Weather

Korean Climate

Mean Temp 24°C  75.2 °F at Taegu 

Heavy Overcast

1950 Pacific Typhoon Season

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


Overview

biography   biography   biography

Aug. 23

The first British commando raid of the war is reported. On an undisclosed date, the commandos attacked an NKPA radio station eight miles from Inch'ŏn.

-- Rep. John C. Davies, D, N.Y., says after a White House visit that President Truman is undecided whether to allow UN troops to cross the 38th Parallel when they drive communist troops out of South Korea.

[note]

 

biography   biography

At the briefing on CHROMITE held at general headquarters the next day, Smith found the “usual general staff form of briefing, correct as to form, but having nothing [in] particular to do with reality. For instance, for the crossing of the Han River, the Engineer admitted he did not have the bridging material, but the matter was brushed off by stating that the crossing of the Han River presented technical difficulties which were under continuing study. . . . The task assigned the First [Marine] Division did not have much relation to our capabilities, particularly the latter phases of our task.” (After attending a second briefing at GHQ, Smith would resolve in the future to send his G-2 [staff operations officer] instead.)

At the first briefing, Smith urged that the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade be brought out of Pusan to join his division for the assault. He “was informed that relief of the Brigade from combat would be bad for the morale of the Eighth Army and would disclose our plans. I was also informed that relief of the Brigade from combat would be dependent on the tactical situation.” Also, because the 7th Marines could not possibly arrive before 0300 on the landing day, the regiment was “manifestly not available.” From Smith’s perspective, this “indicated a total lack of appreciation of the problem.”

 Other issues included the precise locations where the division would go ashore at Inch'ŏn (X Corps plans called for it to make all landings in the dock area, something Smith wished to avoid if at all possible) and the extent of pre-landing naval bombardment—the Army, along with Joint Task Force 7 (below), wanted only the minimum, in order to maintain surprise.

tf70

[note]

 

 

Aug. 23: MacArthur set Sept. 15 as the date to invade Inch'ŏn. The 19th BG flew the first razon mission, but with the exception of one bomb that hit the railroad bridge west of P'yŏngyang, the World War II-era control equipment failed to guide the bombs to the target.

[note]

 

Aug. 23: MacArthur set Sept. 15 as the date to invade Inch'ŏn. The 19th BG flew the first razon mission, but with the exception of one bomb that hit the railroad bridge west of P'yŏngyang, the World War II-era control equipment failed to guide the bombs to the target.

[note]

 

Citations

 

[note]

Medals   

Distinguished Service Cross

 

Emerson, Henry Everett [Capt SS A5thRCT]

James, John W. [PFC SS A24thIR]

Valdez, Isidro S., Jr. [1stLt SS HqBtry15thFAB]

Silver Star

19500823 0000 DSC WEBER

 

 

August

USS Valley Forge (CV-45) (left) and USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) (center) at their anchorages at Sasebo, Japan, during Korean War resupply activities, 23 August 1950. The ship in the right distance is USS Rochester (CA-124).

[note]

 

France offered ground troops to fight in Korea.

[note]

 

Korean_War

"The Army issued its second involuntary recall by calling up 77,000 members of the Organized Reserve Corps."

USS Benevolence (AH-13).jpg

The U.S. hospital ship USS Benevolence sank in San Francisco Bay after being rammed accidentally by the freighter SS Mary Luckenbach, (formerly USS Waukesha (AKA-84)) while both were sailing in a dense fog. No patients were aboard the Benevolence because it was on a trial run to prepare for service in Korea, but 31 of its 523 civilians and military personnel drowned.[62]

[note]

 

Renimisises

 

biography

After a silence of three weeks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff wired me that General Joseph Collins, Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Forrest Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations, were coming to Tokyo to discuss this maneuver with me. It was evident immediately upon their arrival that the actual purpose of their trip was not so much to discuss as to dissuade.

On August 23rd, I called a strategic conference to debate the problem at the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo . The conferees included

  1. General Joseph Collins and

  2. Admiral Forrest Sherman, as well as

  3. Marine Chief Lieutenant General Lemuel C. Shephard Jr.;

  4. my air commander, Stratemeyer;

  5. my chief of staff, Almond, whom I had already designatedcommander of the X Corps, which was to make the Inch'ŏn landing;

  6. my Navy commander, Joy;

  7. my fleet commander, Struble;

  8. my amphibious expert, Admiral James T. Doyle;

  9. and a gathering of other staff officers and aides making up a veritable constellation of silver stars.

As at the Pearl Harbor conference with Roosevelt and Nimitz in 1944, the Navy presented its case first. A naval briefing staff argued that two elements — tide and terrain — made a landing at Inch'ŏn extremely hazardous. They referred to Navy hydrographic studies which listed the average rise and fall of the tides at Inch'ŏn at 20.7 feet — one of the greatest in the world. On the tentative target date for the invasion, the rise and fall would be more than 30 feet because of the position of the moon. When Inch'ŏn 's tides were at full ebb, the mud banks that had accumulated over the centuries from the Yellow Sea jutted from the shore in some places as far as 2 miles out into the harbor. And during ebb and flow these tides raced through "Flying Fish Channel," the best approach to the port, at speeds up to 6 knots. Even under the most favorable conditions "Flying Fish Channel" was narrow and winding. Not only did it make a perfect location for enemy, mines, but any ship sunk at a particularly vulnerable point could block the channel to all other ships.

On the target date, the Navy experts went on, the first high tide would occur at 6:59 in the morning, and the afternoon high tide would be at 7:19, a full thirty-five, minutes after sunset. Within two hours after high tide most of the assault craft would be wallowing in the ooze of Inch'ŏn 's mud banks, sitting ducks for Communist shore batteries until the next tide came in to float them again. In effect, the amphibious forces would have only about two hours in the morning for the complex job of reducing or effectively neutralizing Wolmi-do, the 350-foot-high, heavily fortified island which commands the harbor and which is connected with the mainland by a long cause-way.

Assuming that this could be done, the afternoon's high tide and approaching darkness would allow only two and a half hours for the troops to land, secure a beachhead for the night, and bring up all the supplies essential to enable forces to withstand counterattacks until morning. The landing craft, after putting the first assault wavesashore, would be helpless on the mud banks until the morning tide.

Beyond all this, the Navy summed up, the assault landings would have to be made right in the heart of the city itself, where every structure provided a potential strong point of enemy resistance. Reviewing the Navy's presentation, Admiral Sherman concluded by saying: "If every possible geographical and naval handicap were listed — Inch'ŏn has 'em all."

General Collins then presented his arguments. The Army, its chief of staff said, felt that Inch'ŏn was too far in the rear of the present battle area to have the necessary immediate effect on the enemy. To accomplish this big maneuver successfully with the limited resources available would require withdrawing the 1st Marine Brigade, which was then holding a sector in Walker 's hard-pressed defense line, and would thus further endanger that position. Collins was not at all sure, in fact did not believe, that even if I captured Sŏul I could make contact with Walker to the south. And furthermore, he said, I might well run into overwhelming enemy force in the area of the capital city and suffer complete defeat.

Collins had an alternate proposal to abandon the plan of the Inch'ŏn landing and instead aim for the west-coast port of Kunsan. This port was much further south and presented few of Inch'ŏn 's physical obstacles. At this point Sherman spoke up and seconded Collins in urging me to give up Inch'ŏn in favor of Kunsan.

Sherman and Collins finished their argument. I waited a moment or so to collect my thoughts. I could feel the tension rising in the room. Almond shifted uneasily in his chair. If ever a silence was pregnant, this one was. I could almost hear my father's voice telling me as he had so many years ago, "Doug, councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."

The bulk of the Reds [I said] are committed around Walker 's defense perimeter. The enemy, I am convinced, has failed to prepare Inch'ŏn properly for defense. The very arguments you have made as to the impracticabilities involved will tend to ensure for me the element of surprise. For the enemy commander will reason that no one would be so brash as to make such an attempt. Surprise is the most vital element for success in war. As an example, the Marquis de Montcalm believed in 1759 that it was impossible for an armed force to scale the precipitous river banks south of the then walled city of Quebec , and therefore concentrated his formidable defenses along the more vulnerable banks north of the city. But General James Wolfe and a small force did indeed come up the St. Lawrence River and scale those heights. On the Plains of Abraham, Wolfe won a stunning victory that was made possible almost entirely by surprise. Thus he captured Quebec and in effect ended the French and Indian War. Like Montcalm, the North Koreans would regard an Inch'ŏn landing as impossible. Like Wolfe, I could take them by surprise.

The Navy's objections as to tides, hydrography, terrain, physical handicaps are indeed substantial and pertinent. But they are not insuperable. My confidence in the Navy is complete, and in fact I seem to have more confidence in the Navy than the Navy has in itself. The Navy's rich experience in staging the numerous amphibious landings under my command in the Pacific during the late war, frequently under somewhat similar difficulties, leaves me with little doubt on that score.

As to the proposal for a landing at Kunsan, it would indeed eliminate many of the hazards of Inch'ŏn , but it would be largely ineffective and indecisive. It would be an attempted envelopment which would not envelop. It would not sever or destroy the enemy's supply lines or distribution center, and would therefore serve little purpose. It would be a "short envelopment," and nothing in war is more futile. Better no flank movement than one such as this. The only result would be a hookup with Walker 's troops on his left. It would be better to send the troops directly to Walker than by such an indirect and costly process. In other words, this would simply be sending more troops to help Walker "hang on," and hanging on was not good enough. No decision can be reached by defensive action in Walker 's perimeter. To fight frontally in a breakthrough from Pusan will be bloody and indecisive. The enemy will merely roll back on his lines of supply and communication.

But seizure of Inch'ŏn and Sŏul will cut the enemy's supply line and seal off the entire southern peninsula. The vulnerability of the enemy is his supply position. Every step southward extends his transport lines and renders them more frail and subject to dislocation. The several major lines of enemy supply from the north converge on Sŏul , and from Sŏul they radiate to the several sectors of the front. By seizing Sŏul I would completely paralyze the enemy's supply system—coming and going. This in turn will paralyze the fighting power of the troops that now face Walker . Without munitions and food they will soon be helpless and disorganized, and can easily be overpowered by our smaller but well-supplied forces.

The only alternative to a stroke such as I propose will be the continuation of the savage sacrifice we are making at Pusan , with no hope of relief in sight. Are you content to let our troops stay in that bloody perimeter like beef cattle in the slaughterhouse? Who will take the responsibility for such a tragedy? Certainly, I will not. The prestige of the Western world hangs in the balance. Oriental millions are watching the outcome. It is plainly apparent that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest. The test is not in Berlin or Vienna , in London , Paris or Washington. It is here and now — it is along the Naktong River in South Korea. We have joined the issue on the battlefield. Actually, we here fight Europe's war with arms, while there it is still confined to words. If we lose the war to Communism in Asia, the fate of Europe will be gravely jeopardized. Win it and Europe will probably be saved from war and stay free. Make the wrong decision here — the fatal decision of inertia—and we will be done. I can almost hear the ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die.

If my estimate is inaccurate and should I run into a defense with which I cannot cope, I will be there personally and will immediately withdraw our forces before they are committed to a bloody setback. The only loss then will be my professional reputation. But Inch'ŏn will not fail. Inch'ŏn will succeed. And it will save 100,000 lives.

I finished. The silence was complete. Then Sherman, an old associate of the Pacific war, rose and said, "Thank you. A great voice in a great cause."

[note]

 

South then North

 

  

During the night of 22-23 August, the enemy made his usual attack against the 27th Infantry, but not in great force, and was easily repulsed.

[note]

 

Unit Info  Unit Info

The next day, 23 August, the North Koreans, frustrated in this area, withdrew from contact in the 35th Infantry sector. [20-13]

[note]

 

biography   biography

General Kean now alerted Colonel Throckmorton to prepare a force from the 5th Infantry to attack Sobuk-san. On the morning of 21 August, the 1st Battalion (less A Company), 5th Regimental Combat Team, attacked across the 24th Infantry boundary and secured Sobuk-san against light resistance. That evening a strong force of North Koreans counterattacked and drove the 1st Battalion off the mountain.


At noon the next day (22nd), the 1st Battalion again attacked the heights, and five hours later B Company seized the peak. General Kean now changed the boundary line between the 5th Regimental Combat Team and the 24th Infantry, giving the Sobuk-san peak to the former (5thRCT).

During the night, the North Koreans launched counterattacks against the 1st Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, and prevented it from consolidating its position.

On the morning of 23 August, A Company tried to secure the high ground 1,000 yards southwest of Sobuk and link up with B Company, but was unable to do so. The enemy considered this particular terrain feature so important that he continued to repulse all efforts to capture it, and kept A Company, 5th Regimental Combat Team, nearby, under almost daily attack. [20-22]

Northward from B Company's position on Sobuk, the battle situation was similar. Enemy troops in the Rocky Crags, which extended from Sobuk-san toward P'il-bong, took cover during air strikes, and napalm, 500-pound bombs, and strafing had little effect. As soon as the planes departed they reoccupied their battle positions. Elements of the 24th Infantry were not able to extend southward and join with B Company of the 5th Regimental Combat Team. [20-23]

south then north

 ENEMY SIDE OF THE ROCKY CRAGS

[note]

 

  

Fighting continued on Battle Mountain the next day, 23 August, with ROK police units arriving to reinforce I and L Companies. The American and South Korean troops finally secured precarious possession of Old Baldy, mainly because of the excellent supporting fires of the 81-mm. and 4.2-inch mortars covering the enemy's avenues of approach on the western slope.

Before its relief on the mountain, L Company reported a foxhole strength of 17 men, yet, halfway down the slope, its strength had jumped to 48 men, and by the next morning it was more than 100. Colonel Corley, in command of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, said,

"Companies of my battalion dwindle to platoon size when engaged with the enemy. My chain of command stops at company level. If this unit is to continue to fight as a battalion it is recommended that the T/O of officers be doubled. One officer must lead and the other must drive."

biography      biography  

The situation in the Haman area caused General Walker to alert the Marine brigade for possible movement to this part of the front. [20-26]

[note]

 

The Far East Air Forces in August

    

The Far East Air Forces probably exercised a greater relative influence in August 1950 in determining the outcome of the Korean battles than in any other month of the war. As the number of tactical air control parties increased in late July and during August, the standard practice of the Fifth Air Force was to place one with each U.S. Army regiment and division headquarters and one with each ROK division and corps headquarters.

Fighter aircraft in August normally left their Japanese bases at Itazuke and Ashiya on a daily schedule of two planes every fifteen minutes. They reported to the tactical air control center at Taegu where they received specific missions. After receiving them the planes reported to the proper division TACP and then to a regimental TACP for their target assignment.

 By 23 August, the Fifth Air Force operated twenty-nine T-6 Mosquitoes, all using the Taegu airstrip. The Mosquitoes operated over six stations from dawn to dusk, each plane on station for a 2-hour period before being relieved by another. [21-1] The pilots of these planes were tactical coordinators. They located and controlled close support missions when TACP's did not have visual control.

[note]

 

On 15 August, the ROK Army activated the Ground General School at Tongnae, near Pusan, which received its first class on 23 August. This school was principally a center for training infantry second lieutenant replacements. Its normal capacity was 250 candidates a week. After the pressing needs of the Pusan Perimeter battles had passed, all these schools [1st and 2nd Replacement training Centers] lengthened their courses of training. [21-22]

[note]

 

Most, if not all, of the tanks in the two brigades [16h & 17th Armored Brigades] apparently arrived in P'yŏngyang on or about 23 August, coming from the Russians by way of Manchuria.

Trained crews were immediately assigned to the tanks. The two armored brigades each had two battalions; each battalion was composed of four tank companies. The two new armored brigades moved to the front by rail at night. [21-50]

[note]

 

The Forgotten War

 

biography   biography   biography

Collins and Sherman returned to Tokyo from Korea on August 23 to confer with MacArthur about Inch'ŏn. By then they had been thoroughly briefed on the main features of the operation. These were:

Joe Collins was not opposed to an amphibious landing per se, but he found fault with almost every aspect of Inch'ŏn. His main concerns:

Apart from these considerations there was the concern over Inch'ŏn itself as a site for an amphibious landing. The admirals and Marine Corps generals involved with the planning had concluded that Inch'ŏn was one of the worstpossible places in the world to mount an amphibious assault. As one naval planner put it, "We drew up a list of every natural and geographic handicap and Inch'ŏn had em all." The chief handicaps:

[note]

 

biography   biography

As Collins saw it, there were better possibilities for employing the 70,000 men earmarked for Inch'ŏn. One was to feed them into the Pusan Perimeter, immediately and powerfully increasing Walker's strength (from 122,000 to 192,000 men) for a breakout and conventional short envelopments designed to destroy the NKPA. However, this option would require a frontal assault and, possibly, a long, tedious, and costly fight up the peninsula, with the NKPA enjoying the advantage of a constricting main supply line while Eighth Army's became ever longer and more complex. The other option was to land amphibiously behind the NKPA at a more hospitable site much closer to the Pusan Perimeter. A closer landing would reduce the risk of the amphibious forces' being cut off, by making Eighth Army's "dash" to link up shorter and less arduous. It would also position the amphibious forces in such a way that they could, if necessary, attack the NKPA forces at the perimeter from behind, thereby assisting or assuring a breakout of Eighth Army.

Collins preferred the latter course a shorter and closer amphibious envelopment. He chose Kunsan, about 130 air miles south of Inch'ŏn, directly west across the peninsula from Taegu. Kunsan was a more hospitable site geographically and lightly defended, too far from North Korea for rapid deployment of a NKPA counterforce. If the NKPA elected to oppose the landing, it would have to draw troops from the perimeter, thus making Walker's breakout easier. Advancing north and east from Kunsan, the amphibious forces could cut the NKPA main supply line (the Sŏul–Taegu highway) at Ch'ŏnan and Taejŏn, which would be as effective as cutting it at Inch'ŏn-Sŏul. If necessary, the amphibious forces could attack the NKPA in the rear at the perimeter. In sum, the Kunsan amphibious forces and Eighth Army would be truly mutually supporting.

In seeking alternatives to Inch'ŏn, the Navy and Marine planners were thinking along the same lines, although not so radically. They preferred a landing at P'osŭng-myŏn, about twenty miles south of Inch'ŏn. However, since a landing there would be too distant from Eighth Army to assist in its offensive, and the roads leading from it were poor, Collins was cool to that site. Nonetheless, he welcomed the Navy and Marine planners as allies in opposition to Inch'ŏn and hoped that he could persuade them to see the advantages of Kunsan.

biography

 Forrest Sherman, the senior naval officer, would determine the official Navy–Marine Corps position. He was torn. From a strategic standpoint Sherman agreed with other JCS members that in the existing crisis Europe should have first priority, the Far East second. For that reason he had resisted sending ever greater numbers of troops to the Far East, including Marines. On the other hand, he was not without service loyalty.

 Notwithstanding Sherman's impressive leadership, the Navy still did not enjoy the confidence of Harry Truman or the majority of the public. A successful amphibious landing in Korea, leading to a Korea wide victory, would do much to restore the prestige of the Navy and Marine Corps and ensure those services a far stronger position in America's post Korea military establishment.

[note]

 

biography   biography   biography

There was another consideration. The Navy and Marines despised Omar Bradley as much as they did Louis Johnson. Bradley had voted against the Navy's super carrier, urged a drastic cut in the Marine Corps, and publicly humiliated the Navy and Marines in his "fancy dans" speech which ended the "Admirals' Revolt."

In that same speech Bradley had discussed the future of amphibious warfare. These remarks had been unfairly canted and truncated by Navy partisans to read: "I predict that large-scale amphibious operations ... will never occur again." A successful amphibious operation in Korea would make Bradley look the fool and undermine his influence.[8-48]*

*Bradley's remarks clearly related to a huge amphibious assault against Soviet occupied territory defended by A-bombs. What he actually said was that he predicted than large-scale amphibious operations "such as Sicily and Normandy" would never occur again. He added: "Frankly, the atomic bomb properly delivered almost precludes such a possibility. I know that I, personally, hope that I shall never be called upon to participate in another amphibious operation like the one in Normandy." These remarks were not meant to apply to a relatively small-scale operation against the NKPA, which did not have atomic bombs or air superiority.[8-49]

For all these reasons, and others, Forrest Sherman had arrived in Tokyo willing to support an amphibious operation, and so told his senior subordinates. However, after conferring with them on the details of Inch'ŏn, and after his trip to Korea with Joe Collins, Sherman concluded that Collins was right; that the landing should be made at Kunsan, not Inch'ŏn.

IV

As he prepared for his meeting with Collins and Sherman on Inch'ŏn, Douglas MacArthur was apparently consumed by frustration and turmoil, perhaps even rage. The war in Korea had been in progress nearly eight weeks. His forces had suffered one major defeat after another, incurring appalling casualties. 4,546 KIA as of 23 August. These setbacks had diminished MacArthur's prestige.

In his eyes, Washington still did not appreciate the gravity of the Far East crisis. Truman had demeaned MacArthur's heroic effort in Korea as a "police action." The Pentagon had been niggardly in sending troops. It had denied him the two full armies (comprising eight divisions) he had deemed essential to win the war. Apparently it had even dragged its feet on sending an airborne RCTand the Seventh Marines for Inch'ŏn. Visitors from Washington Collins, Vandenberg, Harriman, Ridgway kept harping on the need to build up American military power in Europe, where all was quiet, at the expense of the Far East, which was caught in the roar of real war.

[note]

 

biography    biography   secarmy   biography

His situation was eerily akin to that which he had faced in the spring of 1942. At that time MacArthur's forces in the Philippines were backed into another peninsular perimeter Bataan much like the Pusan Perimeter. He had begged Roosevelt for help a relief force to land amphibiously at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, to strike the Japanese in the rear, cutting their supply line, enabling him to break out of the Bataan perimeter. In outline, the Inch'ŏn plan was not unlike the old Lingayen Gulf plan. Roosevelt, like Truman, had repeatedly assured MacArthur that help was on the way. But it had failed to arrive, in part, MacArthur believed, because Washington gave Europe priority over the Far East, in part because the 1942 Navy did not have sufficient courage.

The upshot had been a disgrace the largest surrender of American forces in history. Was history repeating itself? Would Washington again let him down? Two actions MacArthur took at this time would seem to indicate that the frustration and rage he felt may well have dangerously distorted his judgment:

First, in response to a routine request from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for a "message" to be read at its annual convention, MacArthur, notwithstanding orders to the contrary, issued after the furor over his visit to Formosa, and his assurances to Harriman that he would be a good soldier and do nothing to provoke the Chinese Communists into entering the Korean War, decided to condemn publicly the Truman-Acheson Formosa policy. To an edited version of his June 1950 memorandum on Formosa, describing the dangers to America's Far East offshore defensive perimeter should Formosa be ignored or neglected and fall to the Communists, MacArthur appended this damning indictment of the Truman-Acheson policy of trying to woo Peking back into the American orbit:

Nothing could be more fallacious than the threadbare argument by those who advocate appeasement and defeatism in the Pacific that if we defend Formosa we alienate continental Asia. Those who speak 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 quickly turn from leadership characterized by timidity or vacillation, and they underestimate the oriental mentality.[8-51]

The "message" to the VFW was not only insubordinate and insulting to Truman but also arrogantly challenging to Peking. Up to then the Chinese Communists had not overtly assisted the NKPA. Peking was not likely to come to North Korea's aid merely as a response to MacArthur bombast. Butthe message, coming so soon after MacArthur's provocative visit to Formosa, would no doubt cause further deep concern in Peking.

Secondly, without consulting the Pentagon or specifically Frank Pace or Joe Collins, as custom and protocol required, MacArthur decided that an Army general should command the Inch'ŏn forces (which had been organized into an independent corps designated X) and gave this prestigious post to Ned Almond as additional and temporary duty. That is, Almond was to retain his title and power as MacArthur's chief of staff and command X Corps at Inch'ŏn as well.[8-52]

Learning about this highly unorthodox arrangement while he was in Tokyo, Joe Collins was flabbergasted and furious. An officer who was present when Collins got the news remembered that Collins "got half out of his seat and said, `What?' "Apart from MacArthur's slight in not consulting him in advance and his longtime and intense personal dislike of Almond, there were several reasons for Collins's ire:

MacArthur's "message" to the VFW and his appointment of Almond to command X Corps both done in the same week outraged almost the whole of official Washington: the White House, State, and the Pentagon especially Collins, who until then had been one of MacArthur's strongest supporters, and Sherman, who represented the Marines. The actions were to raise further searching questions about MacArthur's loyalty and his mental stability.

Ned Almond had been present at the birth of the Inch'ŏn idea. Within GHQ he had been its most tireless advocate. As the hour for the climactic meeting about Inch'ŏn with Collins and Sherman drew near, he did all in his power to minimize opposition to Inch'ŏn and "sell" it as the best possible solution:

* * *

[note]

 

August August

In order to determine more precisely what was taking place in Tokyo, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent two of their members to the Far East. General Collins and Admiral Sherman, accompanied by a staff of Air Force and Army officers, flew to Tokyo on 19 August to talk with MacArthur. [18]

August

Meeting privately with General Collins and Admiral Sherman upon their arrival in Tokyo, MacArthur covered general aspects of the whole Korean operation, and then staged a full-scale briefing on the proposed amphibious movement for top military and naval officials. This briefing, which took place in General MacArthur's conference room on the 6th floor of the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo in the late afternoon of 23 August 1950, was attended by Generals MacArthur, Collins, Almond, and Wright of the Army and Admirals Sherman, Joy, Struble, and Doyle of the Navy. Various other officers of lesser rank participated in the briefing. [19]

[note]

 

U.S. Air Force

 

Following memorandum taken by me to CINCFE at 1135 hours in reference to a radio I received from Norstad quoting in full an article written by a Wayne Thomis aboard a carrier off the coast of Korea.[226]

Of course USAF wanted my comments.

Memo to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur:

It is my personal opinion, substantiated somewhat by evidence of the Wayne Thomis' article, dateline "Aboard U. S. Support Carrier Off Korea,"¯ is another step in a planned program to discredit the Air Force and the Army and at the same time to unwarrantly enhance the prestige of the United States Marines. This situation in my opinion has become so acute that I bring it to your personal attention while Admiral Sherman is in the theater with the suggestion that you discuss this matter with the Chief of Naval Operations, and General Collins, who are both members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I have instructed all my commanders and my staff in strict terms against public or private criticism of a sister service even in spite of provocative statements that have been made in the press. I am so concerned about this matter that I fear it will affect the fine team play that exists between all three services under your command and I therefore urge that something be done at your level. I worry about dissension spreading to the lower ranks. G.E.S.

 

After my discussion with CINCFE, he gave me the outline for my answer to Norstad - some of the phraseology I used in toto; final message evolved as follows:

Personal Norstad from Stratemeyer. Re the Wayne Thomis article which distresses me greatly. It is completely unrealistic and plainly dogmatic propaganda and is probably and unfortunately part of a planned conspiracy for the accomplishment of basic changes in the Defense Department. Counter-action must be on a much broader scale than the Korean theater of operations to safeguard the interest of the Air Force and the national defense in general. Everything possible to correct such biased reports is and has been done in this theater.

From CINCFE down through all ranks of the Army and the Navy, and largely in the dispatches, commendations of the Air Force have been of the most complete and generous nature. The cooperation between the services could not be improved. I regard it as near perfection as is possible. This article is not only a planned affair but is a scuttlebutt one and a certain number of scuttlebutts always exist whenever men assemble together and whenever action is undertaken. Attention has been drawn to the Marine high command here of the damage caused by this type of irresponsible and scurrilous reporting and I believe that the Marines themselves do not in general support this type of mockery.

The mad scramble among pressmen for sensational headlines can only be suppressed by the publishers and editors themselves. The reporters respond to the impulse from the top and up to the present time such impulse in the Korean operations has been to encourage and foster the most highly sensational articles irrespective of the psychological damage they might cause. I recommend most urgently that the journalistic higher-ups be informally requested to discourage doubtful articles which can only tend to create dissension and disunity within our own ranks and give comfort and aid to the enemy.

I have furnished a copy of this message to CINCFE who is exerting every possible effort to dry up the flow of injurious reporting.


Along the same subject, I amplified my views and sent Vandenberg the following "T.S. - Eyes Only"¯ letter:


Dear Van, this letter supplements my two recent messages: V 0193 and VC 0212; the first in reply to 51337, and second to 51952 - both from Norstad.

There is little to be added to my two replies. In fact, the first part of my V0193 could well have been my reply to Larry's second message. The detailed similarity of the Robert Miller article dated 14 August and the Wayne Thomis article dated 18 August is not mere coincidence and since both of them appear to have originated on carriers, it is evident that both were inspired from the same or similar sources.

Upon receipt of Larry's message on the Wayne Thomis article I discussed the entire matter with General MacArthur who, although unaware of the Thomis piece, had already discussed with Admiral Sherman the absolute necessity for a cessation of such derogatory and dissension-sowing reports as the Miller article. After reading the Thomis piece, General MacArthur was even more wrought up and in fact suggested the tenor, and in many cases, the phraseology of my VC 0212 message.

As background, you may be interested to know that Thomis arrived in the theater about the second week of August and was immediately taken aboard a CVE. During the twenty-four hours he was in town prior to departure, one of his newspaper colleagues discussed air power in general with Thomis. My understanding is that Thomis, during the conversation, outlined the type of article he was planning to write, thus indicating that he had been thoroughly briefed by service sources prior to his departure from the ZI.

When the text of the Thomis article was shown to his colleague here in Tokyo, this colleague said (again my understanding) substantially as follows:

"He had the article written in his mind before ever leaving Tokyo and apparently went out on the carrier merely to get an authentic date line."¯


Short of censorship, which as you know General MacArthur is loth to impose, I can see no possible solution to this service inspired propaganda, and even censorship would merely defer the articles rather than halt them. I am completely convinced, as I have said in both of my messages quoted above, that the carefully planned campaign is designed to do two things:

(a) discredit the Air Force, and

(b) unjustifiably enhance the prestige of the United States Marines at the expense of both the Army and the Air Force.

Ops [sic] 23 may have been dissolved following the B-36 undercover campaign but there now appears to be every indication that its successor not only has been formed but is in action.[227]

Our defense against these and perhaps other attacks has and will continue to be the telling of the complete facts on the accomplishments of tactical air power as represented by Earle Partridge's Fifth Air Force and any and all United Nations Forces that operate under Earle. They not only have flown fifty-eight consecutive days in direct and intimate support of the ground forces, but they also have been credited with being the decisive factor that prevented the ground forces from being driven from the Korean peninsula. Next week, we plan to take a group of correspondents on a special tour throughout the Fifth Air Force from the JOC (Joint Operational Center) right up to the front lines and the ground and airborne controllers. Marine aviation claims to maintain a CAP [combat air patrol] over Marine ground forces throughout the day. Their two carriers are required to cap three thousand men operating on a front frequently measured in yards.

The Fifth Air Force is providing a close support cap on the entire 140 -160 miles of battlefront and are doing it so effectively and so continuously that frequently the ground forces or our airborne controllers are unable to produce targets as rapidly as our fighters knock them out - or appear over front lines requesting targets.

 [5thAF didnt' help Task Force Smith one bit, did it?]

Van I sincerely feel, after considerable deliberation, that I can be of much greater service to the Air Force in directing its activities both present and planned rather than butting my head against the stone wall of service- inspired propaganda which, although appearing to emanate from here, actually had its conception back in Washington.

"The Jeep Carrier,"¯ "With the Marines"¯ or even "Tokyo"¯ are merely date lines used for the final dissemination of material that had its stimulation many thousands of miles away. General MacArthur is very concerned, I am very concerned, but until and unless the Navy can and desires to control its personnel, there is little that can be done here.

You may be interested to know that two Navy "masterminds"¯ "“ Captain Walter Karig and Captain Charles Duffy both arrived in the theater about three weeks ago.[228] Both are public relations experts. Neither has any apparent duty assignment. Bill Nuckols is of the opinion that they are merely the Tokyo link between the successor to Ops [sic] 23 and the fleet itself.

Please, Van, understand that my opinions to you as expressed above are given from here as they would be if I were sitting in your office there in Washington. I can prove nothing.

"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end - if the end brings me out, all right. What is said against me won't amount to anything; if the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."¯ (From a Rail- Splitter's Philosophy, by Abraham Lincoln).

Abe and I are in the same boat. G.E.S.


Issued a memo to PIO telling him to get a sharp newshawk on the story of the air controller. It is a natural.


Issued a memo to Banfill, Craigie, Weyland and Nuckols telling them that they were authorized to initiate their own, but which must be cleared thru me for signature and approval, any info that might be of interest and assistance to CSAF that he does not receive from any other source. Type of material desired that would be of help to CSAF in his contacts with the President or other high governmental officials.

On 16 Aug I sent General Walker the following ltr:

The enclosed article by Robert Miller, indicating that close air support is a new type of operation employed by the USMC, has created considerable concern here and in the Air Force. Since the ground action referred to in this article was under your command and direction, and the associated air action was well known to you, I would greatly appreciate your comments on the article as a whole. I would particularly like to get your specific reaction to those paragraphs which are marked. I entertain the highest regard for the air and ground Marines, and feel that the harmonious and close relations which have existed between the Army, the Air Force, and the Marines should not be dis- rupted. I also feel that the facts in this instance should be established, and I am, therefore, hoping for an early reply from you.

biography      biography

On 18 August this letter received from General Walker in answer to mine above quoted:

Your letter arrived today concerning the article by Robert Miller on the comparative merits of Marine and Air Force capabilities in the role of close air support. The article, written in typical journalistic style of the sensational variety, undoubtedly has inaccuracies such as the statement that planes worked over enemy positions 50 yards ahead of Marine troops, when 300 yards is probably nearer the truth. [NOPE 50yd is correct] I feel, however, it is never worthwhile to comment on newspaper articles in defense of myself, my decisions, or of units or individuals under my command or with which I am cooperating. I have never done so, and do not intend to start now. As for the support rendered my troops by the Fifth Air Force, I have every praise for the cooperation and assistance of Par- tridge and his people and have gone on record in this regard.

 

OOPS LOOK OUT

 

 Without the slightest intent of disparaging the support of the Air Forces, I must say that I, in common with the vast majority of officers of the Army, feel strongly that the Marine system of close air support has much to commend it.

Marine aviation is designed, equipped and trained for the sole purpose of supporting Marine ground forces. It operates equally well from land bases or carriers, often permitting support from short distances not possible if there is sole dependence upon land air bases. During training and maneuvers, Marine aviation works constantly with ground units to perfect the communications and coordination so essential in the application of any type of supporting fires, whether delivered by aircraft, artillery, or supporting infantry weapons.

Tactical air support parties are available to units down to and including the infantry battalion. In short, although there are probably strong reasons such as governmental economy to the contrary, I feel strongly that the Army would be well advised to emulate the Marine Corps and have its own tactical support aviation.


In my opinion this is the result of General Clark's attempt to secure tactical aviation as a part of the Army. I am greatly disappointed in Walker's reply.[229]

 


 

 

226. This article appeared in the August 19, 1950, edition of the Chicago Tribune.

227. OP-23 was a research and policy unit under the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Administration). Its head in 1949 was Capt Arleigh A. "31-Knot"¯ Burke. In April of 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson can celled the construction of the "supercarrier"¯ United States. In what became known as the "Revolt of the Admirals,"¯ the Navy then attempted to discredit the Air Force's current premier weapon, the B-36. At the forefront of this attempt was OP-23, which compiled information to use against the B-36 program. Apparently, OP-23 was involved in more than information gathering, but in the "dirty tricks"¯ department also.

Thus, Stratemeyer was quick to see OP-23's hand in the various articles praising the Navy in Korea. (Rear- den, pp 385-422.)

228. Karig later wrote a semi-official history of the Navy in the Korean War as part of the "Battle Report"¯ series. Capt C.G. Duffy was head of the Media Division, Office of Public Relations, U.S. Navy.

229. In a December 1950 Air Force magazine interview, Gen Mark W. Clark, Chief of Army Field Forces, claimed that he did not want the Army to have its own separate air force. He did, however, feel that the Air Force clung to "arbitrary and unyielding"¯ priorities regarding its role in the ground support mission. It seemed to Clark that the Air Force's first priority was to stay alive in the air regardless of the situation on the ground. He went on to say that the Army should have a larger voice in the design of those aircraft to be utilized in the support of the ground forces. Finally, he believed that the commander of a "ground"¯ campaign (Korea was intimated, but not mentioned) should be able to employ air and naval forces as he saw fit. (Intvw, Gen Mark W. Clark, Air Force, Dec. 1950, pp 24-25, 52.)

[note]

 

    

Because of deck loading, the Navy habitually launched most of the carrier aircraft in large strikes, and limitations of carrier operations apparently did not permit smaller launchings of aircraft throughout the day as required for orderly close support. The large carriers, moreover, had to operate in forces of not less than two. In an editorial in the Baltimore Sun on 23 August, four naval grievances were set forth:

(1) lack of direct communications between the JOC and naval carriers;

(2) shortage of properly gridded maps;

(3) inability of naval pilots to contact MOSQUITO controllers;

(4) refusal of the Air Force to accept Navy control parties.

[note]

 

      

on 23 August, when two Yaks badly damaged the HMS Comus (R-43).

The CINCFE staff, which had viewed enemy air intervention more seriously than FEAF for some time, saw the attack against shipping as evidence of an intensified North Korean air campaign and ordered FEAF to direct the Fifth Air Force to put field surveillance and attack in first priority.

[note]

 

The 6204th Photo Mapping Flight, with two unarmed RB-17's, was ordered from Clark to Johnson Air Base on 15 July. After much difficulty in getting the two planes armed at Clark and FEAMCOM, one plane was finally ready on 23 August, the same day that two additional unarmed RB-17's flew in from the Zone of Interior.

[note]

 

Two SB-17s and one SA-16 were used this date for orbit missions. The SB-17s flew 15:50 and the SA-16 flew 5:30, making a total of 21:20 flown on orbits this date.

At 1450/K, Lt. Jeffers and Lt. Jernigan were briefed on the procedure and cover that will be provided for the H-5 ferry missions to Pusan, Korea. One SA-16 was set up to escort the H-5s to Pusan from Flight "D".

At 1522/K the SA-16 was airborne for the escort with the H-5s which were airborne at 1530/K. The SA-16 maintained visual contact with the H-5s until they landed at Pusan, Korea. Three hours flying time was logged on this mission. The H-5s landed safely at Pusan.

Two false alerts were logged this date at Flight "D".

[note]

 

    

After mid-July, however, enemy air attacks dwindled, and the next significant attack took place on 23 August, when two Yaks badly damaged the HMS Comus (R-43). The CINCFE staff, which had viewed enemy air intervention more seriously than FEAF for some time, saw the attack against shipping as evidence of an intensified North Korean air campaign and ordered FEAF to direct the Fifth Air Force to put field surveillance and attack in first priority.

[note]

 

While the bridge interdiction program had been quantitatively successful, FEAF recognized that it was unnecessarily expensive in ordnance and effort. One officer computed that the Sŏul west railway bridge, (The elastic bridge),

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

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

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

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

20 - the Navy sink the bridge

counting expense of munitions and flying hours, had cost at least $781,080 to destroy. (Only $27,890 a day - BS and not counting the lives lost)  Desiring both to conserve effort and test the ordnance, early in July FEAF asked the USAF for radio-controlled RAZON bombs for use in the B-29 's of the 19th Bombardment Group which had racks large enough for the purpose.

A detachment from the Air Proving Ground reached Okinawa early in August to prepare the bombs, but practice missions, begun on 23 August, soon showed that employment of a RAZON bomb from a B-29 presented numerous problems which had not been met in experimental development in which B-17 aircraft had been used. Getting the 19th Group into routine RAZON operations thus proved technically difficult and the first tactical results were disappointing.

Three B-29's dropped 15 RAZON bombs on the P'yŏngyang railway bridge on 23 August, but control was managed on only one bomb hit.

Hovering in the area for 40 minutes during the sighting process, one of the B-29's was hit by enemy flak. Technical difficulties of this mission were attributed to storage deterioration of the RAZON radio receivers.

[note]

 

   Koread-War

Once strategic bombing was begun in earnest, the program went rapidly; by 23 August FEAF, perplexed as to the degree of destruction desired in North Korea, had trouble selecting targets.

Accordingly, Washington's help was solicited to find out whether the U. N. intended to overrun all North Korea, in which case key industries should be preserved, or whether FEAF planes should freely destroy all industrial establishments which contributed to the Soviet Far East economic potential.

As a case in point, FEAF was considering attacks against the North Korean electric power complex, which was sending an estimated 140,000 kilowatts to Manchuria and the Soviet Far East; as the North Korean industrial consumer plants were successively destroyed, even more of this electric power was channeled across the border. Evidently having received no ready opinion to so perplexing a problem, FEAF suspended consideration of the electric power complex until late September.

[note]

 

On 23 August two Yak fighters attacked and damaged a British destroyer off the west coast of Korea.#105

[note]

 

biography    biography

General MacArthur, who saw the attack upon the British destroyer as an evidence of an increased enemy air potential, instructed General Stratemeyer to provide for frequent inspection and attack against known or suspected enemy air facilities. "The use by the enemy of these or other airfields south of 39 degrees north," said MacArthur, "must be refused from this date forward.#107

[note]

 

biography    biography

Although General MacArthur had long visualized an amphibious invasion at the rear of the North Korean forces, the United Nations invasion at Inch'ŏn was to be hurriedly planned and hastily executed. Given enough amphibious vessels to land troops behind the enemy lines, everyone in authority seemed willing to agree that the counter invasion was a correct strategy, but no one but General MacArthur saw much hope for a landing at Inch'ŏn, the port and harbor serving the city of Sŏul. In fact, Inch'ŏn was as inhospitable an invasion point as anyone could imagine. Because of the fantastic rise and fall of tides at this Yellow Sea port, naval amphibious vessels would be able to beach only on a few hours of certain days-on 15 September, 11 October, or 3 November. #1

During the first months of the Korean war the actual site of a counter-landing had stood in second importance to the more pressing matter of getting troops to make the invasion. Early in July the Joint Chiefs of Staff promised MacArthur the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Air Wing. Advance elements of Marines, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and Marine Aircraft Group 33, had come to Japan to prepare for an amphibious operation but they had of necessity been committed to combat in South Korea.

The main strength of the Marine division and wing could not reach Japan before early September. For the counter invasion of the magnitude visualized by MacArthur, an additional Army division and an airborne regimental combat team would be required. The Joint Chiefs accordingly dispatched the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and alerted the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team for overseas service. When the 2nd Division reached the Far East, however, it had to be thrown into the Eighth Army battle line. The Joint Chiefs started the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division moving to the Far East, but this reduced-strength division was going to arrive too late to meet a 15 September invasion date at Inch'ŏn.#2

The Joint Chiefs had been shuttling troops to General MacArthur, but they confessed to be "somewhat in the dark" as to his exact plans.#3

biography   biography   biography

To get a firsthand view of the situation, Gen. J. Lawton Collins, Adm. Forrest P Sherman, and Lt. Gen. Idwal H. Edwards, representing Army, Navy, and Air Force, flew to Tokyo.

And in General MacArthur's office, late on the afternoon of 23 August, the die was cast in favor of invasion at Inch'ŏn on the next feasible tidal date-15 September 1950. At this conference only MacArthur was confident and assured. "The best I can say," stated Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, the Navy's amphibious expert, "is that Inch'ŏn is not impossible." General Collins and Admiral Sherman frankly favored a landing at Kunsan, which would outflank the Reds in southwestern Korea. But General MacArthur eloquently overwhelmed all objections. Nearly all of the North Korean strength was concentrated around the Eighth Army's defensive perimeter. The Communists were ripe for an attack which would seize the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul area and throttle their fighting strength in southern Korea.#4

The Joint Chiefs were not so swayed by MacArthur's forceful arguments as to accept completely the wisdom of the Inch'ŏn gamble, but General MacArthur's staff nevertheless proceeded on the basis that a final decision had been reached on 23 August.

[note]

 

Koread-War   Def

Even earlier than this FEAF target planners had been perplexed by the growing shortage of strategic targets in North Korea and the indecision as to whether United Nations forces were going to occupy North Korea. On 23 August FEAF intelligence had asked USAF to give some guidance on this subject. If North Korea was to be occupied, FEAF wanted to neutralize the industrial targets; if North Korea would not be occupied, FEAF wanted to destroy its industrial potential, particularly the hydroelectric power complex which was sending energy into Manchuria and Siberia.

Having secured no guidance from Washington, FEAF intelligence on 21 September strongly recommended that the North Korean hydroelectric generating facilities should be attacked.#36

[note]

 

U.S. Marine Corps

 


August 23, 1950 it was D-minus 23 for the men of the 1st Marine Division.

[note]

 

   biography   Def   biography

Then, a month later, on 23 August 1950, General Cates made a further request to the CNO on behalf of the helicopter program. The Commandant explained the value of the helicopter to the Marine Corps in carrying out amphibious and land warfare. He quoted an excerpt from a letter written by General Craig which indicated the "incalculable value of the helicopter as an implement of present and future armed conflict " and further : [14]

  

VMO-6 was flown to Pusan from Japan. These aircraft have been invaluable in reconnaissance and the helicopters are a Godsend in this type of terrain, not only for reconnaissance but for supporting of combat patrols in mountainous terrain; for supply of food, water, ammunition; but also for the evacuation of casualties.... By separate dispatch to you.. , a request has been made to bring out elements of the Helicopter transport Squadron. It is believed that this innovation will meet with outstanding results in combat in this mountainous terrain for the landing of patrols on top of mountain ranges....The helicopters presently available have been invaluable beyond expression...[However] I feel they will not be able to sustain all the demands. [15]

[note]

 

August

 

Brigadier General Edward A.Craig, Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, in Korea (Marine

[note]

 

The usefulness of the helicopters of VMO—6 led General Craig to call for more . He recommended that " a transport type helicopter squadron, equipped with Sikorsky 55 type aircraft" be sent to Korea or at least that "eight liaison and two transport type helicopters be added to the observation squadron for employment by Marine Divisions ." Anticipating on a limited scale later airmobile tactics, he pointed out : . . .

The mountainous terrain of Korea presents a difficult problem for security of flanks and rear and of bivouac areas. The troop carrier type of helicopter would be ideal for use . . . to post patrols on high, dominating terrain which it would take hours to climb and which -quickly exhausts the troops . . . . It is believed their use would materially contribute to the effectiveness and security of our operations and insure the earlier defeat of the enemy . . . .[10]

August

Lieutenant General Lemuel C . Shepherd, Jr . Commanding General, FMFPac, after an inspection trip to the war zone during which he was briefed on and viewed the operations of the brigade and of VMO—6, echoed General Craig's praise of helicopters and repeated his call for more of them:

There are no superlatives adequate to describe the general reaction to the helicopter. Almost any individual questioned could offer some personal story to emphasize the valuable part played by the five H03S planes available .* Reconnaissance, liaison, visual flank security, movement of security patrols from one key locality to the next, posting and supply of security detachments and many more . There is no doubt that the enthusiasm voiced by the brigade is entirely warranted . Moreover the usefulness of the helicopter is not by any means confined to a situation such as encountered in Korea . No effort should be spared to get helicopters—larger than the H03S-ls if possible —but helicopters in any form, to the theater at once —and on a priority higher than any other weapon. [11]

In view of General Shepherd ' s statement pertaining to the helicopter in Korea, Brigadier General Clayton C. Jerome, who relieved Major General Wallace as the Director of Aviation on 1 September 1950, sent a memorandum to Admiral Cassady in which he included General Shepherd' s statement. General Jerome said "this emphasizes the [remark] I made the other day in connection with the requirements for helicopters, more helicopters, and more helicopters in the Korea Area. " [12]

Major General Lamson-Scribner recalled the period : Just prior to the receipt of General Shepherd's letter, General Jerome and I attended a conference [at] which Admiral Cassady, was chairman of the Navy Aircraft Procurement Program for Fiscal 51 . The program was for only a relatively few helicopters . We insisted that we needed more than programed for purchase. Admiral Mel Pride, Chief of BuAir, remarked in essence


`If you know as little about helicopters as we do you would not get into one .' Admiral Cassady said ,
`Mel, the Marines want them . Make some changes in the program to provide more helicopters for the Marines .' [13]

General Jerome's memo was only the latest of many attempts to convince the Department of the Navy to increase the Marine Corps ' inventory of aircraft for the Korean buildup . On 19 July, General Cates submitted a request to the Secretary of the Navy for an additional four Marine fighter squadrons in an effort to increase the total to 12 .

August

Then, a month later, on 23 August 1950, General Cates made a further request to the CNO on behalf of the helicopter program . The Commandant explained the value of the helicopter to the Marine Corps in carrying out amphibious and land warfare . He quoted an excerpt from a letter written by General Craig which indicated the "incalculable value of the helicopter as an implement of present and future armed conflict " and further : [14]

VMO-6 was flown to Pusan from Japan . These aircraft have been invaluable in reconnaissance an d the helicopters are a Godsend in this type of terrain, not only for reconnaissance but for supporting of combat patrols in mountainous terrain ; for supply of food, water, ammunition ; but also for the evacuation of casualties . . . . By separate dispatch to you . . , a request has been made to bring out element s of the Helicopter Transport Squadron . It is believed that this innovation will meet with outstanding results in combat in this mountainous terrain for the landing of patrols on top of mountain ranges. . . . The helicopters presently available have been invaluable beyond expression . . . [However] I feel they will not be able to sustain all the demands. [15]

The Commandant also reiterated that BuAer, by production contract number 51–075, dated 17 August, had obligated the Navy to purchase 40 HRS helicopters for the Marine Corps and that Sikorsky anticipated delivering the first production aircraft sometime during February 1951." In view of the extremely urgent need for helicopters, " General Cates urged, "every effort should be made by BuAer and the Sikorsky Division to deliver the HRS (interim assault) helicopter as soon a s possible." Moreover, the Commandant said...[helicopters] are of such urgent nature that it is requested that BuAer be directed to authorize the Sikorsky Aircraft Division to increase deliveries to the maximum ." [16]

 

Vice Admiral Cassady acted on General Cates ' letter by requesting BuAer to contact all manufacturers who held, or whom BuAer contemplated holding, helicopter contracts to ascertain the kind of delivery rate which could be obtained by : "Increasing present contracts number wise by 50 per cent...and by 100 per cent." [17]

Emphasis was also placed upon procuring observation helicopters as well as transport helicopters. The first contract of this sort provided for 12 Sikorsky HO5S–ls ; four for each of the two VMO squadrons and four as replacements for the HO3S–ls in HMX–1 . Delivery was expected to be at a rate of not less than three per month beginning in March 1951[18]

 During July the number was raised from 12 to 22 aircraft [19] and shortly thereafter was again enlarged to 42 .[20] This demand for observation helicopters was based on planning which called for replacing all OY fixed-wing aircraft in VMO squadrons with the helicopter. In addition, the number of aircraft per squadron was raised again to 12 from the original number of eight due to the activation of two force artillery battalions—which increased the requirement for observation missions .[21]

[note]

 

biography   biography   biography

General Craig conferred on 23 August with  General Kean and a distinguished visitor, General J. Lawton Collins, Chief of Staff, USA. Collins was keenly interested in Marine methods of knocking out NKPA tanks and requested Craig to prepare a memorandum on the subject.

[note]

 

biography

General Craig  addressed the Brigade, paying a high tribute to his Marines for their conduct in battle. NKPA prisoners, he said, had told G–2 interviewers that they earnestly wished to steer clear of “the Americans in yellow leggings.”

[note]

 

On the 23rd another draft of 10 officers and 300 enlisted men from Marine posts in Hawaii and Guam was sent by air to Japan, these troops being replaced by the same number of noncombat-ready Marines airlifted from Camp Pendleton. This process was twice repeated early in September, when two more drafts totaling 20 officers and 590 men flew to Japan to provide replacements and third companies for the 5th Marines of the Brigade.[22]

Logistics offered as many problems as personnel at Camp Pendleton, since both the Brigade and Division units had been on peace tables of organization and equipment. The 30–day replenishment stock, held in readiness for such an emergency, was also based on peace strength tables. Thus it was found that the specification of “requirements” was best determined in most instances by making out requisitions based on the difference between T/E for peace and war.

[note]

 

Photographic coverage showed the Inch'ŏn harbor area to be honey-combed with gun positions and other defensive installations. On the other hand, daily aerial observation indicated that most of them were not occupied. G–2 conclusions during the planning phase often had to be based on such conflicting evidence, even though the penalties of faulty interpretation might be drastic. But after being viewed with due suspicion, signs of negative enemy activity were finally accepted as valid in estimates of light to moderate NKPA resistance.

“Sadly lacking as was information on the objective area,” commented the Division G–2 report, “more so was that on the enemy in the area.”

[note]

 

biography   biography

General Almond informed the Marine general on 23 August that the release of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade for participation in the Inch'ŏn landing would depend on the military situation. He seemed doubtful and added that the withdrawal of the Marines would be bad for Eighth Army morale. The Attack Force and Landing Force began their planning, however, on the basis of Brigade availability.

It had been the intention of CinCFE to employ a full Marine division, but an embarkation date of 1 September would not permit the 7th Marines to arrive in time. This left the 1st Marines as the only RCT of the Landing Force unless the 5th Marines and other Brigade units could be released.

[note]

 

U.S. Navy

Photo #: 80-G-430093

Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations,
Addresses the crew of USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) during his visit to ships and Navy installations in Japan and Korea, 23 August 1950.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 83KB; 605 x 740 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
August

[note]

 


HMS Black Swan (L57)

In any event such attacks were not to be soon repeated: the efforts of Seventh Fleet and Fifth Air Force fighters and the airfield attacks by Bomber Command speedily demobilized the North Korean Air Force. HMS Black Swan (U-57)'s experience (at 2012 on the 3rd) remained for some time unique, and not until 23 August did another U.N. ship undergo attack from the air.

[note]

 

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

 

Naval Operations 23 August 1950

USS Mansfield (DD-728) August 23 North of Area 7

USS Horace A. Bass (APD-124) Beach Recon Area B

[note]

 

The 23rd saw USS Mansfield (DD-728) off Ch'ŏngjin, compounding with 180 rounds of 5-inch the damage previously inflicted by USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729) [back on the 20th].

[note]

 

 USN_Units

Back on the line at P'ohang a period of comparative quiet was followed, on the 22nd, by increased enemy pressure. On the next day a conference with Army representatives on board USS Toledo (CA-133)led to improved procedures in air spotting.

[note]

 

biography
Task Force 95

In the Yellow Sea, throughout this period, Admiral Andrewes’ units continued to man the west coast barrier stations and to interdict enemy traffic around the headlands. Here the principal excitement was the appearance of two enemy aircraft, the first in more than a month, one of which surprised and damaged the British destroyer HMS Comus (R-43) on the 22nd and the other an ROK vessel the next day.

[note]

 

Music

Songs of the week

Korean_War

  1. Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole
  2. I Wanna Be Loved - The Andrews Sisters
  3. Play a Simple Melody - Bing Crosby
  4. I’m Moving On - Hank Snow

[note]

 

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0552 Sunrise

[note]

 

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biography     

Meanwhile, as ordered by General Walker, the 2nd Battalion, 23 Infantry, after repelling several enemy night attacks, counterattacked at dawn, 23 August, and seized the high ground overlooking the road at the artillery positions. At the same time the 3rd Battalion started an all-day attack that swept a 3-mile stretch of high ground east of the road. This action largely cleared the enemy from the area behind and on the flanks of the 27th Infantry.

[note]

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By 23 August, the United States had accepted forces offered by seven nations, totaling almost 25,000 ground combat troops.

[note]

 

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biography   biography   biography

Meeting privately with General Collins and Admiral Sherman upon their arrival in Tokyo , MacArthur covered general aspects of the whole Korean operation, and then staged a full-scale briefing on the proposed amphibious movement for top military and naval officials.

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biography   biography   biography

It was sometimes an awkward situation for Navy and Marine officers in general, and Admiral Doyle and General Smith in particular. In many respects they appeared doubters and pessimists in contrast to FECom staff officers who reflected General MacArthur’s shining confidence. But as amphibious specialists, carrying a heavy load of responsibility for the landing, they had to give serious thought to the risks at Inch'ŏn.

This was brought home forcibly to the Marine general on the morning of the 23rd, when he attended a meeting conducted by Major General Clark L. Ruffner, Chief of Staff of the future X Corps. Although the conference proceeded according to the usual form, General Smith felt that it departed at times from the realism which he considered an essential of sound amphibious planning. It was announced, for instance, that after taking Inch'ŏn, the 1st Marine Division was to cross the Han and attack Sŏul, although X Corps had neither equipment nor materiel for bridging the sizeable river.[3]

      

A review of the background disclosed that after CinCFE decided on 10 July not to use the 1st Cavalry Division as his landing force, he briefly considered two other Army outfits. The 2nd Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Lawrence B. Keiser, was then under orders to embark from the West Coast. Some of the personnel had been given amphibious training by an ANGLICO instruction team and had taken part in Operation MIKI, but the division as a whole was much understrength. The same difficulty led to the elimination of Major General David G. Barr’s 7th Infantry Division in Japan, which had supplied troops to units at the front until only a cadre remained.

The assurance on 25 July of a war-strength Marine division took care of the who question. Next came the problems of when and where an amphibious assault could be best mounted. JANIS (Joint Army and Navy Intelligence Studies) reports indicated that the east coast of Korea, though of lesser importance in military respects, offered such hydrographic advantages as unusually moderate tides and a general absence of shoals. In forbidding contrast, the shallow west coast waters could be navigated at most points only by means of narrow channels winding through the mud flats.[4]

Of all the west coast seaports, Inch'ŏn was probably the least desirable objective when considered strictly from the viewpoint of hydrographic conditions. From first to last, however, Inch'ŏn was Douglas MacArthur’s choice. FECom staff officers ventured to suggest two alternatives, Wŏnsan on the east coast and Kunsan on the west coast, but the commander in chief replied that neither was close enough to the enemy’s main line of communications to suit his purposes. He would settle for nothing less than Inch'ŏn.

So much for the place. As to the time, the choice was even more limited. The tidal range varied from an average spring tide[5] height of 23 feet to an occasional maximum of 33 feet. Landing craft required a tide of 25 feet to navigate the mud flats of the harbor, and the LSTs must have 29 feet. Only during a few days in the middle of September and October were those depths provided by spring tides of the next 12 weeks. MacArthur rejected an October date as being too late in the season, so that 15 September became D-day by virtue of elimination. A late afternoon H-hour was also a choice of necessity. Islands, reefs, and shoals restricted the approach to the outer harbor, and currents ranging from three to six knots multiplied the chances of confusion. This meant that daylight landings were necessary for all but small groups.

Much of the inner harbor was a vast swamp at low water, penetrated by a single dredged channel 12 to 13 feet deep.[6] The duration of spring tides above the prescribed minimum depth averaged about three hours, and during this interval the maximum in troops and supplies must be put ashore. Every minute counted, since initial landing forces could not be reinforced or supplied until the next high water period.

Time and tide seemed to have combined forces to protect Inch'ŏn from seaborne foes. As if such natural obstacles were not enough, the target area provided others. Two islands, Wolmi-do and Sowolmi-do, located in a commanding position between the inner and outer harbors, were linked to each other and to Inch'ŏn by a causeway. In advance of intelligence reports, it must be assumed that rocky, wooded Wolmi-do would be honeycombed with hidden emplacements for enough guns to create a serious menace for the landing craft. This critical terrain feature must somehow be reduced as a preliminary to the main landing during the high tide of late afternoon. Inch'ŏn being situated on a hilly promontory, the “beaches” were mere narrow strips of urban waterfront, protected by seawalls too high for ramps to be dropped at any stage of the tide. Once past these barriers, the troops would have about two hours of daylight in which to secure an Oriental city with a population comparable to that of Omaha.

But the amphibious assault was only the first phase of the operation as conceived by CinCFE. After taking Inch'ŏn the landing force had the task of driving some 16 miles inland, without loss of momentum, to assault Korea’s largest airfield before crossing a tidal river to assault Korea’s largest city. And even this ambitious undertaking was not the whole show. For a joint operation was to be carried out meanwhile by Eighth Army forces thrusting northward from the Pusan Perimeter to form a junction with the units of the Inch'ŏn-Sŏul drive. This double-barreled assault, it was believed, would shatter North Korean resistance and put an end to the war.

biography   biography   biography   biography

The time, the place, the landing force, the main objectives—these essentials of the proposed Inch'ŏn- Sŏul operation had been pretty well settled, at least to General MacArthur’s satisfaction, by the first week of August. But even though he had his assault troops, there was as yet no headquarters organization. Admiral Sherman urged early in August that the commander in chief call upon General Shepherd and the facilities of the FMFPac organization at Pearl Harbor. Since there was so little time left before D-day—only a fraction of the time usually allotted to the planning phase of a major ship to shore assault—he felt that amphibious know-how and experience were required. He proposed, therefore, that steps be taken to obtain the approval of Admiral Radford, who had jurisdiction over FMFPac.

[note]

 

biography  biography

The need for a headquarters organization was discussed on 7 August by the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group (JSPOG) of FECom. Brigadier General Edwin K. Wright, U.S.A, G–3 of FECom, received a memorandum from the other members of the staff recommending that the gap be filled in one of two ways—either by putting into effect Admiral Sherman’s plan, or by sponsoring the organization of a provisional corps headquarters. General Wright favored the first course of action, as did Brigadier General Doyle O. Hickey, FECom deputy chief of staff. Ultimately, however, the FECom chief of staff decided in favor of the latter command arrangement.[7]

The questions of when and where and who had been answered to some extent. But as late as 23 August, a good many variations of opinion existed as to how the amphibious assault was to be accomplished. The natural obstacles of the Inch'ŏn harbor area were so disturbing that Doyle suggested an alternative to MacArthur and Almond. Since the purpose of the landing was to drive inland and cut the enemy’s communications, urged ComPhibGru One, why not select a west coast objective with fewer hydrographic difficulties? He proposed the P'osŭng-myŏn area, about 30 miles south of Inch'ŏn on the west coast, where better approach channels and beaches were believed to be available in a more lightly populated locality. A landing at this point, Doyle contended, would not be attended by the risks and restrictions of Inch'ŏn, yet after securing a beachhead the troops would be in position to strike inland at the enemy’s main line of rail and highway communications in the vicinity of Osan.[8]

Smith was favorably impressed. He brought up the subject on 23 August, when he and Barr had a meeting with Almond. The X Corps commander did not concur, though conceding that P'osŭng-myŏn had possibilities as an area for a subsidiary landing in connection with the Inch'ŏn assault. Nor was Doyle able to obtain MacArthur’s consent to the alternate objective.

It was the Marine general’s third conference of the day. From the X Corps meeting he had gone directly to the regular conference at GHQ, and thence to the talk with Almond and Barr. He came away from all three meetings with the conviction that CinCFE and his staff were not to be swerved by his objections. It was definitely to be Inch'ŏn on 15 September, and Smith instructed his planning group to proceed accordingly.

[note]

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Just before noon on the 23rd, however, a violent action occurred some distance behind the front line when about 100 enemy soldiers, undetected, succeeded in reaching the positions of K Company, 27th Infantry (1 KIA)and of the 1st Platoon, C Company, 65th Engineer Combat Battalion (2 KIA). They overran part of these positions before being driven off with fifty killed. [19-77]

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biography  

At 1335 in the afternoon, Colonel Michaelis reported from the Bowling Alley to Eighth Army that the N.K. 13th Division had blown the road to his front, had mined it, and was withdrawing. [19-78]

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biography    biography   biography  
biography   biography

This briefing, which took place in General MacArthur's conference room on the 6th floor of the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo in the late afternoon of 23 August 1950, was attended by General MacArthur,  Collins, Almond, and Wright of the Army and Admirals Sherman, Joy, Struble, and Doyle of the Navy. Various other officers of lesser rank participated in the briefing. [08-19]

biography   biography

Just before this briefing, General Smith had approached General Almond on the possibility of landing in the P'osŭng-myŏn area instead of at Inch'ŏn. General Almond stated very definitely that he was not interested in a landing there except perhaps as a subsidiary landing in connection with Inch'ŏn. Almond told Smith that the real objective of this operation was to capture Sŏul at the earliest possible date. Too, GHQ planning officers had looked into P'osŭng-myŏn and did not believe that the area had the necessary road net to support heavy vehicles in any breakout of the area. [08-20]

Admiral Doyle's planning officers presented the first portion of the briefing. For nearly an hour they covered the problems faced by the Navy in the landing operation, emphasizing the great difficulties and the risks involved. Their remarks were decidedly pessimistic. Admiral Doyle concluded this presentation by conceding that the operation was not impossible, but he stated that he did not recommend it.

General MacArthur, already familiar with the views of his naval staff, seems not to have been taken aback by this adverse comment. Taking the floor, he came to the defense of his plans calmly and with great assurance. He omitted any mention of the hazards, dwelling instead upon the reasons why the landing should be made at Inch'ŏn and upon the tactical conditions which favored its success. He pointed out the disposition of the North Korean Army and its vulnerability to an amphibious encirclement.

If there were one vital spot in the enemy's line of communications, the Sŏul-Inch'ŏn area was that spot. Almost all of the major rail and highway lines leading from North Korea channeled through that area. Only by seizing Sŏul and Inch'ŏn, MacArthur insisted, could he achieve a quick and decisive victory over the enemy. He also pointed out the tremendous political and psychological advantages to be gained by retaking the Korean capital from the invaders.

General Collins and Admiral Sherman had suggested to him that a landing at Kunsan, nearly one hundred miles south of Inch'ŏn, might be just as effective and involve less risk. But MacArthur deprecated Kunsan as a main objective area, maintaining that such a shallow envelopment would not cut the enemy's line of communications nor surround his divisions. It would not lead to quick victory and a bitter Korean winter campaign would have to be fought. Only Inch'ŏn, in General MacArthur's opinion, would do.

General MacArthur did not ask Collins or Sherman to approve his plans, nor did they offer to do so. The briefing was a briefing and nothing more, but the purposes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had been served. They now knew what MacArthur intended to do and how he intended to do it. They were no longer in the dark.

[note]

 

biography   biography   biography

Joe Collins and Forrest Sherman arrived in Tokyo on August 21 to confer with MacArthur about the details of the Inch'ŏn landing. MacArthur arranged a full-scale briefing for late afternoon, August 23, giving them a chance to pay a quick visit to Korea, where, unknown to MacArthur, Collins was to assess Walker's ability to continue in command of Eighth Army.[8-34]

[note]

 

Def   biography

In order to determine more precisely what was taking place in Tokyo, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent two of their members to the Far East. General Collins and Admiral Sherman, accompanied by a staff of Air Force and Army officers, flew to Tokyo on 19 August to talk with MacArthur. [18]

Meeting privately with General Collins and Admiral Sherman upon their arrival in Tokyo, MacArthur covered general aspects of the whole Korean operation, and then staged a full-scale briefing on the proposed amphibious movement for top military and naval officials. This briefing, which took place in General MacArthur's conference room on the 6th floor of the Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo in the late afternoon of 23 August 1950, was attended by Generals MacArthur, Collins, Almond, and Wright of the Army and Admirals Sherman, Joy, Struble, and Doyle of the Navy. Various other officers of lesser rank participated in the briefing. [19]

[note]

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biography
ComPhibGru One

Doyle made a last attempt at 1730 that afternoon to present a comprehensive picture of the risks and difficulties inherent at Inch'ŏn. This final conference on the subject of a west coast landing was attended by some of the nation’s highest ranking officers—

as well as other high-ranking staff officers who had flown out from Washington. It was no secret in Tokyo military circles that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were present for the purpose of studying General MacArthur’s plans for the Inch'ŏn landing. It was also generally known that doubts and misgivings had been expressed at various times when the project was discussed at the Pentagon. General Collins stated candidly at a later date that the purpose of his Tokyo visit was

“. . . to find out exactly what the plans were. Frankly, we were somewhat in the dark, and as it was a matter of great concern, we went out to discuss it with General MacArthur. We suggested certain alternate possibilities and places. . . .”[9]

Admirals Joy and Doyle also attended the meeting, and FECom was represented by Generals Almond, Ruffner, and Wright The conference room on the sixth floor of the Dai Ichi building proved too small for the audience, and members of the PhibGru One team had to wait their turn in Almond’s adjoining office. One by one, at eight-minute intervals, Doyle’s officers took turns at being presented to MacArthur, who listened gravely while puffing at his pipe. The following amphibious specialists were heard:

  1. Cdr Edmund S. L. Marshall, USN: Navigation
  2. Lt Charles R. Barron, USN: Aerology
  3. LtCol William E. Benedict, USMC: Military Aspects
  4. LCdr Jack L. Lowentrout, USN: Beach Study
  5. LCdr M. Ted Jacobs, Jr., USN: Seabees Pontoon Causeway Plans
  6. LCdr Clyde E. Allmon, USN: Ship to Shore Plans
  7. LCdr Arlie G. Capps, USN; Gunfire Support
  8. Cdr Theophilus H. Moore, USN: Air Support[10]

The officers spoke of the natural obstacles. They asserted that it would be the peak of optimism to hope for a strategic surprise at Inch'ŏn, for the enemy also knew that only a few days each autumn month offered a tidal range sufficient to float the landing craft and supply ships over the mud flats of the harbor.

They contended that even a tactical surprise was out of the question, since Wolmi-do must be neutralized before landings could be made on the mainland. Otherwise, the vulnerable column of landing craft would be exposed to a slaughter from the flanking fire of the island`s guns.

The Navy group pointed out further that it must also be assumed that the enemy would not neglect a good opportunity to sow both moored and magnetic mines in the channels the shipping must take. And to cap all the other natural and man-made risks, there was danger at the height of the typhoon season that Nature would intervene and scatter the amphibious armada during its approach to the objective area.

The presentation lasted for nearly an hour and a half. At the conclusion, Admiral Doyle summed up by giving his opinion.

“The best I can say, ”he told the commander in chief,” is that Inch'ŏn is not impossible.“

General MacArthur heard the amphibious specialists to a finish without his imperturbability being shaken. Even the onlookers who could not partake of his perfect faith were impressed. There was something magnificent about this old warrior in shirtsleeves and open collar, calmly smoking his pipe while hearing his plan dissected. Daring and optimism are supposed to be the exclusive prerogatives of youth, yet this smiling septuagenarian was not only the oldest officer at the conference, he was also the most confident and assured! After the PhibGru One presentation ended, he took 45 minutes for his comments. Speaking with eloquence, he declared that the natural obstacles and practical difficulties of the proposed Inch'ŏn operation were more than balanced in the strategic scale by the psychological advantages of a bold stroke. About 90 percent of the NKPA forces were fighting in the Pusan Perimeter. A combined offensive by X Corps and the Eighth Army would have the effect of placing the enemy between the hammer and anvil.

Referring to the Kunsan landing favored by General Collins and Admiral Sherman, CinCFE asserted that this objective was too far south for a fatal blow to be dealt the invaders. He cited a historical precept in Wolfe’s victory at Quebec, made possible by audacity in overcoming natural obstacles that the enemy regarded as insurmountable. He recalled the amphibious victories he himself had won in the Southwest Pacific, with the Navy and sometimes the Marine Corps sharing in the glory. And he ended on a dramatic note with a single, prophetic sentence spoken in a tense voice:

“We shall land at Inch'ŏn and I shall crush them!”[11]

As the officers filed out into the noisy, teeming Tokyo street, most of them felt certain that the last word had been said. It was still possible, of course, for the Joint Chiefs to overrule CinCFE; and it was not likely that all of their doubts had been laid to rest. Nevertheless, the Navy and Marine planners proceeded on the basis that a final decision had been reached that August afternoon.

Before his arrival at Tokyo, General Shepherd had paid a flying visit to the headquarters of the Brigade in Korea immediately after the Marines stormed and seized Obong-ni Ridge. Just as General Craig’s men had taken part from 7 to 13 August in the first sustained UN counterattack, so this Army and Marine effort a week later became the first rout of a major NKPA unit. After putting up a fierce struggle to hold their bridgehead on the east bank of the river Naktong, the veteran troops of the NKPA 4th Division were shattered by repeated Marine attacks.

Carrier-borne Corsairs of MAG–33 had a turkey shoot at the expense of panic stricken enemy soldiers who abandoned their arms in a wild flight. Some of the fugitives were shot down while trying to swim the river. Despite this encouraging little victory, it was still nip and tuck on the central front of the Pusan Perimeter. With the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and 5th RCT now in line, the Eighth Army strategy of trading space for time had resulted in whittling down the enemy’s material superiority. But the invaders still held the material advantage, and there were signs that they would soon launch an all-out effort to smash through to Pusan.

[note]

 

The meeting on Inch'ŏn convened at 5:30 P.M. on August 23 in MacArthur's office in the Dai Ichi Building. In addition to MacArthur, Almond, Collins, Sherman, and Doyle, a dozen others crowded into the room: FEAF commander Stratemeyer; Pacific Fleet commander Arthur Radford; C.Turner Joy, commander, Naval Forces, Far East; Seventh Fleet commander Arthur Struble; Almond's deputy, Doyle O. Hickey, who temporarily was to take over Almond's desk duties in Tokyo; the GHQ G3, Edwin K. ("Pinky") Wright; and others.[8-57]

After Pinky Wright had sketched the "big picture," detailing the forces and scheme of maneuver, Doyle's team took over and described the difficulties of Inch'ŏn: ingress, tides, seawalls, Wolmi, etc. The tenor of the briefing, Collins wrote later, was "frankly pessimistic." Summing up, Doyle turned to MacArthur and said: "General, I have not been asked nor have I volunteered my opinion about this landing. If I were asked, however, the best I can say is that Inch'ŏn is not impossible."

MacArthur sat through this litany of negatives, silently puffing on his pipe. Then, suddenly and dramatically, he seized the floor and delivered a forty-five-minute soliloquy which no one present would ever forget. Collins and Sherman described it as spellbinding. Collins elaborated: "Even discounting the obvious dramatics, this was a masterly exposition of the argument for the daring risk he was determined to take by a landing at Inch'ŏn." Doyle declared: "If MacArthur had gone on the stage, you never would have heard of John Barrymore."

The thrust of MacArthur's argument was that Inch'ŏn would succeed precisely because of the difficulties it presented. That is, the problems were so obvious and so great that the NKPA would never expect an attack there and could not react in time to thwart it. He would therefore achieve a vital element of an amphibious landing: stunning surprise. He likened Inch'ŏn to British General James Wolfe's brash and successful river assault on the French under Montcalm at Quebec during the French and Indian War. (He did not mention that Wolfe was killed in that battle.)

Collins had been temporarily mesmerized, but he snapped back to reality and made a strong case for a landing at Kunsan, rather than Inch'ŏn. His critique was "seconded" by Sherman. In response, MacArthur disdainfully dismissed that alternative as "ineffective and indecisive." He went on: "It would be an attempted envelopment which would not envelop. It would not sever or destroy the enemy's supply lines or distribution center, and would therefore serve little purpose. It would be a `short envelopment' and nothing in war is more futile. Better no flank movement than one such as this. The only result would be a hookup with Walker's troops on his left. It would be better to send the troops directly to Walker than by such an indirect and costly process."

As MacArthur continued his exposition, it became obvious that he was less concerned about tactical maneuvers than he was about delivering a knockout psychological blow. A successful landing at Inch'ŏn would not only cut the NKPA supply lines but also almost immediately result in the liberation ofSŏul. As he saw it, this would be a devastating psychological setback not only to P'yŏngyang but also to Communist regimes throughout the Far East and the world. Hence Inch'ŏn could not be looked at purely from the standpoint of military feasibility. There was that "oriental mind" to consider.

Although this was one aspect of Inch'ŏn they had not considered in any depth, neither Joe Collins nor Forrest Sherman was yet convinced that the liberation of Sŏul was worth the risks. A similar line of reasoning the psychological impact of the liberation of Rome had led to the Allied landing at Anzio. That landing had turned into a bloody fiasco because Mark Clark's forces at the Rapido River had been so thinned out to provide forces for Anzio that Clark could not crack north of the Rapido promptly enough to link up with the Anzio forces. However, neither Collins nor Sherman raised this obvious parallel.

Pressing his case to a climax, MacArthur chose emotional even apocalyptic language. The "only alternative to Inch'ŏn he could see was a "continuation of the savage sacrifice" in the Pusan Perimeter, "with no hope of relief in sight." He rhetorically put that monkey on Washington's back: "Are you content to let our troops stay in that bloody perimeter like beef cattle in the slaughterhouse? Who will take the responsibility for such a tragedy? Certainly, I will not." He could hear the "ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die." The prestige of the Western world "hangs in the balance." The "test" was in the Far East, where communism had elected to launch its global conquest. "Here we fight Europe's war with arms, while there it is still confined to words, he proclaimed. "Lose the war to communism in Asia" and "the fate of Europe will be gravely jeopardized. Win it and Europe will probably be saved from war and stay free."

In conclusion, MacArthur conceded the many technical difficulties of Inch'ŏn. It was "a 5000 to 1 gamble." If it failed if he could not cope with the defenses he would withdraw the forces before they encountered a "bloody setback." He added: "The only loss then will be my professional reputation." But he did not think Inch'ŏn would fail. "Inch'ŏn will succeed, he said, "and it will save 100,000 lives. . . . We shall land at Inch'ŏn and I shall crush them."

Most of those present were so hypnotized that no one could immediately find appropriate words of response. Finally, Sherman rose and said lamely: "Thank you. A great voice in a great cause." But neither Sherman nor Collins was "sold" on Inch'ŏn. They still preferred Kunsan or P'osŭng-myŏn.

[note]

 

It was clear from the outset that the two Chiefs had come to dissuade the General. Collins, describing Inch'ŏn as an "impossibility," proposed Kunsan, a hundred miles to the south, as an alternative; it lacked Inch'ŏn's drawbacks and was much closer to the Pusan beachhead. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., of the Marine Corps fervently seconded the motion. Sherman - the man, MacArthur knew, that he must convince-said nothing, but his expression was grim; the day before, according to Shepherd's journal, the admiral had vehemently expressed himself as

"opposed to the proposed plan."

Lesser naval officers took the floor to point out that the General's objective violated all seven criteria set forth in USF-6, their amphibious bible. CINCFE's officers were glum and silent. Finally, after nine critics had completed an eighty-minute presentation, MacArthur rose. Afterward he wrote:

"I waited a moment or so to collect my thoughts. I could feel the tension rising in the room. Almond shifted uneasily in his chair. If ever a silence was pregnant, this one was. I could almost hear my father's voice telling me as he had so many years before, `Doug, councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."'

Of the thirty-minute performance which followed, Doyle said,

"If MacArthur had gone on the stage, you never would have heard of John Barrymore,"

The General began by telling them that

 "the very arguments you have made as to the impracticability's involved"

confirmed his faith in the plan,

"for the enemy commander will reason that no one would be so brash as to make such an attempt."

Surprise, he said,

"is the most vital element for success in war."

Suddenly he was reminding them of a lesson they had all learned in grammar school:

"the Marquis de Montcalm believed in 1759 that it was impossible for an armed force to scale the precipitous river banks south of the then walled city of Quebec, and therefore concentrated his formidable defenses along the more vulnerable banks north of the city. But General James Wolfe and a small force did indeed come up the St. Lawrence River and scale those heights. On the Plains of Abraham, Wolfe won a stunning victory that was made possible almost entirely by surprise. Thus he captured Quebec and in effect ended the French and Indian War. Like Montcalm, the North Koreans would regard an Inch'ŏn landing as impossible. Like Wolfe, I could take them by surprise." [70]

[note]

 

Def

On Sunday, August 20, the Joint Chiefs, thoroughly alarmed now that they knew CINCFE's target, sent two of their members, Collins and Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, to Japan "to find out," in Collins's later words, "exactly what the plans were." MacArthur met their plane and, at 5:30 P.M. on Wednesday August 23rd, convened a major strategic conference in the Dai Ichi to thrash the matter out.

[note]

 

biography

The amphibious landing, he said, "is the most powerful tool we have." To employ it properly, "we must strike hard and deep." Inch'ŏn's hurdles were real, "but they are not insuperable." He said: "My confidence in the Navy is complete, and in fact I seem to have more confidence in the Navy than the Navy has in itself." Looking at Sherman, he said: "The Navy has never let me down in the past, and it will not let me down this time." As to a Kunsan landing, he believed it would be ineffective. "It would be an attempted envelopment which would not envelop," a "short envelopment," and therefore futile. "Better no flank movement than one such as this. The only result would be a hookup with Walker's troops. . . This would simply be sending more troops to help Walker `hang on,' and hanging on is not good enough . . . . The enemy will merely roll back on his lines of supply and communication." Kunsan, the "only alternative" to Inch'ŏn, would be "the continuation of the savage sacrifice we are making at Pusan, with no hope of relief in sight." He paused dramatically. Then: "Are you content to let our troops stay in that bloody perimeter like beef cattle in the slaughterhouse? Who will take the responsibility for such a tragedy? Certainly, I will not." [71]

By pouncing on Inch'ŏn and then Sŏul, he said, he would "cut the enemy's supply line and seal off the entire southern peninsula.... By seizing Sŏul I would completely paralyze the enemy's supply system-coming and going. This in turn will paralyze the fighting power of the troops that now face Walker. Without munitions and food they will soon be helpless and disorganized, and can easily be overpowered by our smaller but well-supplied forces." Pointing to Inch'ŏn on the wall map, he said: "Gentlemen, this is our anvil, and Johnnie Walker can smash against it from the south." If he was wrong about the landing, "I will be there personally and will immediately withdraw our forces." Doyle, stirred, spoke up: "No, General, we don't know how to do that. Once we start ashore we'll keep going." MacArthur had reached them. When another man pointed out that enemy batteries could command the dead-end channel, Sherman, intractable till then, sniffed and said, "I wouldn't hesitate to take a ship in there." The General snapped: "Spoken like a Farragut!" He concluded in a hushed voice: "I can almost hear the ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die. ... Inch'ŏn will succeed. And it will save 100,000 lives." [72]

[note]

 

It was almost a minute before his audience shifted in their chairs. Then Sherman said: "Thank you. A great voice in a great cause." The admiral told Shepard that he thought the General had been "spellbinding," and he said to another officer, "I'm going to back the Inch'ŏn operation. I think it's sound." As CINCFE's charm wore off, they began to have second thoughts.

[note]

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Casualties

Wedensday August 23, 1950 (Day 60)

Korean_War 55 Casualties
1 19TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 21ST INFANTRY REGIMENT
5 23RD INFANTRY REGIMENT
21 24TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 27TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
1 2ND REPLACEMENT COMPANY - DIVISION
1 37TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (105MM)
1 556TH TRANSPORTATION HEAVY TRUCK COMPANY
1 5TH CAVALRY REGIMENT
1 5TH MARINE REGIMENT
15 5TH REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
1 6406TH AVIATION CARGO UNIT
1 6407TH AMMUNITION HANDLING UNIT
2 65TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION
1 8065TH MEDICAL DEPOT
1 82ND ANTIAIRCRAFT ARTILLERY AW BATTALION
   
55 19500823 0000 Casualties by unit


As of August 23, 1950

Date USAF USA USMC USN Other Total
Previous 76 4270 132 13 4491
Today 2 52 1   55
Total 78 4322 133 13 4546

 

Aircraft Losses Today loss 000

 

Notes for Wedensday August 23, 1950 (Day 60)

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