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The Air Campaign for South Korea - Ground Force Status


By 15 August General Walker believed that he was nearing a stabilization along the Naktong line, and although Taegu eventually came under enemy artillery fire, the EUSAK defenses held. In the perimeter line were, from south to north, the 25th Division, the 1st Marine Brigade, the 24th Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the ROK 1st, 6th, 8th, Capitol, and 3rd Divisions. Division fronts, however, were exceptionally long, and the North Koreans were able to manage numerous infiltrations, any one of which, unless contained, might break the U. N. line.

On 1 September the North Koreans unleashed a particularly desperate effort at the southwestern end of the EUSAK perimeter, where natural defensive barriers were weakest. Their heaviest attack was astride the Naktong east of its juncture with the Nam, and the enemy effected a penetration of the 25th Division; just northward, the 2nd Infantry Division, which had replaced the 1st Marine Brigade in the line, was also roughly handled, but it dealt the enemy heavy casualties. Sapped by ground combat and constant aerial attack, the North Korean army had lost most of its vitality, and this last desperate assault was turned back. By mid-September the moment world be ripe for a United Nations counter-landing at Inch'ŏn.

The, North Korean People's Army managed its attack with ability. It attached tank battalions to assault rifle divisions for spearheading major offensives, and during the first part of the campaign, U. N. forces lacked the armored power and ground weapons to stop the tanks. Without air action the enemy's armor would have prevailed. North Korean infantry employment revealed a keen appreciation of terrain and guerrilla tactics. Enemy infantry disguised as civilian refugees, often accompanied by women and children, constantly infiltrated U. N. lines and, once at the rear, effected road blocks, harassments, and ambuscades.

Deception was common: groups of soldiers would pretend surrender while others attacked from concealed positions; refugees were often driven into U. N. positions, creating confusion preparatory to frontal or flanking movements.