercial vessels had been taken on under time charter

[note]

 

USN_Units

On 6 August a group of underwater demolition and Marine reconnaissance personnel was assigned to USS Horace A. Bass (APD-124), and the resultant package designated the Special Operations Group. Two days later (August 8) a new weapon became available for raids from the sea as the submarine transport USS Perch (ASSP-313), a conversion capable of carrying 160 troops and with a cylindrical deck caisson providing stowage for landing equipment, reached Yokosuka from Pearl Harbor. A British offer of a squad of Royal Marines provided Perch’s raiding personnel, and brought immediate preparations for attacks on the east coast transportation.

To this planned schedule of raiding activity Admiral Joy now added carrier strikes. On 7 August he had noted that reports of enemy rail traffic promised useful employment for Task Force 77 in Area F; a week later, as the task force was returning to Sasebo, the continued influx of such intelligence brought similar recommendations from Fifth Air Force Headquarters in Korea. Pressure on the northern front, naval and Air Force intelligence which emphasized the importance of the east coast route, and the suggestions of the naval liaison officer led on the 13th to a request from FAFIK for carrier interdiction of Area C on the 16th, to be followed by attacks on rail and other transport facilities in Area F, between Wŏnsan and Ch'ŏngjin.

After obtaining the views of the naval commanders CincFE ordered the execution of this plan. Task Force 77 was to strike from the Sea of Japan on the 16th and 17th, refuel on the 18th, and strike again for two days. In order further to reduce the pressure on the northern front, FEAF was instructed to put its maximum bomber effort on the Waegwan area on the 16th, while the carrier planes were striking Area C. On the 17th, as proposed by Fifth Air Force, Task Force 77 would move northward to operate against Area F.

[note]

 

biography

On the 13th, in response to reports of enemy shipping at Wŏnsan, Admiral Hartman established blockading stations in 39° 50' and 40° 50'. Enemy movement on shore was also receiving attention: between 13 and 16 August, while the ship employed the daylight hours in bombardment of rail targets, the raiders from USS Horace A. Bass (APD-124), carried out three night landings between 41° 28' and 38° 35' which resulted in the destruction of three tunnels and two bridges. In anticipation of future attacks by USS Perch (ASSP-313), ComNavFE had by this time established a joint zone for surface and submarine operations, Area 7, between 40° and 41° on the Korean east coast.

[note]

 

USN_Units

Some semblance of order had by now been reestablished at P'ohang, but elsewhere the perimeter was under heavy pressure. Although the close support efforts of Task Force 77 on the 16th had been concentrated in the east, a fair number of sorties had been sent to the Waegwan front northwest of Taegu. This area had also benefited from the attentions of the FEAF Bomber Command, which on orders from GHQ had put 850 tons of explosives into enemy assembly areas in a carpet-bombing operation reminiscent of Saint Lô.

[note]

 

[note]

 

The following land at Pusan today August 8th:

6th (M46 Patton's),

70th (M26 Perishing's and M4A3 Sherman's) and

73rd (M26) medium tank battalions land at Pusan,

followed on August 16 by

72nd med tank bn. and two

2id tank companies.

The tank battalions average 69 tanks each. (350 total)

By now UN forces outnumber the N.K. in tanks, troops, and artillery, and still have unchallenged air supremacy.

NKPA attempts to penetrate Naktong (Pusan) Perimeter and is repelled by 24th, 2nd, and 25th Infantry Divisions along with Marine elements in the First Battle of the Naktong Bulge.

[note]

 

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Hurting or not, the enemy continued their attack on August 16, while on the United Nations side (for this was a U.N. 'police action' against the Communist aggressor, it may be recalled), both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps were preparing for a new attack of their own on the 17th. It would be led by Brig. Gen. Edward Craig's 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, consisting of the 5th Marine Regiment (three battalions with only two rifle companies each), supported by a 105mm howitzer battalion from the 11th Marines and a tank company. The Marines also had their own air support–the 1st Marine Air Wing's gull-winged Vought F4U-5 Corsair fighters.

[note]

 

Just after midnight, 15-16 August, Eighth Army by telephone ordered the 24th Division to take positive action against the enemy force on Hill 409 at the division's northern extremity near Hyŏnp'ung. This force had now increased to an estimated regiment. Prisoners said it was the 29th Regiment of the N.K. 10th Division, a division not previously committed in action.

[note]

 

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Before daylight, the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, arrived near Hill 409 to reinforce the 21st Infantry. The regiment had arrived from the United States on 5 August and had gone to an assembly area near Taegu with the certainty that it would soon be committed at some point around the Perimeter. The enemy troops [??who??] on Hill 409 posed a particular danger. At any moment they might begin a drive southeast into the already desperately hard-pressed American forces fighting in the Naktong Bulge. [17-61]

But this enemy force, fortunately and most comfortingly, made no effort to leave Hill 409 where it had established itself during a most critical moment of the bulge battle. Its inactivity within the American defense perimeter demonstrated either a lack of co-ordination by the North Korean command or an inelastic adherence to plans.

[note]

 

0547 Sunrise

[note]

 

 

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The next day, 16 August 1950, the prisoners were moved around a great deal with their guards. One of the mortarmen, Cpl. Roy L. Day, Jr., spoke Japanese and could converse with some of the North Koreans. That afternoon he overheard a North Korean lieutenant say that they would kill the prisoners if American soldiers came too close. That night guards took away five of the Americans; the others did not know what became of them.

[note]

52 5th Cav Troopers were killed today.

 

 

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biography   biography

At 1900, 15 August, Craig briefed his staff and unit commanders. The next morning the Brigade commander flew by helicopter to Church’s CP and received the actual attack order, which was identical with the planning of the previous day.[9]

[note]

 

USN_Units

The first strikes on the morning of the 16th were sent off, as planned, against bridges and supply dumps in Area C. But increasing pressure on the big perimeter around Taegu and on the little one at Ch'ongha led to a switch to close support. A morning strike of eight ADs and seven F4Us from Philippine Sea was diverted in the air, only to have communication problems frustrate all efforts to provide the desired services.

[note]

 

 

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At 1115, at the request of Fifth Air Force, all strikes were put on close support.

[note]

 

biography

The weather was fine on the morning of 16 August, and at a few minutes before noon the first squadron of the FEAF Bomber Command Superfortresses was over the Waegwan area. Within thirty minutes 98 B-29's had bombed their assigned aiming points. From altitudes ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 feet the Superfortress crews released 3,084 x 500-pound and 150 x 1,000-pound general-purpose bombs. It was the biggest employment of air-power in direct support of ground forces since the Normandy invasion. The bombs dropped had a blast effect equivalent to that of 30,000 rounds of heavy artillery.#106

biography

Even before the smoke and dust cleared away along the Naktong General Stratemeyer and his subordinates were seeking to discover the results of the mammoth air attack. Most crews could report nothing more than that they had dropped their bombs as directed. Post-strike reconnaissance photographs showed only that the bombing patterns had been generally excellent, although there were a few bombs short and a few over the target area. Since Eighth Army troops made no immediate effort to send patrols into the area, no one ever knew just what the medium bombers had accomplished.

 

General O'Donnell personally reconnoitered the area for two and one-half hours and reported no evidence of enemy activity-no troops, no vehicles, no armor, no flak. He recommended that no more such missions should be flown unless against concentrated targets where the ground situation was extremely critical.#107

biography

General Partridge commented that ground commanders had been given an object lesson concerning the inflexibility of medium-bomber support.#108

[note]

 

At 1158, 16 August, the first of the 98 B-29's of the 19th, 22nd, 92nd, 98th, and 307th Bomber Groups arrived over the target area;

[note]

 

      biography

 

General O'Donnell fully realized the impracticability of attempting to saturate an area of 27 square miles with 12 squadrons of medium bombers, but he believed the ground situation merited an air attack if for nothing but psychological effect. Bomber Command divided the area into 12 equal squares, assigning each squadron an aiming point in the center of one of the squares.

Beginning at 1158 hours, 98 B-29's of the five B-29 groups went over the target, the last plane clearing the area at 1224 hours. They left behind 3,084 x 500-pound GP and 150 x 1,000-pound GP bombs.

Only the 307th Group reported ground fire - light, meager, and inaccurate - and most crews could only report that bombs had been released over the target.

After the bombing, EUSAK forces made no immediate effort to advance, so that exact assessment of results was never possible. General O'Donnell, over the area for two and a half hours, saw no evidence of enemy activity. Believing that the area set out had been too large, he recommended no more such missions except against more concentrated targets when the ground situation was extremely critical.

General Partridge commented that the ground force commanders had at last learned that air power had limitations; O'Donnell later observed that high ranking ground officers had gravely asked him to "make a wilderness" of the 27 square mile area with 98 B-29's. General Walker stated that the strike had an adverse psychological effect upon the enemy and helped the morale of his own troops, but FEAF's final evaluation was that area bombing by medium bombers should be undertaken only under two conditions:

(1) as a desperation measure against identified and definite concentrations of enemy troops ready to assault friendly troops, or

(2) in an area through which friendly troops would effect a penetration into enemy territory.

While the Waegwan attack may have had limited effects against the enemy, it appears to have been appreciated by EUSAK ground troops. One sergeant wrote General O'Donnell on 30 August:

Us dough boy say hat off to you on your bomb salute to Gen. Walker and boys on the fighting front . . . . The first cavalry division was holding the line against great odds, when the enemys start to infiltrate our line in the early dawn, also had tanks and artillery to support them, when over our head was bombs away. You should of seeing faces lighten up with smiles. Yet it was a beautiful sight . . . . To some critics and the folks back home it was a complete wash out, but to the boys on the front it was more than morale, it was a coordinated of the ground & air close support operations.

[note]

 

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biography   biography

Later on the 16th, Craig drove to the front to reconnoiter the area marked for the Brigade jump-off. He visited the 9th RCT command post where Colonel Hill informed him that the Army unit was in good condition as it stood by for the great attack.[10]

After Craig’s reconnaissance, Lieutenant Colonel Murray arrived at the front to discuss the tactical plan with the 9th RCT Commander. Although Colonel Hill spoke confidently of his outfit’s readiness for the attack, Murray observed that the ranks of soldiers on Observation Hill and Hill 125 were thin and the men obviously wearied by the fighting of the previous 5 days.[11]

With this impression in mind, the 5th Marines commander studied the terrain soon to be his regiment’s battleground. Between Observation Hill and Obong-ni Ridge, a 300-yard rice paddy was flanked to the north of the road by the 9th RCT positions on Hill 125. Across the MSR from the northern tip of Obong-ni Ridge was the congested village of Tugok. West of the hamlet and northwest of Brigade Objective One was long, low Finger Ridge, target of Hill’s RCT.[12]

Murray quickly concluded from the terrain that both regiments should not attack together and become exposed simultaneously in the low ground ahead. Since Obong-ni Ridge was closer than the Army objective and dominated both Tugok and Finger Ridge, Murray suggested that the 5th Marines jump off alone at 0800, 17 August. If the 9th RCT would support him by fire from Hill 125, he would take Obong-ni Ridge and return the courtesy while the Army unit cleared Tugok and seized its objective. And though offering his plan on a tactical basis, Murray also took into consideration the condition and numbers of Hill’s troops.[13]

The 9th RCT commander agreed, and the responsibility of delivering the first punch lay with the 5th Marines.[14]

Time and chance were against the Brigade throughout 16 August and the following morning. Banking on the use of 145 Army trucks, Craig and Murray hoped to move quickly on the 16th, in order to have one infantry battalion take over Observation Hill and the other two available for the attack on the 17th. Unfortunately, only 43 trucks were actually provided, with the result that time schedules were thrown off and troops forced to march long distances the night before the attack.[15]

[note]

 

      USN_Units

A noon flight of 15 planes from USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) bombed and strafed North Korean troop concentrations, and

[note]

 

biography

[At 1158, 16 August, the first of the 98 B-29's of the 19th, 22nd, 92nd, 98th, and 307th Bomber Groups arrived over the target area; ] the last cleared it at 1224. The bombers from 10,000 feet dropped approximately 960 tons of 500- and 1,000-pound general purpose bombs. The bomber crews reported only that the bombs were on target. General O'Donnell was in the air over the target area for more than two hours, but he saw no sign of enemy activity below. [19-55]

[note]

 

      USN_Units

between 1230 and 1730 USS Valley Forge (CV-45) flew 12 AD and 11 Corsair sorties into the P'ohang area.

note]

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biography

General Smith decided [ on the 7th] that this flight could best be made in two echelons. The first, which took off for Japan at 1400 on 16 August 1950, included a group of 12 officers and six enlisted men selected to initiate planning:

  1. G-2: Col B. T. Holcomb, Jr., and TSgt W. O’Grady
  2. Asst. G-2: Maj J. G. Babashanian and Cpl J. N. Lareau
  3. G-3: Col A. L. Bowser, Jr., and Sgt G. O. Davis, Jr.
  4. Asst. G-3: LtCol F. R. Moore
  5. Asst. G-4: LtCol C. T. Hodges
  6. Asst. Emb. Off.: Capt R. E. Moody and PFC H. J. McAvinue
  7. Shore Pty. Off.: Maj J. G. Dibble
  8. Signal Off.: LtCol A. Creal and Cpl L. Shefchik
  9. Asst. G-1: LtCol B. D. Godbold
  10. Fire Sup. Coord.: LtCol D. E. Reeve and SSgt P. Richardson
  11. Naval Gunfire Off.: LtCol L. S. Fraser
  12. Air Off.: Capt W. F. Jacobs

[note]

 

      USN_Units

At 1445 information on the scheduled Ch'ongha evacuation was received on board, the major objective became the protection of the ROK division, and although two later USS Valley Forge (CV-45) flights destroyed trucks, supplies, and gasoline in the Taegu area, the weight of effort was at P'ohang.

[note]

 

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BioAt 1550, 16 August, in a radio message to General Kean, Eighth Army dissolved Task Force Kean. [16-49] The task force had not accomplished what Eighth Army had believed to be easily possible-the winning and holding of the Chinju pass line. Throughout Task Force Kean's attack, well organized enemy forces controlled the Sobuk-san area and from there struck at its rear and cut its lines of communications. The North Korean High Command did not move a single squad from the northern to the southern front during the action. The N. K. 6th Division took heavy losses in some of the fighting, but so did Task Force Kean. Eighth Army again had underestimated the N. K. 6th Division.

Even though Task Force Kean's attack did not accomplish what Eighth Army had hoped for and expected, it nevertheless did provide certain beneficial results. It chanced to meet head-on the N. K. 6th Division attack against the Masan position, and first stopped it, then hurled it back. Secondly, it gave the 25th Division a much needed psychological experience of going on the offensive and nearly reaching an assigned objective. From this time on, with the exception of the 24th Infantry, the division troops fought well and displayed a battle worthiness that paid off handsomely and sometimes spectacularly in the oncoming Perimeter battles. By disorganizing the offensive operations of the N. K. 6th Division at the middle of August, Task Force Kean also gained the time needed to organize and wire in the defenses that were to hold the enemy out of Masan during the critical period ahead.

[note]  [note]

 

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      USN_Units   USN_Units

between 1230 and 1730 USS Valley Forge (CV-45) flew 12 AD and 11 Corsair sorties into the P'ohang area.  There remained some difficulties in control.

In late afternoon an 18-plane strike from  USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) aborted, owing to inability to reach an air controller, and Valley Forge pilots returning from the P'ohang region reported that their controller seemed inexperienced.

But if all was not perfect the results were good enough: the attacks against targets beyond the range of naval gunfire continued throughout the day, the ROK division maintained its perimeter, and by evening, when the Striking Force turned north, the evacuation had been organized.

On the chance that rescue shipping might not reach Ch'ongha in time, Admiral Hartman had prepared an evacuation plan which contemplated removing the Korean troops on rafts towed by whaleboats and transferring them to naval vessels offshore; fortunately such heroic measures proved unnecessary. At Pusan Commander Luosey had managed to rustle up four more LSTs, one manned by Koreans and three by Japanese. These reached the evacuation area on the evening of the 16th, and were met and led in by the destroyer USS Wiltsie (DD-716), to beach with the aid of jeep headlights ashore.

[note]

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Overloaded trucks had shuttled Lieutenant Colonel Wood’s artillery battalion forward on 16 August. Although registration fires were completed by evening, the haste of the displacement and the doubtful information at the front left much to be desired from the standpoint of accuracy.[18]

biography

 

While Objective One Obong-ni Ridge was known to be heavily defended, it was generally thought that Hill 207Brigade Objective Two—would be the hard nut to crack. And the potential of Objective Three, towering Hill 311, was by no means minimized in pre-attack estimates.[19] Later events proved these assumptions to be the reverse of reality, but Marine planners could do no better with the meager intelligence then available.

The regimental commander and General Craig concluded that a frontal assault on Obong-ni Ridge with a column of battalions was the only answer to the problems posed by the terrain and situation.

Since the Brigade commander had been specifically charged with the security of the MSR, it was necessary that 3/5 remain in position on Cloverleaf Hill until Objective One was taken.

  

Taplett’s battalion had a second responsibility in guarding the Brigade’s left (south) flank, because Craig considered the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, too far out to provide the required close-in protection.[20]

  

The Brigade commander, unaware of Murray’s arrangement with Colonel Hill, could not have envisioned an approach to the enemy’s left through the 9th RCT zone. He expected the Army unit to advance side by side with the Brigade and give supporting fire as directed by General Church. On the other hand, an envelopment of the enemy’s right seemed out of the question. Using the southern approach to Obong-ni Ridge would have created a gap of several thousands yards in the center of the critical area, and the low, barren marshland to the left would have impeded the movement of tanks and the employment of the 5th Marines’ integral supporting arms.[21]

Lieutenant Colonel Murray’s reasoning closely paralleled that of his superior. He did not visualize an envelopment from the north because he expected a comparable effect from supporting fire by the 9th RCT. An attempt to flank the North Korean right would have placed the attacking unit far from the power consolidated along the MSR. The enemy situation in the hills and swamps to the south was unknown, and the Marine regimental commander did not relish the thought of one or two of his battalions becoming isolated in that remote area. Then too, the southern peaks on Obong-ni Ridge were considerably higher and more rugged than those nearer the MSR. So it seemed logical to Murray to retain depth and strength by striking frontally, quickly gaining a foothold on the lower, northern reaches of the ridge, then exploiting the penetration rapidly and vigorously.[22]

When asked about his tactical plan by General Craig, he stated that the 5th Marines would attack in a column of battalions, 2/5 seizing Objective One, 1/5 passing through to take Hill 207, and 3/5 completing the reduction of the bulge by following with an assault on Objective Three. [23]

The Brigade commander voiced his concurrence, and the plan was put in motion.[24]

Obong-ni Ridge sprawled across the Marine front like some huge prehistoric reptile. Its blunt head overlooked the MSR below Tugok, and the elongated body stretched to the southeast more than 2,000 yards before losing its identity in a complex of swamps and irregular hill formations. The high, narrow spine was marked by a series of peaks, beginning with Hill 102 at the neck, followed by 109, 117, 143, 147, and 153. There were still other peaks to the southeast, but so small and irregular as to be almost indistinguishable.

A procession of steep spurs, separated from one another by pronounced gullies, ran down from the numbered peaks to the rice paddies far below. At the top of a gully extending down from the saddle between Hills 109 and 117 was a fault caused by erosion of the red clay and shale. Gaping like an ugly wound, the raw blemish inspired one of the ridge’s first names — “Red Slash Hill.” It was also dubbed “No Name Ridge” by some of the newspaper correspondents.

 

Marine air and artillery were to pound the ridge on 17 August from 0725 to H-hour, 0800, after which MAG–33 would strafe the hill to cover the advancing infantrymen.[25]

[note]

 

Evacuation of the ROK 3rd Division by LST began the night of 16 August at Toksong-ni.

[note]

 

biography

A shortage of trucks meant the Marines had to shuttle to the battle area battalion by battalion throughout the evening of the sixteenth and during the following morning.

[note]


 

1900 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
07/31/50
4:00 AM
07/31/50
5:00 AM
07/31/50
10:00 AM
07/31/50
7:00 PM

 

Book Image

At 1900, 16 August, Lieutenant Colonel Taplett’s 3rd Battalion entrucked at Miryang and rode to the 5th Marines CP about 3,000 yards behind the front. Dismounting, 3/5 marched to Cloverleaf Hill and relieved the 34th Infantry on position.

[Tongjong-ni on this map]

[note]

 

The 3rd Battalion departed Miryang at 1900 and made the two-hour trip to Yŏngsan-ni,. Taplett's men were then followed in turn by the 2nd and 1st Battalions,

[note]

1922 Sunset

0547 1922

 

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

 

During the night, G Company succeeded in escaping from Hill 303. [19-38]

[note]

 

 

 

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

  

USN_Units

Admiral Hartman had prepared an evacuation plan which contemplated removing the Korean troops on rafts towed by whaleboats and transferring them to naval vessels offshore; fortunately such heroic measures proved unnecessary. At Pusan Commander Luosey had managed to rustle up four more LSTs, one manned by Koreans and three by Japanese. These reached the evacuation area on the evening of the 16th, and were met and led in by the destroyer USS Wiltsie (DD-716), to beach with the aid of jeep headlights ashore.

Throughout the night, as embarkation proceeded, the support ships maintained a planned schedule of harassing fire, and beginning at 0415 the LSTs cleared the beach. By breakfast time all 5,800 ROKs, the members of the KMAG liaison group, and 1,200 civilian refugees had been evacuated, along with some 100 vehicles.

[note]

 


Casualties

Wednesday August 16, 1950 (Day 53)

96 Casualties
2 16TH ARMORED RECONNAISSANCE
COMPANY
4 19TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
3 21ST INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 23RD INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 24TH SIGNAL COMPANY - DIVISION
52 5TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
1 5TH MARINE REGIMENT
1 5TH REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
1 61ST FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
6 70TH TANK BATTALION
1 725TH ORDNANCE MAINTENANCE COMPANY
1 72ND ENGINEER COMBAT COMPANY
1 7TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
1 8TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
1 8TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
19 9TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
   
96 19500816 0000 Casualties by unit

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 71 3941 63 10 4085
Today   95 1   96
Total  71 4036 64 10 4181

Aircraft Losses Today 001

 

19500816 0000 loss 001

 

 

 

Notes for Tuesday August 15, 1950 (Day 53)

 

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