Place Names

Kimp'o, South Korea  (K-14)

 

 

 

 

MAP_10_Sŏul_Region_L552_NJ52-9

 

June 25, 1950

June 25: North Korea invaded South Korea. Simultaneously, North Korean troops made an amphibious landing at Kangnung on the east coast just south of the 38th parallel. North Korean fighter aircraft attacked airfields at Kimp'o and Sŏul, the South Korean capital, destroying one USAF C-54 on the ground at Kimp'o.

John J. Muccio, US ambassador to South Korea, relayed to President Harry S. Truman a South Korean request for US air assistance and ammunition. The UN Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire and withdrawal of the North Korean Army to north of the 38th parallel. The resolution asked all UN members to support the withdrawal of the NKA and to render no assistance to North Korea.

Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge, who was commander, 5th Air Force, but serving as acting commander of Far East Air Forces (FEAF), ordered wing commanders to prepare for air evacuation of US citizens from South Korea. He increased aerial surveillance of Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. The 20th Air Force placed two squadrons of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (FIW) on air defense alert in Japan.  [note]

KPAFAC Yak-9 1 x C-54 destroyed 7 out of 16 ROKAF trainers destroyed

June 25, 0600

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When Paik began issuing orders, his three regiments were disposed as follows.

The 12th was at the parallel near Kaesŏng, outflanked by the train borne NKPA soldiers and apparently overrun.

The 13th was about fifteen miles east of Kaesŏng [near Korangp'o-ri] and

the 11th was in reserve near Sŏul.

[The 11th Regiment moved rapidly and in good order from Suisak and took position on the left of the 13th Regiment]

Paik ordered the 11th to move rapidly forward to positions behind the Imjin River. For the next two days the 11th and 13th ROK regiments would fight valiantly at the Imjin in a vain attempt to hold back nearly two full NKPA divisions, whose attack was led by a battalion of T-34 Russian tanks.[2-79]

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This NKPA attack was powerful and determined, but the main attack came as expected, in the Uijŏngbu Corridor. Two full NKPA divisions, each spearheaded by forty T34 tanks and other mechanized vehicles and supported by 120mm howitzers, hit the ROK 7th Division. The ROKs reeled, recovered, then mounted a surprisingly stout defense.

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As planned, Sŏul ordered the 2nd Division to move rapidly forward from Taejŏn to reinforce this critical corridor. But the 2nd could not get there in time. The 7th was forced to give way. It fell back on Uijŏngbu, thereby exposing the right flank of Paik's 1st Division, which was holding along the Imjin River, and forcing Paik to fall back toward Sŏul. [not for two days, I hope]

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Farther east, in the hills of mid-Korea, elements of two other NKPA divisions simultaneously struck the ROK 6th Division. As with Paik's 1st, only two regiments were on the line; but as it happened, he had not issued any weekend passes, and these regiments were at full strength. Besides that, the ROK 6th Division had unusually good artillery units. Its forward elements, some fighting from concrete pillboxes, held, giving the commanders time to rush the reserve regiment forward from Wŏnju, forty miles south. The division inflicted harsh casualties on the NKPA regiments and might have held longer, but the collapse of the ROK 7th Division at Uijŏngbu exposed its distant left flank, also forcing it to withdraw.

There were two other subsidiary D day NKPA attacks on the extreme flanks.

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West of Paik's 1st Division, on the Ongjin peninsula, which juts into the Yellow Sea, a strong NKPA force attacked the lone 17th ROK Regiment, commanded by Paik's younger brother. One ROK battalion was overrun and decimated, but the other two evacuated as planned (the ROKs correctly did not consider the peninsula defensible) on three LST's.

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On the opposite side of Korea, on the mountainous east coast bordering the Sea of Japan, the NKPA simultaneously hit the widely dispersed and under strength ROK 8th Division, both frontally and by multiple amphibious assaults on its coastal flanks. Caught in a well executed land-sea envelopment, the division was powerless to mount an effective defense, and was soon forced to withdraw.

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During these well planned and well executed quadruple assaults the NKPA Air Force was out in full force, about 100 planes. Some of the bombers attacked Sŏul and its airport, Kimp'o, causing panic among the civilians. Some of the fighters bombed and strafed ROK Army forces. But the NKPA Air Force's contribution to the battle was slight. Contrary to the predictions of Roberts and Muccio, the ROK soldiers did not panic; they all but ignored the planes. Of far greater menace and effectiveness were the Russian T34 tanks. The NKPA made a mockery of Roberts's judgment that Korea was "not good tank country." The T34s rolled southward, easily and relentlessly, creating terror and panic among most ROK units. But not all. About ninety of Paik's 1st Division troopers died valiantly in suicidal attempts to destroy the tanks with satchel charges and other makeshift explosive devices.

June 25, 1950 0830

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 At0830 a ROK officer at the front sent a radio message to the Minister of Defense in Sŏul saying that the North Koreans in the vicinity of the Parallel were delivering a heavy artillery fire and a general attack, that they already had seized the contested points, and that he must have immediate reinforcements-that all ROK units were engaged. [03-27] The strong armored columns made steady gains on both roads, and people in Uijŏngbu, twenty miles north of Sŏul, could hear the artillery fire of the two converging columns before the day ended. At midmorning reports came in to Sŏul that Kimp'o Airfield was under air attack. A short time later, two enemy Russian-built YAK fighter planes appeared over the city and strafed its main street. In the afternoon, enemy planes again appeared over Kimp'o and Sŏul. [03-28]

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Eastward across the peninsula, Ch'unch'ŏn, like Kaesŏng, lay almost on the Parallel. Ch'unch'ŏn was an important road center on the Pukhan River and the gateway to the best communication and transport net leading south through the mountains in the central part of Korea. The attacks thus far described had been carried out by elements of the NKPA I Corps.

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From Ch'unch'ŏn east ward the NKPA II Corps, with headquarters at Hwach'ŏn north of Ch'unch'ŏn, controlled the attack formations. The NKPA 2nd Division at Hwach'ŏn moved down to the border, replacing a Border Constabulary unit, and the NKPA 7th Division did likewise some miles farther eastward at Inje. The plan of attack was for the 2nd Division to capture Ch'unch'ŏn by the afternoon of the first day; the 7th Division was to drive directly for Hongch'ŏn, some miles below the Parallel. [03-29]

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The 7th Regiment of the ROK 6th Division guarded Ch'unch'ŏn, a beautiful town spread out below Peacock Mountain atop which stood a well-known shrine, Nocheon-ri, Sutasa, with red lacquered pillars. An other regiment was disposed eastward guarding the approaches to Hoengsŏng. The third regiment, in reserve, was with division headquarters at Wŏnju, forty-five miles south of the Parallel.

The two assault regiments of the NKPA 2nd Division attacked Ch'unch'ŏn early Sunday morning; the NKPA 6th Regiment advanced along the river road, while the NKPA 4th Regiment climbed over the mountains north of the city. From the outset, the ROK artillery was very effective and the enemy 6th Regiment met fierce resistance. Before the day ended, the NKPA 2nd Division's reserve regiment, the 17th, joined in the attack. [03-30]

 

 

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Lt. Col. Thomas D. McPhail, adviser to the ROK 6th Division, proceeded to Ch'unch'ŏn from Wŏnju in the morning after he received word that the North Koreans had crossed the Parallel.

June 25, 1950 0925

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The first official word of the North Korean attack across the border into South Korea reached Tokyo in an information copy of an emergency telegram dispatched from Sŏul at 0925, 25 June, by the military attaché at the American Embassy there to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Department of the Army, in Washington. [04-1] About the same time the Far East Air Forces in Tokyo began receiving radio messages from Kimp'o Airfield near Sŏul stating that fighting was taking place along the 38th Parallel on a scale that seemed to indicate more than the usual border incidents. Not so surprising, it was Nichols's terse report from Sŏul on the morning of June 25, 1950, that gave MacArthur's headquarters its first official notification of the North Korean invasion. Northwest Airlines, with Air Force support, operated Kimp'o Airfield at this time.

June 25, 1950 1000

KMAG Starts To Leave Korea

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On Sunday, 25 June, while Colonel Wright, KMAG Chief of Staff, was in Church in Tokyo (he had gone to Japan to see his wife, the night before, board a ship bound for the United States, and expected to follow her in a few days), a messenger found him and whispered in his ear,

"You had better get back to Korea."

Colonel Wright left Church at once and telephoned Colonel Greenwood in Sŏul.

Colonel Wright arrived at Sŏul at 0400, Monday, after flying to Kimp'o Airfield from Japan. [04-16]

June 25, 1950 1200

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During the day North Korean Yaks strafed Kimp'o and the Sŏul Municipal Airfield, MATS C-54 which was grounded for repairs. [Dumb shits, Kimps and Sŏul Airfield are the same place] The North Koreans evidently meant to exploit their air superiority. Reporting the first day's activities, Ambassador Muccio informed the State Department and General MacArthur that the

"future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether the United States will or will not give adequate air assistance."

June 25, 1950 1200

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During the day North Korean Yaks strafed Kimp'o and the Sŏul Municipal Airfield, MATS C-54 which was grounded for repairs.  The North Koreans evidently meant to exploit their air superiority. Reporting the first day's activities, Ambassador Muccio informed the State Department and General MacArthur that the

"future course of hostilities may depend largely on whether the United States will or will not give adequate air assistance."

June 25, 1950 1500

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Thereafter throughout the day the two men (Ambassador Muccio and ROK President Syngman Rhee's) were in constant communication with each other on the direct line they maintained between their offices. Most of the messages to Tokyo during 25 June came to the U.S. Air Force from Kimp'o Airfield, and there was a constant stream of them. By 1500 in the afternoon both Crabb and Wright were convinced that the North Koreans were engaged in a full-scale invasion of South Korea. [04-2]

June 25, 1950 1700 3AM Washington

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But at 1700 hours the Yaks returned. Two. of them strafed Kimp'o, hitting the control tower, a gasoline dump, and an American Military Air transport Service (MATS) C-54 which was grounded with a damaged wing. Four other Yaks strafed the Sŏul Airfield and damaged seven out of ten trainer airplanes which the ROK Air Force had there.

At approximately 1900 hours six other North Korean fighters again strafed Kimp'o. This time they completely destroyed the hapless MATS transport.#20

American Ambassador to Korea Muccio conferred with President Syngman Rhee, who said that the ROK Army would be out of ammunition within ten days. Muccio quickly cabled MacArthur, for replenishment. The Ambassador had already directed the acting chief of KMAG, Colonel Wright to request an immediate shipment of ammunition for 105-mm. howitzers, 60-mm. mortars, and .30-caliber carbines. [04-18]

June 25, 1950 1900

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At approximately 1900 hours six other North Korean fighters again strafed Kimp'o,. This time they completely destroyed the hapless MATS transport.#20

June 25, 1950 2100

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At 2100 hours Colonel Price telephoned Fifth Air Force operations that he was prepared to execute the evacuation operations plan beginning at 0330 hours on 26 June, a time which would permit the first C-54 to arrive at Sŏul's Kimp'o Airfield before dawn. #17

That same evening General Partridge, who had elected to remain at Nagoya while his air force implemented the evacuation plan, held a conference of his key staff members. All of them agreed that the Fifth Air Force was ready for such instructions as it might receive. The talk then drifted around to American policy toward Korea, what it was likely to be. One staff officer suggested that the United States might abandon South Korea to the Reds. General Partridge disagreed completely. Such a line of action, he said, was "unthinkable." He believed that new policies on Korea would be forthcoming from Washington. #18

June 25, 1950 2200 - 0800 Washington

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Flying back to Washington the next morning, [6/24/1950 0900 - 6/24/1950 2200 Korea] Truman ordered an immediate conference of his diplomatic and military advisers around the large mahogany dining table at Blair House, 1651 Pennsylvania Avenue, diagonally across the street from the White House. By the time they convened, there were more messages from Muccio, all of them discouraging. Among other things, a strong PA tank column was driving toward Sŏul, and  Kimp'o airport, apparently advancing at will. "South Korean arms," Acheson concluded, summing up the situation, were "clearly outclassed."  

26 June 1950

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The Fifth Air Force training Field Order testing the aerial defenses of Okinawa was still in progress with a Flight "D", SB-17 accomplishing a reconnaissance to Okinawa and return.



It is apparent, at this time, that Flight "D" will need assistance in all categories of materials and personnel. At the present time all emphasis is being placed on evacuation of American Nationals, utilizing Kimp'o Airfield at Sŏul and Suwŏn Air Field (37° 15' N 127° 00' E).


One (1) of our C-47's has been pressed into duty for that purpose. SB-17s are orbiting round the clock to provide rescue coverage for evacuation ships and fighter aircraft that are furnishing top cover. These SB-17s are orbiting at Cheju-Do (33° 28' N 126° 30' E).

June 26, 1950

Bio  

0330 Korean Time

 At 2100 hours on the 25th Colonel Price telephoned Fifth Air Force operations that he was prepared to execute the evacuation operations plan beginning at 0330 hours on 26 June, a time which would permit the first C-54 to arrive at Sŏul's Kimp'o Airfield before dawn at 0512.

So it begins?