Place Names

Naktong Bulge

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The Naktong River "front occupied by the 24th Division ran south-north from the confluence of the Nam and Naktong rivers to the village of Hyŏnp'ung. As the crow flies, the "front was about twenty-two miles long, but in reality, the twisting course of the Naktong made it thirty-four miles.

Northward from the confluence of the Nam with the Naktong, the 24th Division held the line of the lower Naktong for a distance of sixteen air miles, or a river front of about thirty-four miles. The 34th Infantry was on the lower, southern part; the 21st Infantry was on the upper part together with the ROK 17th Regiment. The 19th Infantry, just arrived from Masan, was re-equipping in the rear. In general terms, the 34th Infantry held the area west of Yongsan in the Naktong Bulge, while north of it the 21st Infantry held the area west of Ch'angnyŏng.

The 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry, held the river line in its regimental front, while the 1st Battalion was in a reserve assembly area about four miles back from the river near Yongsan. (Map 9)

The 3rd Battalion front was about nine miles, or 15,000 yards long. [17-2] One may contrast this battalion frontage of 15,000 yards with one of 10,000 yards for a division at full strength, which U.S. Army doctrine considered normal.

The three rifle companies of the 3rd Battalion-I, L, and K, in that order from north to south-were on high hills overlooking the Naktong River. An unoccupied gap of more than two miles lay between I and L Companies, and another of more than three miles lay between L and K Companies. Because of the river's course around the bulge, the three company positions resembled the points of a broad triangle; I and K were the two extremities at the eastern base and L the apex at the bulge of high ground extending westward in the big fold of the river. Along this stretch of river there were at least six ferry crossing sites. [17-3]

For almost the entire regimental front, hills 500 to 600 feet high rose from the narrow river valley, in some instances abruptly from the water's edge. In this nine miles of front two valleys formed entrances from the river into the hill masses stretching eastward. The northern entrance was at the Ohang village ferry crossing This crossing lay in the gap between I and L Companies at the northern edge of the bulge. The other natural entrance into the regimental zone lay four air miles south at the under side of the bulge.

The 4.2-inch mortars supporting the 3rd Battalion were about a mile and a quarter back of the river in the draw that penetrated the hills from the Ohang ferry site. The 3rd Battalion command post was half a mile farther, southeast in this same draw, at the village of Soesil. Commanding the battalion was Lt. Col. Gines Perez, just arrived from the United States. At Yongsan, six miles east of the river,  Colonel Beauchamp had his regimental command post.

General Church ordered all civilians in the 24th Division zone to evacuate from an area five miles deep east of the river. He warned them that if they failed to do so, his troops might shoot them on sight as possible enemy agents. He said he could take no more chances with civilians; "If we are going to hold here, we cannot have any enemy behind us." [17-4]