Unit Details

NKPA 105th Armored Division

NKPA 105th Armored Brigade

NKPA 105th Regiment

NKPA 105th Armored Battalion

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I Corps

6,000 men and 120 T-34 tanks

 

105th KPA Armored Brigade/Division Originally organized as the 105th Armored Battalion in October 1948, it was expanded to the 105th Armored Regiment in May 1949 and to a brigade in early 1950.

Within the KPA, tank regiments were actually battalion-sized, tank battalions were company-sized, and tank companies were platoon-sized.

The 6,000-man 105th Armored Brigade consisted of the battalion-sized 107th, 109th, and 203rd Armored Regiments.

Each 600-man regiment had about 40 T-34/85 tanks organized into three company-sized tank battalions (13 tanks) of three platoon-sized companies (four tanks).

There was a regimental submachine gun company (infantry who rode on the tanks for close-in protection), supply and maintenance company, plus regimental reconnaissance, engineer, signal, and medical platoons.

The 206th Mechanized Infantry Regiment had three truck-mounted infantry battalions, a 76 mm towed field gun battalion, 120 mm mortar battalion, 45 mm antitank gun battalion, a signal company, and a training company.

August 5

 A tabulation of estimated enemy strength by major units as of 5 August follows: [15-58]

Unit Strength
1st Division 5,000
2nd Division 7,500
3rd Division 6,000
4th Division 7,000
5th Division 6,000
6th Division 3,600
8th Division 8,000
12th Division 6,000
13th Division 9,500
15th Division 5,000
105th Armored Division (40 tanks) 3,000
83rd Motorized Regiment (detachedfrom 105th Armored Division) 1,000
766th Independent Infantry Regiment 1,500
  69,100

No reliable figures are available for the number of enemy tanks destroyed and for tank troop casualties of the 105th Armored Division by 5 August, but certainly they were high. There were only a few tank replacements during July.

 

The division was destroyed in the spring of 1951 and was reconstituted in the late summer. In 1952 the division was broken up into independent armored regiments for more judicious employment across the front.

Since the war was now static, there was no need for tanks to be concentrated in an offensive armored division.

 

105th Armored Division (North Korea)

Regiments

107th,

109th,

and 203rd

Mechanized Infantry  206th

Motorized Regiment 83d

793rd Tank Battalion

105th Armored Division
Active 1948-present
Country  North Korea
Allegiance  Korean People's Army
Branch Korean People's Army Ground Force
Type Armored division
Engagements Korean War

The 105th Armored Division is a military formation of the Korean People's Army. It was North Korea's first armored unit and took part in the Korean War.


Formation and structure


 
The division was established in October 1948 as the "105th Armored Battalion" and increased to regimental strength in May 1949. By June 1950, the "105th Armored Regiment" had become the 105th Armored Brigade with a strength of 6,000 men and 120 T-34 tanks. Its equipment-tanks, weapons and vehicles, were Russian-made.


 
The brigade had three tank regiments - the 107th, 109th, and 203rd - and a mechanized infantry regiment, the 206th. The 83d Motorized Regiment was also part of the division during the Korean War.


Each tank regiment had three medium tank battalions, each having 13 tanks. Each tank battalion had three tank companies with four tanks to a company. Tank crews consisted of five men. Battalion, regimental, and divisional commanders each had a personal tank. The mechanised infantry regiment had a strength of about 2,500 men.


The 105th Armored Brigade was raised to division status in Sŏul at the end of June 1950 before it crossed the Han River to continue the attack southward.


The 105th Armored Division is at present equipped with Chonma-ho and Pokpung-ho tanks.

 Korean War


 
During the Korean War, it was part of the North Korean advance from Sŏul to Taejon and subsequent Battle of Pusan Perimeter between August and September 1950.


The 107th Tank Regiment, equipped with T-34 tanks, defeated Task Force Smith during the initial advances of the Korean People's Army. The regiment then fought with the rest of the division in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.


At the end of October and the first week of November 1950, the 105th Armored Division, partly reconstituted since the Naktong battles, was committed to help the Chinese and did so with tank fire in a few instances, but it played a negligible role in the fighting. The U.S. Fifth Air Force destroyed most of its tanks behind the battle front. On November 7, for instance, U.N. aircraft reportedly destroyed six tanks, three armored cars, and 45 vehicles in Pakchon and the area eastward.

 

USAF Claims:

they claimed During the three days 7-9 July, in the P'yŏngt'aek-Sŏul area Fifth Air Force planes claimed 197 trucks and 44 tanks (1/3 of all tanks in unit) destroyed.
 

June 25, 1950 0400

At 4 a.m. a tremendous artillery barrage hits the 1st Division of the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) on the western end and other ROKA outposts along the 38th Parallel that divides North and South Korea. The invasion of South Korea by the North Korean Peoples' Army (NKPA) has begun. The artillery bombardment is quickly followed by ground attacks by the NKPA's 1st and 6th Infantry Divisions against the ROKA 1st Division.

The main effort by the NKPA comes later on the Uijŏngbu Corridor, a pathway to Sŏul, against the ROK 7th Division. The NKPA's 3rd and 4th Divisions and 105th Armored Brigade, supported by about 100 fighter planes, makes the assault.

-- The ROK 17th Infantry Regiment is forced to withdraw from the Ongjin Peninsula, as the NKPA follows with furious attacks all along the 38th Parallel.

-- North Korean forces reach the outer defenses of Sŏul.

-- North Korean radio in P'yŏngyang called the attack a "defensive action" against invading South Korean troops. Russian news outlets follow with stories in the same vein.

-- When the news reaches the United States, most Americans had never heard of Korea, much less know where it is. Throughout the Japanese 35-year occupation Korea, which ended with Japan's defeat in 1945, was called Chosin, and most maps used Japanese names for cities.

But more than 36,000 Americans would die there between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953.

Division of the north and south was adopted after being recommended by the Russians, so they could accept surrender of Japanese forces north of the 38th Parallel and Americans would do the same below the line.

American troops are stationed in Korea after World War II, but the last unit was pulled out in 1948. Only a military assistance group headquarters remained. South Koreans were left to create their own armed forces, largely using equipment left behind by U.S. forces.

June 25, 1950 0400

At 4 a.m. a tremendous artillery barrage hits the 1st Division of the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) on the western end and other ROKA outposts along the 38th Parallel that divides North and South Korea. The invasion of South Korea by the North Korean Peoples' Army (NKPA) has begun. The artillery bombardment is quickly followed by ground attacks by the NKPA's 1st and 6th Infantry Divisions against the ROKA 1st Division.

 

Korean_War   Korean_War

The main effort by the NKPA comes later on the Uijŏngbu Corridor, a pathway to Sŏul, against the ROK 7th Division. The NKPA's 3rd and 4th Divisions and 105th Armored Brigade, supported by about 100 fighter planes, makes the assault.

June 25, 1950 0511

Back in Sŏul, Colonel Rockwell awakened shortly after daylight [sunrise 0511] that Sunday morning to the sound of pounding on the door of his home in the American compound where he was spending the weekend. Colonel Paik and a few of his staff officers were outside. They told Rockwell of the attack at the Parallel. Paik phoned his headquarters and ordered the 11th Regiment and other units to move immediately to Munsan-ni - Korangp'o-ri and occupy prearranged defensive positions. Colonel Rockwell and Colonel Paik then drove directly to Munsan-ni. The 11th Regiment moved rapidly and in good order from Suisak and took position on the left of the 13th Regiment, both thereby protecting the approaches to the Imjin bridge. There they engaged in bitter fighting, the 13th Regiment particularly distinguishing itself. [03-21]

[03-21] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Interv, author with Darrigo, 5 Aug 53; Ltr, Hamilton to author, 21 Aug 53; Gen Paik, MS review comments, 11 Jul 58.

Upon making a reconnaissance of the situation at Munsan-ni, Colonel Rockwell and Colonel Paik agreed they should blow the bridge over the Imjin River according to prearranged plans and Paik gave the order to destroy it after the 12th Regiment had withdrawn across it. A large body of the enemy so closely followed the regiment in its withdrawal, however, that this order was not executed and the bridge fell intact to the enemy. [03-22]

[03-22] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Ltr, Hamilton to author, 21 Aug 53; Gen Paik, MS review comments, 1 Jul 58.

The NKPA 1st Division and supporting tanks of the NKPA 105th Armored Brigade made the attack in the Munsan-ni-Korangp'o-ri area. At first some ROK soldiers of the ROK 13th Regiment engaged in suicide tactics, hurling themselves and the high explosives they carried under the tanks. Others approached the tanks with satchel or pole charges. Still others mounted tanks and tried desperately to open the hatches with hooks to drop grenades inside. These men volunteered for this duty. They destroyed a few tanks but most of them were killed, and volunteers for this duty soon became scarce. [03-23]

[03-23] Ltr, Rockwell to author, 21 May 54; Interv, author with Hausman, 12 Jan 52. Colonel Paik some days after the action gave Hausman an account of the Imjin River battle. Paik estimated that about ninety ROK soldiers gave their lives in attacks on enemy tanks.

The ROK 1st Division held its positions at Korangp'o-ri for nearly three days and then, outflanked and threatened with being cut off by the enemy divisions in the Uijŏngbu Corridor, it withdrew toward the Han River.   

12 Juy 1950

An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 troops of the NKPA 4th Division, backed by 20 tanks of the 105th Brigade's 793rd Tank Battalion, were poised to attack the 34th Regiment at Kongju, while roughly the same number of men from the NKPA 3rd Infantry Division prepared to take on the 19th.

 

In July 1950, the Brigade was upgraded as the 105th KPA "Sŏul" Armored Division and the 308th Self-propelled Gun Battalion with SU-76 self-propelled guns was assigned along with upgraded support units. Its strength was about 6,000 troops.

June 25, 0530

The main North Korean attack, meanwhile, had come down the Uijŏngbu Corridor (Hiway 3 & 23) timed to coincide with the general attacks elsewhere. It got under way about 0530 on 25 June and was delivered by the NKPA 4th and 3rd Infantry Divisions and tanks of the 105th Armored Brigade. [03-25]

[03-25] DA Intel Rev, Mar 51, Nr 78, p. 34; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), pt. II, Opn Ord Nr 1, 4th Inf Div, 22 Jun 50; Ibid., Issue 3 (Enemy Documents), p. 65; G-2 Periodic Rpt, 30 Jun 50, Reserve CP (NKPA); The Conflict in Korea, p.
28.

This attack developed along two roads which converged at Uijŏngbu [about 10 miles due north of Sŏul] and from there led into Sŏul. The NKPA 4th Division drove straight south toward Tongduch'ŏn-ni from the 38th Parallel near Yonch'ŏn.

The NKPA 3rd Division came down the Kŭmhwa - Uijŏngbu - Sŏul road, often called the P'och'on Road, which angled into Uijŏngbu from the northeast. The NKPA 107th Tank Regiment of the NKPA 105th Armored Brigade with about forty T34 tanks supported the 4th Division; the 109th Tank Regiment with another forty tanks supported the 3rd Division on the P'och'on Road. [03-26]

[03-26] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (Enemy Forces), p. 37; Ibid., Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), p. 45; Opn Plan, NKPA 4th Inf Div. Opn Ord Nr I. 221400 Jun 50; Ibid.,  Issue 94 (NKPA 4th Div), Ibid., Issue 96 (NKPA 3rd Div).

[03-Caption] ENEMY APPROACH ROUTES through Uijŏngbu Corridor.

The 1st Regiment of the ROK 7th Division, disposed along the Parallel, received the initial blows of the NKPA 3rd and 4th Divisions. In the early fighting it lost very heavily to enemy tanks and self-propelled guns. Behind it at P'och'on on the eastern road was the 9th Regiment; behind it at Tongduch'ŏn-ni on the western road was the 3rd Regiment.   [note]

 

June 25, 0530

The main North Korean attack, meanwhile, had come down the Uijŏngbu Corridor (Hiway 3 & 23) timed to coincide with the general attacks elsewhere. It got under way about 0530 on 25 June and was delivered by the NKPA 4th and 3rd Infantry Divisions and tanks of the 105th Armored Brigade. [03-25]

[03-25] DA Intel Rev, Mar 51, Nr 78, p. 34; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), pt. II, Opn Ord Nr 1, 4th Inf Div, 22 Jun 50; Ibid., Issue 3 (Enemy Documents), p. 65; G-2 Periodic Rpt, 30 Jun 50, Reserve CP (NKPA); The Conflict in Korea, p.
28.

This attack developed along two roads which converged at Uijŏngbu [about 10 miles due north of Sŏul] and from there led into Sŏul. The NKPA 4th Division drove straight south toward Tongduch'ŏn-ni from the 38th Parallel near Yonch'ŏn.

The NKPA 3rd Division came down the Kŭmhwa - Uijŏngbu - Sŏul road, often called the P'och'on Road, which angled into Uijŏngbu from the northeast. The NKPA 107th Tank Regiment of the NKPA 105th Armored Brigade with about forty T34 tanks supported the 4th Division; the 109th Tank Regiment with another forty tanks supported the 3rd Division on the P'och'on Road. [03-26]

[03-26] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (Enemy Forces), p. 37; Ibid., Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of NKPA Aggression), p. 45; Opn Plan, NKPA 4th Inf Div. Opn Ord Nr I. 221400 Jun 50; Ibid.,  Issue 94 (NKPA 4th Div), Ibid., Issue 96 (NKPA 3rd Div).

[03-Caption] ENEMY APPROACH ROUTES through Uijŏngbu Corridor.

The 1st Regiment of the ROK 7th Division, disposed along the Parallel, received the initial blows of the NKPA 3rd and 4th Divisions. In the early fighting it lost very heavily to enemy tanks and self-propelled guns. Behind it at P'och'on on the eastern road was the 9th Regiment; behind it at Tongduch'ŏn-ni on the western road was the 3rd Regiment.   [note]

June 26, 1950 0800

     

His two battalions occupied defensive positions about two miles northeast of Uijŏngbu covering the P'och'on road. There, these elements of the ROK 2nd Division at 0800 opened fire with artillery and small arms on approaching North Koreans. A long column of tanks led the enemy attack. ROK artillery fired on the tanks, scoring some direct hits, but they were unharmed and, after halting momentarily, rumbled forward. This tank column passed through the ROK infantry positions and entered Uijŏngbu. Following behind the tanks, the enemy 7th Regiment engaged the ROK infantry. Threatened with encirclement, survivors of the ROK 2nd Division's two battalions withdrew into the hills. [03-45] 

This failure of the 2nd Division on the eastern, right-hand, road into Uijŏngbu caused the 7th Division to abandon its own attack on the western road and to fall back below the town. By evening both the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions and their supporting tanks of the 105th Armored Brigade had entered Uijŏngbu. The failure of the 2nd Division above Uijŏngbu portended the gravest consequences. The ROK Army had at hand no other organized force that could materially affect the battle above Sŏul. [03-46]

Korean_War

General Lee explained later to Col. William H. S. Wright that he did not attack on the morning of the 26th because his division had not yet closed and he was waiting for it to arrive. His orders had been to attack with the troops he had available. Quite obviously this attack could not have succeeded. The really fatal error had been General Chae's plan of operation giving the 2nd Division responsibility for the P'och'on road sector when it was quite apparent that it could not arrive in strength to meet that responsibility by the morning of 26 June.

The Fall of Sŏul

 

The tactical situation for the ROK Army above Sŏul was poor as evening fell on the second day, 26 June. Its 1st Division at Korangp'o-ri was flanked by the enemy 1st Division immediately to the east and the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions at Uijŏngbu. Its 7th Division and elements of the 2nd, 5th, and Capital Divisions were fighting un-co-ordinated delaying actions in the vicinity of Uijŏngbu.

During the evening the Korean Government decided to move from Sŏul to Taejŏn. Members of the South Korean National Assembly, however, after debate decided to remain in Sŏul. That night the ROK Army headquarters apparently decided to leave Sŏul.