Kang Kon [LtGen CoS KPA]


We see, therefore, that Kim waited until he had Soviet support before launching the attack on the South and that this support was substantial. In addition to the delivery of arms and ammunition, the Soviet Union sent military advisors experienced in large-scale campaigns to draft the battle plan. According to Yu Song-chol, a retired DPRK lieutenant general who translated the operational plan in 1950, shortly after Kim returned to Korea,

“a dispatch authorizing an invasion of the south came down from the Soviet Union. The Soviets afterwards began a complete changeover of personnel in May 1950, replacing the military advisers who had been dispatched to North Korea with individuals with extensive combat experience. Lieutenant General Bashilev, a hero of the German-Soviet war, replaced Major General Smirnov as the head of the military advisory group. The draft plan for the 6-25 (June 25) southern invasion was prepared directly by this Soviet military advisory group. Its title was ‘Preemptive Strike Operational Plan.’ After the plan was handed over to Kim Il Sung, he passed it on to Kang Kon, the chief of the General Staff of the KPA, who in turn passed it on to me. Kan instructed, ‘translate this into Korean and formulate a plan.’ That was in early May 1950.”[68]

September 1, 1950

The North Koreans directed the Pusan Perimeter battles from their Front Headquarters in Kumch'on. 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.


On 28 July 1950, General Lee Yong Ho, commanding the N.K. 3d Division, transmitted an order pertaining to the treatment of prisoners of war, signed by Kim Chaek, Commander-in-Chief, and Kang Kon, Commanding General Staff, Advanced General Headquarters of the North Korean Army, which stated:

1. The unnecessary killing of enemy personnel when they could be taken as PsW shall be strictly prohibited as of now. Those who surrender will be taken as PsW, and all efforts will be made to destroy the enemy in thought and politically.
2. treatment of PsW shall be according to the regulations issued by the Supreme Hq, as attached herein, pertaining to the regulation and order of PW camps.
3. This directive will be explained to and understood by all military personnel immediately, and staff members of the Cultural Section will be responsible for seeing that this is carried out.

Another document captured in September shows that the North Korean Army was aware of the conduct of some of its soldiers and was somewhat concerned about it. An order issued by the Cultural Section of the N.K. 2d Division, 16 August 1950, said in part,

"Some of us are still slaughtering enemy troops that come to surrender. Therefore, the responsibility of teaching the soldiers to take prisoners of war and to treat them kindly rests on the Political Section of each unit."