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 18, 1950 (Friday)

 

[note]

Citations

18Aug50   

Distinguished Service Cross

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19500818 0000 DSC MITCHELL

19500818 0000 DSC TWEDT

 

18Aug50

Silver Star

Bailey, Charles T. [2ndLt SS B19thIR]

Griffin, Frank L. [2ndLt SS A29thIR]

Hodge, Paul A. [TSgt SS A5thMR]

Horn, Eugene [TSgt SS B5thMR]

Muetzel, Francis W. [2ndLt SS PltLdr A5thMR]

Mullen, Terry [Cpl SS1 MedCo19thIR]

Murch, Gordon E. [Maj SS 2ndBn27thIR]

Schaedel, Richard T. [Cpl SS 1stMD]

Scribner, Charles L. [HM-3 SS Corpsman 1stBn1stMR]

Sporrer, Otto E. [LtCmdr SS Chaplain 1stBn 11thMR]

White, Quitman [1stLt SS L34thIR]

Williams, John O., Jr. [2ndLt SS 1stMD]

Kelly, Walter J. [SFC SS A29thIR]

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50

In savage fighting, ROK 3rd and 8th Divisions stopped three N.K. divisions, N.K.-8, N.K.-12 and N.K.-5. in their assault down the eastern Kyŏngju Corridor to Pusan.

[note]

 

August 18 to 22 - The battle of "the Bowling Alley" north of Tabu-dong. U.S. forces hold back North Korean offensive.

[note]

 

U.S. warships fire on military targets between Hamhŭng and Changjin on North Korea's east coast.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50

 

The 1st Cavalry Division recaptures a hill (303) and finds the bodies of 36 Americans who had been bound and shot.

-- The ROK 3rd, 8th and Capital Divisions retake P'ohang from the communists' 5th and 12th Divisions.

The 3rd Division returns after having to be evacuated from the east coast port city Aug. 16 by the U.S. Navy. They had come ashore eight miles south of the city and then rejoined their countrymen for the assault. Over the next eight days, with the help of U.S. forces and other ROK units, they recapture another town and drive the NKPA five miles farther north. In the process the South Koreans wipe out the NKPA 12th Division.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

 

The North Korean Peoples Army attacks in force where U.S.-South Korean lines join at the Taegu perimeter. The ROK First Division and the U.S. Army 27th Regiment repel the assault.

On Aug. 18 refugees return to the city, even though fighting continues around it. A city of 300,000 people before the war, refugees raise Taegu's population to more than 800,000.

[note]

American Caesar

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

It was an excellent opportunity to remain silent. U.S. policy in his theater was changing so swiftly that even those close to the oval office had trouble keeping up with it, and a General halfway around the globe, anxious to see in it what he wanted to see, had no business interpreting it for veterans or anybody else. But MacArthur plunged ahead.

He wrote Lewis that

"in view of misconceptions being voiced concerning the relationship of Formosa to our strategic potential in the Pacific,"

he deemed it wise to set forth his own opinions on it.

"Nothing,"

he said,

"could be more fallacious than the threadbare argument"

that

"if we defend Formosa we alienate continental Asia."

Those who spoke thus

 "do not understand the Orient. They do not grasp that it is in the pattern of Oriental psychology to respect and follow aggressive, resolute, and dynamic leadership--to turn quickly from a leadership characterized by, timidity or vacillation and they underestimate the Oriental mentality. Nothing in the last five years has so inspired the Far East as the American determination to preserve the bulwarks of our Pacific Ocean strategic position."

Chief among these was Formosa, which he described as an

 "unsinkable carrier-tender."

He said:

"The geographic location of Formosa is such that in the hands of a power unfriendly to the United States it constitutes an enemy salient in the very center"

of America's strategic dispositions in the Pacific, and he noted that "historically, Formosa has been a springboard" for aggressive powers,

 "the most recent example"

 of this being

"the utilization of it by the Japanese in World War II,"

when, at the outbreak of hostilities,

"it played an important part as the staging area and supporting base for the various Japanese invasion convoys."

It was essential, he continued, to counter

"the lustful thrusts of those who stand for slavery as against liberty, for atheism against God."

He concluded that the President's decision to stand fast against North Korean aggression had

"lighted into flame a lamp of hope throughout Asia that was burning dimly towards extinction. It marked for the Far East the focal and turning point in this area's struggle for freedom. It swept aside in one stroke all the hypocrisy and the sophistry which has confused and deluded so many people distant from the actual scene." [54]

According to Whitney-and no one ever contradicted him-a duplicate of his remarkable epistle was sent to the Department of the Army on August 18, ten days before it was to be read to the VFW delegates. There it languished, filed or unread, until advance copies were distributed, as a routine courtesy, to correspondents covering SCAP.

18Aug50

The first high official in Washington to learn of it was the man who, in the opinion of the GOP, was the government's chief hypocrite and sophist. An Associated Press man called Dean Acheson on the evening of Friday, August 25, and read it to him over the telephone. The secretary consulted his colleagues, all of whom, he writes,

"were outraged at the effrontery and damaging effect at home and abroad of MacArthur's message"

and

"agreed that this insubordination could not be tolerated."

18Aug50

By then the White House press room had brought a copy of the statement to the oval office. Truman interpreted it as a call

"for a military policy of aggression,. based on Formosa's position. The whole tenor of the message was critical of. the very policy which he had so recently told Harriman he would support. There was no doubt in my mind that the world would read it that way and that it must have been intended that way." [55]

 The veterans' convention was still three days away, but it was too late to suppress the General's message. Life, which was running it as its editorial that week, was already on the presses; U.S. News and World Report, carrying the full text, was in the mails. In England, the Observer, the Manchester Guardian, and The Times of London were preparing to condemn it. As Wayne Morse later pointed out, its impact could not have been greater had it already been delivered in person. And the timing, from the President's point of view, could hardly have been worse. He had just proposed that the UN investigate the Formosa situation in the hope of reducing the areas of conflict in the Far East. He felt that

"General MacArthur's message--which the world might mistake as an expression of American, policy-contradicted this."

Nor was that all of it. The day before, Secretary of the Navy Francis Matthews had delivered a speech in Boston openly advocating a "preventive war" with Russia, and Louis Johnson had confided to reporters that he agreed. It looked as though Truman might be losing control of his administration.[56]

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

 

But the meeting also found that the preparation work for entering the Korean War was "too onerous and urgent to be completed in August." Viewing this difficulty, Mao issued another instruction to the NEBDA on 18 August, ordering them to "step up and make sure to fulfill every preparatory work by 30 September."[78] In the meantime, logistical preparations and political mobilization for entering war operations were carried out urgently under the assumption that China would soon become a participant of the Korean War.[79] It might be premature, even with all this evidence, to conclude that Mao and the CCP leadership had made up their mind in mid August to send Chinese forces to Korea. It is fair to say, however, that even before the American landing at Inch'ŏn, CCP leaders were inclined to enter the war.[80]

Until the Inch'ŏn landing, however, China did not take the decisive step to enter the war. This is simply because to prepare to enter the war and to enter the war were not the same thing. In retrospect, Mao's final decision to send troops to Korea was constrained by many complicated factors.

First of all, as mentioned before, the Northeast Border Army was unable to complete preparations for entering the war before the Inch'ŏn landing, although they had been continuously pushed by Mao.

Secondly, Kim Il-sung, as a Korean nationalist, hoped to fight the war with his own forces. He seemed unwilling to request Chinese help as long as he believed the situation was under control, and without Kim's invitation, the CCP preferred to wait.[81]

Third, and more relevant to the discussion of this paper, Stalin's cautious attitude formed another restrictive factor for Mao. Several Chinese sources point out that Stalin, who had underestimated America's intention and capacity to intervene in Korea, became more cautious after the outbreak of the Korean War and did not want to involve the Soviet Union into any complexity which might result in a showdown with the United States.[82]

Although no Chinese sources available now have released any concrete discussions between top leaders of Beijing and Moscow for the period from late June to late September 1950, it is not implausible to believe that the CCP leadership would have maintained close contacts with the Soviets.[83] And Mao had no reason not to take Stalin's cautious attitude seriously.

[note]

 

Two SA-16s and two SB-17s were used this date for orbit missions. Total time flown on these missions was 28:55.

18Aug50

 

Three false alerts were recorded at Flight "D" this date.

18Aug50

 

Replacement crews and aircraft #3764 departed Flight "C" for Kyushu. Average time for crews on TDY is ten days. Replacement crew transported two evacuation patients to Haneda Air Base on their way to the southern part of the island.

[note]

 

Forgotten Regiments

 

 18Aug50  

The 34th made its last attack on the 18th, during which Company C was reduced to 37 men and Company A to 61. Company L lost more than 20 men in a few minutes to a counterattack.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

On August 18, elements of the NKPA 6th Division attacked the 2/24th on Battle Mountain, (Hill 665) overrunning Company E, and on the 19th they attacked the 1/24th, driving Company C from its position. Company A held on. According to Lt. Col. Roy Appleman, author of the Army's official history, the attack on the 18th tore a hole "nearly a mile wide in the line north of P'ilbong, (Hill 743)" which the enemy could exploit.

[note]

 

   18Aug50   18Aug50

UN Command service personnel established the Korean Relief center in Pusan to aid refugees.

[note]

South then North

 

   18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50

 

Eighth Army ordered the 37th Field Artillery Battalion, less A Battery, to move from the Kyŏngju-P'ohang-dong area, where a heavy battle had been in progress for days, for attachment to the 27th Infantry Regiment in order to reinforce the fires of the 8th Field Artillery Battalion above Taegu. It arrived there the next day.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

18Aug50

Tabu-dong eastward to the Yŏngch'ŏn

Andong Region .pdf

On 18 August the 13th Division was concentrated mostly west of the road just north of Tabu-dong. [19-60]

To the west of the 13th, the N.K. 15th Division also was now deployed on Yuhak-san. It, too, had begun battling the ROK 1st Division, but thus far only in minor engagements. At this critical point, the North Korean High Command ordered the 15th Division to move from its position northwest of Tabu-dong eastward to the Yŏngch'ŏn front, where the N.K. 8th Division had failed to advance toward the Taegu lateral corridor.

[note]

 

   18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50

This was the enemy situation, with the 13th Division astride the Sangju-Taegu road just above Tabu-dong and only thirteen miles from Taegu, when Eighth Army on 18 August ordered the 27th Infantry Regiment to attack north along the road. At the same time, two regiments of the ROK 1st Division were to attack along high ground on either side of the road. The plan called for a limited objective attack to restore the ROK 1st Division lines in the vicinity of Sŏkchŏk, a village four miles north of Tabu-dong. The line of departure was just north of Tabu-dong. Pershing M26 tanks of C Company, 73rd Tank Battalion, and two batteries of the 37th Field Artillery Battalion were to support the 27th Infantry. [19-62]

[note]

 

  18Aug50

In the pre-dawn hours of 17 August an enemy attack got under way against the 35th Infantry. North Korean artillery fire began falling on the 1st Battalion command post in Kŏmam-ni at 0300, and an hour later enemy infantry attacked A Company, forcing two of its platoons from their positions, and overrunning a mortar position. After daylight, a counterattack by B Company regained the lost ground. This was the beginning of a 5-day battle by Colonel Teeter's 1st Battalion along the southern spurs of Sibidang, two miles west of Kŏmam-ni. The North Koreans endeavored there to turn the left flank of the 35th Regiment and split the 25th Division line.

On the morning of 18 August, A Company again lost its position to enemy attack and again regained it by counterattack. Two companies of South Korean police arrived to reinforce the battalion right flank.

[note]

 

   18Aug50

The first attack against the mountain line of the 24th Infantry came on the morning of 18 August, when the enemy partly overran E Company on the northern spur of Battle Mountain and killed the company commander. During the day, Lt. Col. Paul F. Roberts succeeded Lt. Col. George R. Cole in command of the 2nd Battalion there.[someone get sacked?]

[note]

 

      18Aug50   18Aug50

Walker on 18 August requested authority to activate and equip five new ROK divisions at the rate of one a month beginning in September. The divisions were to have a strength of 10,500 men. General MacArthur denied General Walker this authority because of other needs for the available equipment, but he did concur in the recommendation to activate new divisions and service units and so reported to the Department of the Army.

[note]

 

U.S. Air Force

 

18Aug50

18 AUGUST

1950

Comments on B-29 mission of 16 August were as follows:

[underlined in original] From Partridge: The value of the effort, in my opinion is that

(1) Walker and other Army personnel had an opportunity to learn pattern and inflexibility of arrangements, expectancies as to overs and shorts in an area in which a squadron can normally land;

(2) FEAF bombers gained experience in improving next strike of a similar mission;

(3) the machinery essential for coordination received a vigorous work-out.

 

From Walker to CINCFE:

Observations from light aircraft after the attack revealed excellent pat- tern, rail and road lines between Kŭmch'ŏn and Waegwan were cut; U. S. and ROK ground forces in the area report partial withdrawal of enemy across Naktong River to west after the attack. Friendly units in the Waegwan area which had been receiving heavy artillery fire prior to the attack report none in the area since the attack. I (Walker) am of the opinion that these strikes are of definite psychological advantage, but they would be of more value were they followed up immediately by ground assault into and through the bombed areas.

From O'Donnell:

In answer to your request for my evaluation of the 16 August effort. I was in area about 2 1/2 hours and observed no activity other that our own flak. No planes. Dispersion of squadron drops entirely too large for concentration bombing. I therefore seriously doubt that any real damage other that psychological resulted. Of course, there is always the chance that some enemy concentrations may have been squarely hit. Good rule of thumb for this type effort is 300 tons per square mile. With force at my disposal an area of 3 square miles may be covered adequately. Advise against this type of mission except when small target is available and situation deemed to be truly critical. It is of course extremely costly in bombs. We are approaching bottom of barrel in 500ers [500-lb. bombs] at Yokota.

Received a call from Partridge at 0945 hours in which he stated that they were OK and did not intend to move and that they would stay put. He further reported that KMAG gave the Air Force light fighter-bombers credit yesterday for stopping the drive from the northwest and by so doing this permitted the South Koreans to counter-attack late yesterday afternoon. He reported that all the engineering equipment would leave today and per my instructions to him over the telephone said that all of the engineer effort would be put on the new troop strip at K-9 in Pusan.

 

Following copy of ltr received this date from Partridge, written to

Walker on the 15th of Aug:

Thanks for the use of the pamphlet on the "Conduct of Air-Ground Operations,"¯ returned herewith. I had not seen this document previously, but find it in accord with FM 31-35, "Air Ground Operations,"¯ dated Aug 46, and I am in complete agreement not only with the concepts but also with the details of procedure outlined. As far as I can determine, we have been following the doctrine set forth in these documents except in the matter of the name "J.O.C."¯ The sign on the door has been changed to conform in this respect as well. In passing, I should like to explain that the title "Air Operations Center"¯ was selected because it was felt during pre-war exercises that some people thought the Air Force was trying to set up a true joint staff agency of army, navy, and air elements to run all [emphasis in original] operations. It was believed, incorrectly as it developed later, that the introduction of the word 'Air' into the title would eliminate any intimation that the center was intended to run anything other than air operations in close support of your ground units. I regret that this change of nomenclature increased rather than eliminated the confusion. Additional copies of "Conduct of Air-Ground Operations"¯ are being mimeo-graphed and will be distributed to my people as soon as possible. Extra copies above Fifth Air Force needs can be printed for your use in any number you may designate. Please have someone tell Colonel Howe the number you require.

s/ E. E. Partridge.

In ink, on bottom of letter in Pat's handwriting: "General Strat - for your information. P."¯

In reply to above letter to Partridge stated:

Thanks for the copy of your letter to Johnny Walker dated 15 Aug in which you refer to the pamphlet he lent you on "Conduct of Air-Ground Operations."¯ This letter will be helpful to Weyland in any discussion he has with Far East Command staff and/or any paper that he prepares on the subject to CINCFE. At your convenience, I would appreciate receiving a copy of the pamphlet when you have a spare one mimeographed. Thanks so much for your call early this morning; it was most re-assuring because of your splendid air effort in support of the South Koreans. Earle, leave no stone unturned to get K-9 operational as well as concurrently K-1 as a jet field. You are doing a splendid job and I know of no one in the Air Force who could fill your shoes. My commendations and congratulations. With best personal regards, etc.

Copies of above furnished both Weyland and Craigie.

1115 hours saw the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, his Excellency Mr. Wellington Koo with General Ho in my office.

1130 hours had a session with Mr. John [sic] Alsop (of the team of John and Stewart Alsop) [205] and later took Mr. Alsop, Colonel Nuckols and General Craigie to lunch at the Union Club.

Prior to going to the Union Club and while at the Union Club, Alsop asked me many questions about the Korean show. One question being - "when do you think the Korean affair will be over?"¯ My answer to him was that "I thought we'd be in North Korea by Christmas."¯ This rather astounded him and I told him I based my answer on the fact that in my opinion the forces in front of our forces will fold up because of lack of supplies, tanks, other armor, munitions, gasoline and oil, that they were being punished so much from the air, and with our interdiction program, it was my opinion they could not last. He said he couldn't agree with me and then I said you don't know all the facts and that there is something being planned that I can not tell you about. (When I said that I meant the amphibious landing that MacArthur expects to make towards the end of next month or early October and I reiterated that in my opinion if we held any beachhead in South Korea the United Nations forces will be in North Korea by Christmas.)

There was also quite a discussion on the jet fighter versus the F-47 or an air-plane especially designed for close support.[206] I pointed out that we wanted to get out of the reciprocal engine business and that any close support airplane should be a jet; certainly we can design our jets, with a little more experience, to be used on short runways and with lower fuel consumption and then we will have a support airplane that can defend itself. We have a jet almost comparable to the F-47 in the F-84 series; where in the last war we had the F-51 as a high altitude fighter and the F-47 as a ground support weapon as well as a high altitude fighter, today we have the F-80 that can do both jobs, as well as the F-84 which is just about as rugged as the F-47 as a ground support airplane and can also do high altitude fighting. I told him (Alsop) it was just a question of money. Of course, if funds were unlimited, it might be well to have a specially designed close-support weapon, but that if we did, we would have to furnish it with an air umbrella for its protection if we are fighting a major enemy that was equipped with jets. He would not agree with General Craigie and me, but our points were well taken and I believe that after he sleeps on it, he might come to our way of thinking. Mr. John [sic] Alsop is a very smart man.

 

205. Joseph W. Alsop, Jr., and Stewart J. O. Alsop were well-known columnists, together writing the “Matter of Fact” column carried in many newspapers. Joseph Alsop served on Chennault’s staff in World War II, while Stewart had been in the OSS. Joseph Alsop had been a vocal and active member of the so-called “China Lobby” for some time.

206. During the last part of World War II, the P–47 had become one of the best ground attack aircraft in the USAAF inventory. Though the P–47 was capable of delivering and receiving tremendous punishment, after the war it was decided that the Mustang would be the primary piston-engined fighter in the Air Force, and the Thunderbolt was rapidly taken out of service. At the outbreak of the Korean War, there were 1,167 F–47s (the new designation for the plane) on hand. Only 265 of these were active (with National Guard units) and all were considered second-line aircraft. (USAF Statistical Digest, 1949-1950.) Being less susceptible to ground fire because of its radial engine and heavy construction, the F–47 would have made a better ground attack aircraft in Korea than the F–51.

[note]

 

18Aug50

The evacuation of casualties from Korea was a joint function of FEAF's air transport services, which brought the patients to Japan, and of MATS, which in September 1949 had been charged with all transoceanic air evacuation. Although there had been evacuation of sick and wounded by air during World War II , it had never been more than supplemental to hospital ships overseas and hospital trains in the United States. There were many advantages to air evacuation:

(1) the wounded arrived in the United States in much better condition;
(2) patients were moved to centrally located specialists with such speed that the medical personnel shortage and crowded installations were relieved;
(3) field commanders were relieved of the responsibility for protecting a backlog of patients awaiting surface transportation, a burden which sometimes threatened support of combat troops;
(4) patients flown to hospitals near their homes thus received a morale boost without parallel; and
(5) air evacuation could economically utilize the space on cargo planes which had previously been returning empty after delivering supplies to the combat areas.

Properly coordinated air evacuation was thus not only beneficial to the patients and the commanders but the most economical method of doing the job.

Medical evacuation at the beginning of the Korean War was based on ground and sea transport. Upon his arrival in August 1950, Brigadier General Tunner [commander of the Military Air transport Service, MATS] directed his staff to study the possibility of aero-medical evacuation as a standard procedure for transporting wounded and sick troops.

[Reconcile the above with the following]

18Aug50

Under the management of the Fifth Air Force, the 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron, using mostly 374th Wing transports, flew 1,159 patients from Korea to Japan between the beginning of hostilities and 18 August. Yet when the Combat Cargo Command assumed direction of FEAF transport activity, it judged that air evacuation from Korea had "a rather spotty history." For one thing the air capability was not being fully utilized. At Taegu the airfield was eight miles from town by a very poor road, and the Eighth Army, with a shortage of ambulances, preferred to place its patients on the train at Taegu and move them to Pusan, where they overtaxed the limited hospital space while awaiting surface transportation. Some of the patients were taken to Pusan's east airfield (K-9) for air transport, but they often had to be held there for excessive lengths of time. A trip by Col. Clyde L. Brothers (FEAF Surgeon), Lt. Col. F. C. Kelley (Fifth Air Force Surgeon), and Major George Hewitt (Cargo Command's Assistant Director of traffic) soon brought about more orderly procedures. They planned to establish a steady flow of 450 evacuees daily out. of Korea, as follows:

In order to care for the more serious cases a special C-54 lift was provided directly from Pusan to Tokyo. Same patients were also flown to Itazuke from Taegu and P'ohang.

18Aug50

 

To care for these patients the 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron was attached to Cargo Command for temporary duty, permitting it to assign 6 flight nurses and 6 medical technicians to the Korea runs, and 12 of each to the Tokyo flights. Although the number of patients on each run was practically equal, the flight to Tokyo was three times as long as that from Pusan. The squadron's remaining seven nurses and seven technicians were used on emergency assignments pending the institution of evacuation flights to Inch'ŏn-Kimp'o. A further decision was to avoid committing any special transport crews to air evacuation, but to brief all crews on the standard procedures. For the trip out of Pusan C-46 's and C-47 's were to be used, from Inch'ŏn C-54 's; C-119 's were not to be used for such work because their greater capacity was needed for cargo. The Combat Cargo Command, in short retrospect, believed it would have been best to designate and equip certain aircraft for daily air evacuation missions since aircraft repeatedly reported for patients with inadequate litter and heating facilities. By "equip" was meant to obtain a clean, heated aircraft, with litter and emergency equipment.

[note]

 

18Aug50

On 18 August Bomber Command dutifully dropped leaflets on 11 North Korean cities warning citizens that the bombers were coming and directing them to seek safer locations.

[note]

 

18Aug50

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]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

Destruction of their aircraft in the air and on the ground, with some inevitable operational attrition, reduced the North Korean air units nearly to impotence during the first month of hostilities. By 10 August U. N. pilots claimed 110 enemy planes destroyed, leaving perhaps 35 planes of the original North Korean Air Force. GHQ estimated on 18 August that the North Koreans still possessed 67 aircraft; General Partridge's aerial reconnaissance of their airdromes revealed far less; and FEAF, attributing the different estimates of enemy strength to a prevalent use of dummy airplanes, estimated that the enemy might have no more than 18 operational aircraft. Except for a few successful sneak attacks against U. N. naval vessels at the time of the Inch'ŏn landings, the North Korean Air Force was to be of no additional concern to the war effort in Korea.

The first task of tactical air employment in Korea -- establishment of air superiority -- had been accomplished without difficulty, and without any great commitment of U. N. air effort. Yet the very ease with which air superiority had been gained was the first of many unrealities of the Korean war, unrealities which must be kept constantly in view in any attempt to evaluate the Korean experience. In any war with a major power the aerial superiority obtained in Korea, virtually by default of the North Korean Air Force, would be dearly purchased in terms of pilots, planes, and air effort.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

In the years of reduced military budgets prior to 1950, the USAF Tactical Air Command had become an operational headquarters under the USAF Continental Air Command in December 1948. Even though it realized that tactical air units required global mobility, the Continental Air Command had had no funds to stand the costs of such a program.

 Alerted at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, on 5 July, the 162nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photography) was hurriedly filled to near peacetime strength (a part of the fillers were jet mechanics with little experience on the squadron's conventional RB-26's). Its ground echelon, traveling by water, reached Itazuke on 19 August. Mean-while, the aircrews had moved to Ogden, Utah, for depot installation of a new-type flash cartridge illumination system on their RB-26's. Then the flash equipment was pronounced too heavy for the old B-26's on the long, over-water flight to Japan, and it was removed to be crated for air shipment. But someone diverted the flash equipment to water shipment, so that it was not until 26 August, fifty-three days after the alert at Langley, that the 162nd Squadron was finally ready and equipped for its first mission over Korea. traveling with the air echelon of the 162nd Squadron, the 1st Sharon Beacon Unit arrived at Johnson Air Base on 9 August. Conveyed by air and water, the 363rd Reconnaissance Technical Squadron assembled both of its echelons at Itazuke Air Base on 18 August.#129

Considering their lack of mobility training and the mistakes that had been made, these Tactical Air Command units reached Japan in an acceptable length of time. (fifty-three days is ok, the war TODAY is 55 days old)

[note]

 

18Aug50

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]

 

   18Aug50

In his final report on the Waegwan carpet-bombing episode General Stratemeyer recommended that future area bombing by medium bombers should be under-taken only under two conditions:

as a desperation measure against identified and definite concentrations of hostile troops who were preparing to assault friendly forces, or

against a limited area through which friendly troops would effect a penetration into enemy territory.#110

[note]

 

 

 

19500818 0000 14004usafik0

19500718 0000 usaf0

 

U.S. Marine Corps

18Aug50


Reserve districts had, meanwhile, been informed on 18August that the Marine Corps was in need of approximately 2,650 company grade officers with combat specialties and that certain staff noncommissioned officers would shortly be ordered to active duty by name or Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) number.

[note]

 

18Aug50

Meanwhile, Marine Corps plans for the utilization of male Marine Volunteer Reserve officers had proceeded to a point where, on 18 August, instructions and information for calling this previously untapped source of personnel to active duty were issued to reserve district directors.

In the new instructions, reserve district directors we redirected to delay reserve officers for a period of 15 days. If, however, in the opinion of the district director the circumstances of individual officers warranted further delay, the district director was authorized to grant an additional delay of up to 15 days. In all cases, where more than the additional 15 days delay was requested, the delay criteria set forth in the administrative instructions of 15 August were to be applied. To assist in determining whether or not the delay request met these criteria, the directors were instructed to utilize the services of the newly created reserve district review boards. In addition, district directors were empowered to disapprove without reference to the Commandant those. requests that failed to meet the criteria. In cases where delay requests did meet the established criteria, the directors were further instructed to modify the orders of the officers concerned to delay assignment to active duty pending decision by the Commandant. Finally, requests meeting the criteria were to be forwarded to the Commandant with the appropriate recommendations and all supporting documents.

At Marine Corps Headquarters, meanwhile, the Commandant replaced the Board to Consider Requests for Delay in Assignment to Active Duty with the Board to Consider Appeals for Delay in Assignment to Active Duty. The primary function delegated to this new board was to review appeals by enlisted Volunteer Reservists whose delay requests had been denied by district directors. In addition, the board was empowered to consider all original requests for delay from Volunteer Reserve officers and Organized Reserve personnel, officer and enlisted, ground and aviation.

With the taking of this measure, the basic procedures and policies governing delay in reporting for extended active duty were complete. Reaching the end did not, however, preclude a continuing examination and re-evaluation of delay policy by the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps.

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50   18Aug50

Marine air units were also affected, of course, by the planning which the 1st Marine Division air and naval gunfire representatives of the Fire Support Coordination Center had already accomplished. Working aboard the USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7) in conjunction with their opposite numbers of PhibGru One, the FSCC group had been busy since its arrival in Japan on 18 August.  Planning was conducted with the CO 11th Marines after the artillery regiment landed in Japan, and the resulting decisions coordinated with air and naval gunfire plans.

[note]

 

U.S. Navy

18Aug50

ROK Marines under cover of Korean Navy guns landed and captured city of Tangyong. T'ongyŏng-si

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

 

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 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.

The USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) fueled again on 18 August

[note]

 

18Aug50   18Aug50

On the next day, prior to giving similar treatment to the west coast, Task Force 77  fuelled from USS Passumpsic (AO-107) and USS Cacapon (AO-52), and rearmed from USS Mount Katmai (AE-16), the first ammunition ship to reach the Far East.

[note]

 

18Aug50 Map 9. Support of the Perimeter, 14–24 August 1950

 

Perimeter support

[note]

 

 

While "Chromite" was still in preparation the return to the north had begun. Although heavily engaged along the coast and busy with refugee evacuation, the ROK Navy had been able to mount offensive operations. Commander Luosey, who as CTG 96.7 operated this inshore fleet, was not privy to the Inchon planning, but the basic strategic situation was as clear to those in Pusan as it was to those in Tokyo, and the increasing probability that the perimeter would be held emphasized the value of deep flanking positions, whether for raids, landings, or the infiltration of agents.

On 15 August, therefore, CTG 96.7 advised ComNavFE of his intention, if not otherwise directed, of seizing the Tŏkchŏk Islands in the Ich'ŏn approaches as a base for intelligence activities and future operations.
No countermanding instructions were received, help was promised by the west coast Commonwealth units, and on the 17th Operation Lee, named for the commanding officer of PC-702, was begun. With two YMS in company Lee put a Tioman force ashore on Tŏkchŏk To;

on the next day (18thHMCS Athabaskan (R79) turned up to support the effort and the island was secured.

 

[note]

 

 

 

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        18Aug50

At 0230 on 18 August, the Marines of Company A heard enemy movement on Hill 117. Suddenly there was a hail of bullets from Communist machineguns on the peak, and hand grenades began to roll down into the Marine positions. A North Korean platoon made a few bounds from the high ground and landed almost literally on top of Stevens’ depleted 2nd Platoon.

Simultaneously, Company B’s position on Hill 109 was struck hard by two platoons advancing up the draw to the west. Heedless of illuminating shells fired by 1/5’s 81-mm. mortars, the enemy assaulted methodically by alternately throwing small groups of grenadiers and sub-machine-gunners against Marine positions. The NKPA infantrymen were covered by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire pouring down from Hill 117.

An enemy squad emerged from the gully west of the saddle between peaks 102 and 109, attempting to divert strength from Fenton’s main defensive effort to the south. Failing in this effort, the group fell back to fire harassing shots.

Company A’s 2nd Platoon slugged it out with three times its own numbers for a full half hour. This stand was due largely to the courage and leadership of Lawson, who stuck to his guns and refused evacuation, though wounded three times.

[note]

 

        18Aug50

At 0230, 18 August, a green flare signaled the expected enemy attack. Coming from Hill 117, the North Koreans struck A Company and isolated one platoon. Their attack formation then drove on and penetrated into B Company.

The glare from bursting 81-mm. mortar illuminating shells revealed the North Korean method of attack. An enemy squad would rise from the ground, hurl grenades, and rush forward a short distance firing to front and flank with automatic weapons, and then drop to the ground. Successive enemy groups would repeat the process.

The attack forced A Company from its positions and back into the saddle south of Hill 109. In its sector, however, B Company drove the enemy from its perimeter in forty-five minutes of hard fighting. Before daylight the North Korean attack ceased.

The total North Korean losses in this night battle was not known, although 183' enemy dead were counted later around the A and B Company perimeters.

The Marine losses were heavy. Digging in that evening with 190 men and 5 officers, B Company the next morning at daylight had 110 effectives; A Company, starting the night with 185 men, had only 90 men at daylight who could take their place in the line. [17-76] 

(A, B, H, D Companies 32 KIA)

[note]

 

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        18Aug50

About 0300, with Marines on the right devoting more attention to the heavier attack against Hill 109, the exhausted survivors of the 2nd Platoon were overrun and the Brigade line penetrated.

For some unknown reason, enemy troops did not pour down the eastern slopes after the breakthrough.

Only one squad drove through, and it split Company A in half by invading Stevens’ CP, directly behind the 2nd Platoon’s lines. The company commander and his headquarters were slowly forced down the draw by the methodical grenade and sub-machinegun fire from above.

The remainder of the North Korean platoon which had hit Company A remained on the crest for a joint effort with the larger force striking Hill 109. Stevens’ 1st Platoon, with its left flank now exposed on the saddle, gradually fell back and curled around the southern face of 109. Although B Company’s left front held firm against the two-platoon assault, a few Reds slipped by the Marine foxholes and charged into Fenton’s CP on Hill 109. Rocket gunners, mortarmen and clerks responded to the challenge and quickly eliminated the attackers. When Fenton became aware that the saddle south of Hill 109 had been taken, he tightened his left flank by drawing it in to his 3rd Platoon’s reverse slope positions. This portion of his defense now took the shape of a football, and successfully withstood pressure from the south.

[note]

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        18Aug50

August 18, 1950

By 0400 Stevens had temporarily lost control of Company A, although the situation looked worse than it actually was. While the company commander stabilized his center near the bottom of the draw, his executive officer, First Lieutenant Fred F. Eubanks, Jr., made single-handed forays up the gully. He was eventually aided in his private war by the company’s machinegun officer, Second Lieutenant Francis W. Muetzel. After the breakthrough, the latter had been wounded and left for dead in his foxhole behind the 2nd Platoon. Upon regaining consciousness, he made his way down the draw, fighting it out with enemy soldiers until he reached the Marine lines. Company A’s 3rd Platoon along the spur below Hill 117 enjoyed a seemingly illogical immunity during the counterattack. Although isolated after the penetration and deployed ideally from the enemy’s point of view, Fox’s men had only occasional brushes with Red infantrymen who displayed a remarkable lack of interest. After the platoon leader learned of the situation on his right, he redeployed into an elongated perimeter which included a few survivors of the 2nd Platoon.

18Aug50

       18Aug50

Lieutenant Colonel Newton, when notified of Company A’s withdrawal on the left front, called down such a tremendous volume of artillery fire on enemy approaches that 1/11 asked him to conserve a few shells for the Brigade attack scheduled for 0700. The battalion commander replied that the Brigade would be fighting to retake Objective One at 0700 if his beleaguered companies did not get maximum supporting fire. While the artillerymen continued to pound Obong-ni Ridge, Newton’s 81-mm. mortars, strengthened by 2/5’s entire stock of ammunition, added to the hot metal thrown at the enemy. It can only be conjectured why the NKPA thrust against the Brigade lines never developed above the company level, but Newton’s generosity with high explosives probably did not encourage Communist aspirations.

[note]

 

18Aug50  18Aug50

17, 18, 19, 20, 21

and an hour later enemy infantry attacked A Company, forcing two of its platoons from their positions, and overrunning a mortar position. After daylight, a counterattack by B Company regained the lost ground. This was the beginning of a 5-day battle by Colonel Teeter's 1st Battalion along the southern spurs of Sibidang, two miles west of Kŏmam-ni. The North Koreans endeavored there to turn the left flank of the 35th Infantry and split the 25th Division line.

[note]

 

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0548 Sunrise

[note]

 

0550 Korean Time

 

102, 109, 117, 143, 147, 153

        18Aug50

By dawn of 18 August, the North Korean attackers had spent their strength, leaving B Company in undisputed control of Hills 102 and 109. As if in frustration, enemy machineguns on 117 spat angrily at the Marines while the few surviving Red infantrymen withdrew to their lines.

[note]

 

        18Aug50 

Shortly after dawn, Taplett and his two company commanders, Fegan and Bohn, visually reconnoitered Hill 207—Objective Two—from vantage points north and south of the MSR. Then, while the battalion commander set up his OP on the northern part of Obong-ni Ridge, Companies G and H advanced to an assembly area at the base of the Ridge.[14]

18Aug50

Click here to view map

Taplett called down heavy artillery, air, and mortar preparations on Objective Two. Occasionally he shifted fires to blast large groups of enemy fleeing to Hill 207 from Company A’s advance on Obong-ni Ridge.

[note]

 

 

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18Aug501st Battalion 5th Marines

Stevens prepared at first light to complete the unfinished business of the previous day. Thanks to the heroism of his wounded gunnery sergeant, Technical Sergeant Paul A. Hodge, the company commander had regained contact with Fox before dawn and was able to prepare for an attack.

[note]

 

and with morning the advance was resumed. Held up by a heavy machine gun nest less than 100 yards ahead, the Marines called for help from the air. Under ground control a dummy run, a target marking run, and a strike were completed within nine minutes, and a 500-pound bomb, deposited squarely upon the nest, eliminated this obstacle and panicked enemy troops.

[note]

 

18Aug50 102, 109, 117, 143, 147, 153

After daylight, the Marine 1st Battalion reorganized, and A Company prepared to attack south against Hill 117, to which the enemy attack force had withdrawn. The company crossed the saddle easily, but machine gun fire stopped it on the slope. The company commander called for an air strike. After carefully checking the designated target, a Corsair dropped a 500-pound bomb which scored a direct hit on the enemy emplacement. When bomb fragments, rocks, and dirt had settled, the 3rd Platoon leaped to its feet and dashed up the slope. At the enemy emplacement they found the machine gun destroyed and its crew members dead. In five minutes A Company was on top of Hill 117. [17-77]

The attack now continued on across the saddle toward Hill 143. Air strikes and artillery fire greatly helped to win that point. The process was then repeated with Hills 147 and 153.

[note]

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18Aug501st Battalion 5th Marines

At 0700, after moving forward to the 3rd Platoon’s area and clearing with Newton, he ordered Fox to continue the attack and seize Hill 117.

102, 109, 117, 143, 147, 153

The platoon leader shouted to his men who arose as a body to begin the ascent. When a lone Red machinegun broke the silence on 117, Stevens spotted the weapon immediately and called for an air strike. Within seconds a Marine fighter plane glided over the 3rd Platoon and dropped a 500-pound bomb squarely on the enemy position. The response from Marine air had been so prompt that every one of the attackers was knocked off his feet and one of Fox’s automatic riflemen was killed.

While the echoes of the shattering explosion were still reverberating through the morning haze, the thin skirmish line of Marines scrambled up the slope and carried Hill 117. McMullen's 1st Platoon drove in from 109, and the North Koreans fled in panic from the crest and reverse slope positions. A full company of Reds raced down the western slope, with Stevens’ riflemen and machine-gunners firing from the crest to rip into the enemy groups.

Capitalizing on a psychological advantage, Company A wheeled southward to sweep the crest. Fox, using a skirmish line of only 20 men, assaulted Hill 143 and took the peak against light resistance. A quick call to Newton brought Stevens immediate permission for maximum exploitation.

The 3rd Platoon attacked Hill 147 vigorously, and though a few Red soldiers fought to the bitter end, the majority again chose to flee. The high ground was taken easily. As the Marines moved over the crest of 147, they saw 150 enemy troops in formation halfway down the western slope. The withdrawal commenced in an orderly column of fours but the formation broke down quickly under Marine fire and turned into a routed mob.

Fox turned his attention to Hill 153, Obong-ni’s crowning peak, reasoning that it would be the logical place for the enemy’s last-ditch stand. But it was the same old story when the 3rd Platoon rushed to the summit— abandoned weapons and equipment, a few scattered dead, and blasted foxholes. There was a variation, however, when a supposed clump of scrub pines arose from the reverse slope and rushed downward in headlong flight. The Leathernecks were reminded of Birnham Wood in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as the camouflaged North Koreans disappeared with the agility of mountain goats before Marine marksmen could score more than a few hits.

18Aug50

While the 1st and 2nd Platoons consolidated the central peaks, the 3rd combed the southern reaches below Hill 153 without incident. The 1st Platoon, Able Company Engineers, patrolled the swampland south of the ridge and secured Fox’s left flank with a minefield extending from the southern crest to the valley below and eastward across the swamp.

[note]

 

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18Aug50

A crisis seemed to be developing among the people on 18 August when early in the morning seven rounds of enemy artillery shells landed in Taegu. The shells, falling near the railroad station, damaged the roundhouse, destroyed one yard engine, killed one Korean civilian, and wounded eight others. The Korean Provincial Government during the day ordered the evacuation of Taegu, and President Syngman Rhee moved his capital to Pusan. [19-50]

This action by the South Korean authorities created a most dangerous situation. Swarms of panicked Koreans began to pour out on the roads leading from the city, threatening to stop all military traffic. At the same time, the evacuation of the city by the native population tended to undermine the morale of the troops defending it. Strong action by the Coordinator for Protection of Lines of Communication, Eighth Army, halted the evacuation.

[note]

 

 

830 Korean Time

 

By 0830 the ridge had been cleared.

Already the crisis had been passed. Even before the ridge line had been taken the failure of his night counterattack had led the enemy commander to order withdrawal across the river.

[note]

 

 

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        18Aug50

 

The next morning Company A, aided by effective air strikes and well supported by 81mm mortars and 90mm fire from M26 tanks, slowly gained the momentum and took the northernmost hills atop Obong-ni Ridge after engaging in fierce hand-to-hand fighting.

[note]

 

        18Aug50

On the morning of the 18th, the Marines continued their attack along Obong-ni, and by 9 a.m., they had taken Hills 117 and 143. Enemy soldiers retreated, in full view, to the hills beyond. Before morning's end, all of Obong-ni was in Marine hands–but A and B companies now totaled only 216 men, about half their original combined strength.


Once Obong-ni Ridge had been taken, artillery, mortar and tank fire blasted away; Corsairs dove to the attack, and the enemy retreat became a rout.

[note]

 

 

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        18Aug50 3rd Battalion 5th Marines

Directly south of Finger Ridge, two large spurs form the northern approach to Hill 207. Company H emerged into the open at 1000 from the MSR between Obong-ni and Finger Ridges and attacked up the eastern spur.

 Following Captain Fegan’s unit was Company G, which veered to the right and advanced up the western spur. The two infantry units slowly ascended, separated by a deep gully, while the 3rd Platoon of Able Company tanks fired overhead and to the flanks from its positions in the valley.

When Fegan’s unit was halfway up the eastern spur, the Marine tankmen saw a platoon of North Koreans attempting to flank the attackers. Machinegun and 90-mm. fire from the M–26’s killed or dispersed the Reds at a range of 300 yards.

As Lieutenant Williams worked How Company’s 1st Platoon close enough for an assault of the summit, several NKPA soldiers rose from their holes and threw down hand grenades. The Marines hit the deck until the missiles exploded, then bounded up and rushed the crest. Unnerved by Williams’ perfect timing, most of the North Koreans fled southward along the ridge. The remainder died in their positions during a brief but bitter fight.

[note]

 

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        18Aug50 3rd Battalion 5th Marines

This movement was expedited by the Marines’ seizure of their second objective, a commanding elevation half a mile to the westward, which was taken shortly after midday. With the North Koreans in disorganized retreat, artillery fire was directed at the river crossings, fighters from the escort carriers strafed troops on the banks and in the water, and the muddy Naktong ran red with blood.

While this notable slaughter was in progress the 3rd Battalion pressed forward toward the final objective, (Hill 311) the dominating height within the bulge. Well advanced when operations were halted for the night, this attack was resumed at dawn.

[note]

 

   18Aug50   18Aug50

While the Marines cleared the North Koreans from the ridge and nearby Hill 207, the Army's 19th and 34th regiments still struggled. But by noon on August 18, they, too, had taken their objectives, Hills 240 and 223, and sent masses of enemy soldiers fleeing toward the river.

[note]

 

 

1230 Korean Time

 

18Aug50

The difficult struggle for Obong-ni forced a change of plans.  Lieutenant Colonel Taplett's 3rd Battalion was charged with taking Hill 207 on 18 August. Companies G and Company H moved up the slopes against light opposition and reached the crest at about 1230, but Captain Fegan was wounded and evacuated as Company H fought its way to the top of Hill 311.

Captain Wildman of Weapons Company replaced him, and Capt. Murray Ehrlich took over Weapons Company. Lieutenant "Dewey" Bohn's Company G maneuvered to envelop the enemy and overran about half the hilltop before being thrown back.

[note]

1237 Korean Time

 

18Aug50

Moving up on (Fegan’s / Wildman's) right, Bohn's men pushed over the western half of the objective, finding only a handful of enemy who were quickly destroyed. Company G’s assault completed the seizure of Hill 207—Objective Two at 1237.

During the last minutes of the fight on Hill 207, the entire Naktong Bulge suddenly swarmed with panic-stricken remnants of the 4th NKPA Division. What had been a retreat of small forces now became a widespread rout. Enemy troops poured down from Objective Two, some scurrying up the slopes of Hill 311 across the MSR, others making for the Naktong River.

18Aug50   18Aug50  

Air, artillery, and mortars were now offered a profusion of targets by an enemy who ordinarily did not reveal himself during daylight hours. MAG–33 plastered the suspected CP of the 18th NKPA Regiment on a peak south of 207, shattering communications equipment and weapons. Other Marine planes alternated strafing runs with 1/11’s continual artillery barrages along the river banks, where enemy troops were gathering by the hundreds.

Victory turned into slaughter when the Brigade supporting arms concentrated on the masses of Communists plunging into the river. All artillery having been turned loose on the river crossings, Taplett used his mortars, machineguns, and the supporting tanks to cut down targets in the valley and on Hills 207 and 311. He requested permission to attack the latter immediately, but was told to remain on Objective Two while the Brigade gave all of its attention to the astounding situation at the river.

[note]

 

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18Aug50

As the trucks rolled northward from Tabu-dong and approached the line of departure, the men inside could see the North Koreans and ROK's fighting on the high hills overlooking the road. The infantry dismounted and deployed, Colonel Gilbert Check 's 1st Battalion on the left of the road and Colonel Gordon Murch 's 2nd Battalion on the right of it. With tanks leading on the road, the two battalions crossed the line of departure at 1300. The tanks opened fire against the mountain escarpments, and the rumble of their cannonade echoed through the narrow valley. The infantry on either side of the road swept the lower hills, the tanks on the road pacing their advance to the infantry's.

An enemy outpost line in the valley withdrew and there was almost no opposition during the first hour. This enemy outpost line proved to be about two and a half miles in front of the main positions. The 27th Infantry had reached a point about two miles north of Tabu-dong when  Colonel Michaelis received a message stating that neither of the ROK regiments on the high ground flanking the valley road had been able to advance. He was ordered to halt and form a perimeter defense with both battalions astride the road. [19-63]

The two battalions of the 27th Infantry went into a perimeter defense just north of the little mud-thatched village of Soi-ri. The 1st Battalion, on the left of the road, took a position with C Company on high ground somewhat in advance of any other infantry unit, and with A Company on a ridge behind it. On their right, B Company, somewhat in advance of A Company, carried the line across the stream and the narrow valley to the road. There the 2nd Battalion took up the defense line with E Company on the road and east of it and F Company on its right, while G Company held a ridge behind F Company.

Thus, the two battalions presented a four-company front, with one company holding a refused flank position on either side. A platoon of tanks took positions on the front line, two tanks on the road and two in the stream bed; four more tanks were back of the line in reserve. The artillery went into firing positions back of the infantry. Six bazooka teams took up positions in front of the infantry positions along the road and in the stream bed. [19-64] The ROK 1st Division held the high ground on either side of the 27th Infantry positions.

In front of the 27th Infantry position, the poplar-lined Taegu-Sangju road ran northward on a level course in the narrow mountain valley. A stream on the west closely paralleled it. The road was nearly straight on a north-south axis through the 27th Infantry position and for some distance northward. Then it veered slightly westward. This stretch of the road later became known as the "Bowling Alley."

18Aug50

[19-Caption] THE BOWLING ALLEY

A little more than a mile in front of the 27th Infantry position the road forked at a small cluster of houses called Ch'ŏnp'yŏng-dong; the left-hand prong was the main Sangju road, the right-hand one the road to Kunwi. At the road fort, the Sangju road bends northwestward in a long curve. The village of Sinjumak lay on this curve a short distance north of the fork. Hills protected it against direct fire from the 27th Infantry position. It was there, apparently, that the enemy tanks remained hidden during the daytime.

Rising abruptly from the valley on the west side was the Yuhak-san mountain mass which swept up to a height of 2,700 feet. On the east, a similar mountain mass rose to a height of 2,400 feet, culminating two and a half miles southward in towering Ka-san, more than 2,900 feet high at its walled summit. This high ground looks down southward into the Taegu bowl and gives observation of the surrounding country.

The Kunwi and Sangju roads from the northeast and northwest entered at Ch'ŏnp'yŏng-dong the natural and easy corridor between Yuhak-san and Ka-san leading into the Taegu basin. The battles of the Bowling Alley took place just south of this road junction.

[note]

 

18Aug50

The U.S. 7th Infantry Division in Japan was far understrength, having 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 (KATUSA) 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 arrived in Japan the afternoon of the 18th. Once started, the shipments of recruits left Pusan at the rate of nearly 2,000 daily.

[note]

 

1315 Korean Time

 

18Aug50

 

This first amphibious operation in reverse of the Korean War was thus a signal success. The ROK 3rd Division, following its ordeal, was treated to a relaxing 30-mile sea voyage to Kuryongp'o, where Admiral Doyle’s LSTs had landed Cavalry Division gear a month before, and

 

and where in the afternoon the rescue ships beached to put the Koreans back in the fight. By this time relieving forces from the south had fought their way through the pseudo-refugees, ROK and American units went over to the offensive, and on 18 August the enemy was again chased out of P'ohang.

[note]

 

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18Aug50

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, General Smith stayed at Camp Pendleton for two more days until he was assured that the main body of the Division had sailed. Then he accompanied the second echelon of planners which departed by air at 1410 on 18 August:

 

  1. CG: MajGen O. P. Smith
  2. C/S: Col G. A. Williams and
  3. Cpl C. V. Irwin
  4. Aide to CG: Capt M. J. Sexton and
  5. PFC W. D. Grove
  6. G-1: Col H. S. Walseth and
  7. Cpl W. P. Minette
  8. Asst. Signal Off.: Capt A. J. Gunther and
  9. MSgt F. J. Stumpges
  10. G-4: Col F. M. McAlister
  11. Engineer Off.: Maj E. P. Moses, Jr.
  12. Embark Off.: Maj J. M. Rouse
  13. Amtrac Off.: Maj A. J. Barrett
  14. Motor trans. Off.: Maj H. W. Seeley, Jr.
  15. Ordnance Off.: Maj L. O. Williams[32]

 

The departure of the commanding general coincided with the closing of the Division CP at Camp Pendleton. There were still several thousand Marines of the rear echelon left under the control of General Noble in the sprawling installation, but the brown California hills looked down upon a scene of strange and brooding quiet as compared to the activity of the past three weeks.

August 18, 1950 it was D-minus 28 for the men of the 1st Marine Division.

[note]

 

 

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18Aug50

 

By mid-afternoon all of Obong-ni Ridge belonged to the Brigade.

[note]

 

The Marines held all of Obong-ni Ridge by mid-afternoon.

[note]

 

1530 Korean Time

 

18Aug50

At 1530 Companies G and Company H  descended Hill 207—Objective Two. They were met at the bottom by First Lieutenant Pomeroy’s 1st Platoon of tanks and escorted across the valley to the base of Hill 311—Objective Three. In advance of the infantrymen, MAG–33 scorched the high ground with napalm while artillery, mortars, and 75-mm. recoilless rifles worked over the slopes.

Again (Fegan’s / Wildman's) and Bohn's moved up companion spurs which converged on their target, the 1,000-foot height. Progress was good until Company H came within 200 yards of the crest. Then a volley of rifle fire from the summit and forward slopes forced the Marines to the ground. Although confronted by only a platoon, Fegan was at a disadvantage.

 Scrub growth not only concealed the Communist riflemen, but also prevented the use of Company H’s machineguns. Maneuver to the right or left was impossible, since the steep draws on either side were well covered by camouflaged enemy positions. Several Marines who tried to advance frontally were cut down by rifle fire.

The enemy platoon’s defense was not based on the usual machinegun fire and grenade throwing. With calm, business-like efficiency, NKPA riflemen kept Company H pinned to the ground, finally wounding Fegan himself as the officer attempted to regain the initiative. After his evacuation, the attack bogged down completely.

[note]

 

18Aug50

Earlier on the 18th Lieutenant (jg) Robert J. Harvey, 3rd Battalion surgeon, had the unpleasant task of examining an abandoned Army aid station under the bridge near the tip of Finger Ridge. The improvised hospital had been overrun during Army reverses a week before; and about 30 dead found by the Marines bore mute evidence of the enemy’s brutality in dealing with captured wounded and medical personnel.

[note]

1600 Korean Time

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18Aug50

Late in that afternoon Marine and Army attacks resumed, the Marines supported by an awesome array of mortars, artillery, recoilless rifles and tanks.

[note]

1700 Korean Time

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1730 Korean Time

 

18Aug50

At 1730, Company G had reached the southern portion of the long, narrow crest by brushing aside light resistance. Turning its attention northward, the company entered into a small-arms duel with the Communist force opposing (Fegan’s / Wildman's)  unit. When supporting arms failed to dislodge the enemy rifleman, Bohn enveloped the troublesome pocket by sending Cahill’s 1st Platoon around to the left (west).

[note]

 

 

 

1800 Korean Time

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1900 Korean Time

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1919 Sunset

[note]

1945 Korean Time

 

August 28, 2950   1945

The young platoon leader completed the maneuver just before nightfall and overran the Reds on the northern half of the summit. But the enemy on the forward slopes facing Company H suddenly showed fight. The 1st Platoon, pushed rearward a short distance by the surprise resistance, slugged it out at close quarters.

Objective 1 102, 109, 117, 143, 147, 153,

 

Objective 2 Hill 207

Objective 3 Hill 311

 

With darkness closing in and the platoon so far beyond Marines lines, Bohn ordered it to withdraw. Cahill, wounded himself, reported on his return that the platoon had suffered 10 casualties, including 2 killed.

Taplett  ordered the two companies to deploy defensively in their present positions. Thus, during the quiet night of 18–19 August, Companies G and Company H  faced the enemy pocket at right angles to each other.

[note]

 

 

2000 Korean Time

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biography     

By sunset the next day, August 18, Church had "decisively defeated the NKPA 4th Division. The estimated 3,500 NKPA survivors fled back across the Naktong, and despite the reinforcements it received, the division would not recover from this major mauling. The fight, later named the First Battle of the Naktong Bulge, at long last was over.

* * *

The battle had been messy and nearly disastrous. It had cost the 24th Division and 9th Infantry Regiment terrible casualties. The diversion of the Marines to complete it was both galling and embarrassing to the Army.

Yet in the long term the First Battle of the Naktong Bulge proved to be one of the most decisive battles in the war against the NKPA. The utter destruction of the crack NKPA 4th Division came as a humiliating shock to the NKPA high command, which had publicly proclaimed the imminent fall of Pusan.

It led the NKPA into more ruinous strategic blunders, perhaps in part to "save face." Still mindlessly (and publicly) intent on capturing Pusan, the NKPA rushed two more crack divisions, the 2nd and 9th, (there is no 9th NKPA Division)  to replace the 4th and reinforced the badly hurt 6th.

The redeployment decisively weakened NKPA forces on the Taegu front, where Walker was weakest, farthest from his main supply base, and most vulnerable. In electing to focus the main fighting on the lower Naktong, rather than at Taegu, the NKPA continued to play into Walkers main strength at a place farthest from its own supply base. This flawed strategy ultimately proved to be the undoing of the NKPA.

[note]

 

 

 

2100 Korean Time

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At nightfall only one small pocket of enemy resistance remained on Obong-ni, and it was eliminated the next morning. The formidable ridge had been captured by an attack beginning on the right flank and moving progressively south and upward along its series of knobs and saddles.

The Enemy Bridgehead Destroyed

 

While the 1st Battalion was driving to the southern tip of Obong-ni on 18 August, the Marine 3rd Battalion started an attack from the northern end of the ridge toward Hill 206 (probabley Hill 207), the next ridge line westward. The 9th Infantry supported this attack by fire from Cloverleaf. The 3rd Battalion was on its objective within an hour. It met virtually no opposition. [17-78]

The reason for this easy advance was apparent. At the same time that the 3rd Battalion was climbing Hill 206, aerial observers, forward artillery observers, and front-line infantry units all reported seeing enemy groups attempting to withdraw westward to the Naktong.

They reported this movement about noon. Forward observers adjusted air bursts (VT) and quick fuze artillery fire on these groups. Part of the artillery firing on the river crossing sites employed delayed fuzes for greater effectiveness against underwater swimmers. Fighter planes ranged over the roads and trails leading down the western slopes to the river and caught many enemy groups in the open. [17-79]

August

[17-Caption] MARINES moving down from Hill 311.

After the capture of Hill 206, Colonel Murray ordered the 3rd Battalion to continue the attack toward Hill 311, the last ridge line in front of the Naktong. This attack slanted northwest.

  

At the same time, the 34th and 19th Infantry Regiments on the right flank of the 24th Division drove south and southwest into the bulge. Only in a few places was resistance moderate and as the afternoon wore on even this diminished. troops of the 18th (no such unit) [19th] Infantry on Ohang Hill could see groups of 10 to 15 North Koreans in the river, totaling perhaps 75 to 100 at one time, trying to cross to the west side. Fighter planes strafed these groups all afternoon.

Before dark the Marine 3rd Battalion captured most of Hill 311, the 34th Infantry captured Hill 240, and the 18th [19th] Infantry captured Hill 223-the high hills fronting the river. [17-80]

[note]

 

It was clear by evening, 18 August, that the enemy 4th Division was decisively defeated and its survivors were fleeing westward across the Naktong.

[note]

 

Unit Info  

The first of seven successive enemy night attacks struck against the 27th Infantry defense perimeter shortly after dark that night, 18 August. Enemy mortars and artillery fired a heavy preparation for the attack. Two enemy tanks and a self-propelled gun moved out of the village of Sinjumak two miles in front of the 27th Infantry lines. Infantry followed them, some in trucks and others on foot. The lead tank moved slowly and without firing, apparently observing, while the second one and the self-propelled gun fired repeatedly into F Company's position. The tank machine gun fire seemed indiscriminate, as if the enemy did not know the exact location of the American positions.

As the tanks drew near, a 3.5-inch bazooka team from F Company destroyed the second one in line. Bazooka teams also hit the lead tank twice but the rockets failed to explode. The crew, however, abandoned the tank. Fire from the 8th Field Artillery Battalion knocked out the self-propelled gun, destroyed two trucks, and killed or wounded an estimated hundred.

Lt. Lewis Millett, an artillery forward observer, and later a Medal of Honor winner after he transferred to the infantry, directed this artillery fire on the enemy with a T34 tank within fifty yards of his foxhole. Three more enemy tanks had come down the road, but now they switched on their running lights, turned around, and went back north. Half an hour after midnight the entire action was over and all was quiet. Enemy troops made a second effort, much weaker than the first, about two hours later but artillery and mortar fire dispersed them. [19-65]

Certain characteristics were common to all the night battles in the Bowling Alley. The North Koreans used a system of flares to signal various actions and to co-ordinate them. It became quickly apparent to the defending Americans that green flares were used to signal an attack on a given area. So the 27th Infantry obtained its own green flares and then, after the enemy attack had begun, fired them over its main defensive positions. This confused the attacking North Koreans and often drew them to the points of greatest strength where they suffered heavy casualties. The use of mines in front of the defensive positions in the narrow valley became a nightly feature of the battles. The mines would stop the tanks and the infantry would try to remove them. At such times flares illuminated the scene and pre-registered artillery and mortar fire came down on the immobilized enemy with fatal results.

[note]

 

  

The NKPA 13th Division, leading the attack, collided with the 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds.” on the night of August 18. The Wolfhounds were fully prepared for a hard fight: high ground secure, mines laid, flares ready, all guns zeroed in. When the NKPA pulled into range, Michaelis let loose a hail of frightening and deadly effective fire. The fire caught and destroyed two NKPA tanks, a self-propelled artillery piece, and two trucks and killed or wounded perhaps 100 enemy troops. The NKPA pulled back to regroup.

This scene was repeated night after night. Despite many tense moments caused by infiltrators, Michaelis and his three battalion commanders 1st Bn  Gilbert Check, 2nd Bn Gordon Murch , and 3rd Bn George H. DeChow remained magnificently cool and refused to yield one yard of ground. Bit by bit they whittled down the strength of the NKPA 13th Division, inflicting about 4,000 casualties. The persistent and noisy onrush of the NKPA down this valley or the hail of counter fire reminded Michaelis's men of a bowling alley. Their highly publicized resolute stand was thus dubbed the "Battle of the Bowling Alley" August 12-25 1950.

[note]

 

 

2200 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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2300 Korean Time

Central East Coast Zulu Korea
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8:00 AM
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9:00 AM
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By the end of August 18, most of the North Korean bridgehead had been eliminated, with a fearful slaughter of the enemy.

 

[note]

 


Casualties

Friday August 18, 1950 (Day 55)

18Aug50 82 Casualties
19500818 0000 Casualties by unit


1 15TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
2 19TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
2 23RD INFANTRY REGIMENT
2 24TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
2 27TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
2 29TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
11 34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
20 35TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 37TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
4 5TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
32 5TH MARINE REGIMENT
3 9TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
   
   
   
   
   
82 19500818 0000 Casualties by unit

As of August 18, 1950

 

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 71 4098 91 11 4271
Today   50 32   82
Total 71 4148 123 11 4353


 

 

 

Aircraft loss 001

 

 Notes for Tuesday August 1, 1950 - Day 037

 

 

 

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