By 1 September the food situation was so bad in the North Korean Army at the front that most of the soldiers showed a loss of stamina with resulting impaired combat effectiveness. [21-48]
The North Koreans directed the Pusan Perimeter battles from their Front Headquarters in Kŭmch'ŏn. Marshal Choe Yong Gun, the North Korean Minister of Defense, was Deputy Commander of the North Korean Armed Forces. He had formerly been associated with the Chinese Communist 8th Route Army. In command of the Front Headquarters during August and September was General Kim Chaek. His chief of staff was Lt. Gen. Kang Kon until the latter was killed near Andong by a land mine explosion on 8 September.
The II Corps from its headquarters at Mun'gyŏng directed the action from north of Taegu eastward to the coast. Lt. Gen. Kim Mu Chong, a graduate of the Whampoa Military Academy under Chiang Kai-shek and a Communist veteran of the Chinese wars, commanded the II Corps. He had accompanied Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zedong) on the "Long March" and reportedly was the only one of thirty Koreans to survive that march.
The I Corps, which had captured Sŏul in the early days of the war, had direct charge under the Front Headquarters for the western half of the enemy arc around the Perimeter, from Waegwan south to the Korea Strait. Lt. Gen. Kim Ung, a spectacular soldier, commanded the I Corps. Kim had gone from Korea to the Whampoa Military Academy and eventually served with the Communist 8th Route Army in North China where reportedly he became a brigade or division commander. He was generally considered the ablest of the North Korean field commanders. He was energetic and harsh, feared rather than loved by his subordinates. His I Corps headquarters was at Chon-ju. [21-49]
With time running against it, the North Korean High Command prepared a massive co-ordinated offensive all around the Pusan Perimeter for the first of September. As the North Korea People's Army prepared for its great effort, it brought 13 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, 2 armored brigades, and miscellaneous security forces into the line.
On the I Corps front, reaching from opposite Taegu southward along the Naktong River, in line from north to south, were the 10th, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 7th, and 6th Infantry Divisions. Elements of the 105th Armored Division and the newly arrived 16th Armored Brigade supported these troops. The 16th Armored Brigade, really a regiment, had forty-three new T34 tanks when it left P'yŏngyang in August to take part in the September offensive. Back of the 6th Division was the 104th Security Brigade.
Deployed along the II Corps front from northwest of Taegu eastward to the coast and in line from west to east were the 3d, 13th, 1st, 8th, 15th, 12th, and 5th Infantry Divisions. Elements of the 105th Armored Division and the newly arrived 17th Armored Brigade supported this corps. The 17th Armored Brigade, also actually a regiment, had forty new tanks when it left P'yŏngyang.