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CHAPTER XXIII

North Korean Breakthrough in the South

      Unit Info

Exact knowledge of the terrain regulates the dispositions of the troops and the order of battle.... Knowledge of the country is to a general what a rifle is to an infantryman and what the rules of arithmetic are to a geometrician.

FREDERICK THE GREAT, Instructions for His Generals

The dog days of August had given way to September. Casualties during the next two weeks were to be the greatest of the Korean War. To the men of Eighth Army, these were to be the worst of "the days along the Naktong." And, as if to envelop this deadly clash of arms with a misery of nature's own making, the elements brought to the battlefield blackened skies and torrential rains. It was the end of the summer monsoon season.

Aerial reconnaissance in the last week of August had disclosed to Eighth Army exceptional enemy activity behind the lines opposite the U.S. 2nd and 25th Divisions in the southern part of the Pusan Perimeter. Ominously, the enemy had built three new underwater bridges across the Nam River in front of the 35th Infantry in the 25th Division sector. Aerial bombing only temporarily and partially destroyed these bridges, for they could be repaired overnight.

Eighth Army intelligence credited the North Koreans with having moved one or two new divisions and about twenty tanks to the Hyŏpch'ŏn area on the west side of the Naktong River, (along the Hwang-gang) opposite the U.S. 2nd Division.