Unit Details

6th ROK Infantry Division

Division Capital 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th 7th 8th
Regiment                
1st             1st  
2nd           2nd    
3rd 3rd              
3rd             3rd  
5th     5th          
7th           7th    
8th 8th              
9th             9th  
10th               10th
11th   11th            
12th   12th            
13th   13th            
15th         15th      
16th     16th          
17th 17th              
18th       18th        
19th           19th    
20th         20th      
21st               21st
22nd       22nd        
23rd       23rd        
25th     25th          

 


6th Infantry Division

Active Formed November 20, 1948
Country Republic of Korea
Branch Army
Type Infantry


 History


The 6th Infantry Division was a military formation of the Republic of Korea Army during the 20th Century. The Division consisted of the 2nd, 7th, and 19th Regiments.


The 2nd Infantry Regiment was originally activated as the 2nd Regiment on February 28, 1946 at Taejon and was first commanded by Lt. Col. Lee Hyong Kun. The unit was initially assigned to the 1st Brigade in December 1947 and was later reassigned to the 6th Division when it was activated in May 1949.


The division became part of II Corps after the first fall of Sŏul. Was part of the defensive line to slow the North Korean advance from Sŏul to Taejon.

 

Initial attack


After the Chinese intervention and attacks in November 1950, the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, the Turkish Brigade, and the ROK 6th, 7th, and 8th Infantry Divisions were shattered units that would need extensive rest and refitting to recover combat effectiveness.


 

June 25, 1950

 By 0600 hours columns of North Korean infantry, spearheaded by Soviet-built T-34 tanks, drove through the ROK lines toward Kaesong in the west and the ROK 6th Infantry Division at Ch'unch'ŏn in central Korea.

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.


June 25, 0600

Long fearful of aggression from the north, the Republic of Korea had built field fortifications along the 38th parallel, but the lightly armed South Korean soldiers proved no match for the Communists. By 0600 hours columns of North Korean infantry, spearheaded by Soviet-built T-34 tanks, drove through the ROK lines toward Kaesŏng in the west and the ROK 6th Infantry Division at Ch'unch'ŏn in central Korea.

On the east coast, south of Kangnung, a motley but effective collection of small boats and junks set Red troops ashore. To U.S. Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) field advisers serving with the ROK forces, the Communist assault looked real enough from its outset, but many times before this Red Korean raiding parties had crossed the border. Accustomed to such Communist terror tactics. American observers hesitated to report all-out aggression until they were sure of their facts. 

July 15, 1950
The battles in the mountains between the North and South Koreans in July were often bitter and bloody with losses high on both sides. One of the most critical and protracted of these began about the middle of the month near Mun'gyŏng between the N.K. 1st Division and the ROK 6th Division for control of the Mun'gyŏng pass and plateau.


Fought in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.

October 23, 1950


The 6th Division, meeting little opposition and traveling fast up the Chongchon River valley, reached Huich'ŏn, nearly sixteen miles north of Kujang-dong, on the night of October 23, 1950. Passing through Onjong, twenty-six miles from Huich'ŏn, during the night of the twenty-fourth, the 7th Regiment, 6th Division, turned north and advanced toward Chosan, fifty miles away on the Yalu River. A reinforced reconnaissance platoon from the 7th Regiment entered Chosan the next morning and found the North Koreans retreating across the Yalu into China over a narrow floating footbridge.

October 25, 1950


On October 25, in the ROK II Corps sector, the 3d Battalion, 2d Regiment, 6th Division, started northwest from Onjong, about fifty miles from the Yalu, toward Pukchin. Eight miles west of Onjong the 3d Battalion encountered what was thought to be a small force of North Koreans but was, in reality, a Communist Chinese forces (CCF) trap, in which CCF troops destroyed the 3d Battalion as an organized force.

October 26, 1950

 On the evening of the next day the division ordered its 7th Regiment to withdraw south.

October 28, 1950

Before it could do so, however, it needed supplies, which were airdropped on the twenty-eighth. As the 7th Regiment headed south the following morning, it ran into an enemy roadblock about twenty miles south of Kojang.

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 26, 1950


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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. Late in the day the ROK reserve regiment arrived from Wŏnju. A factor of importance in Ch'unch'ŏn's defense was that no passes had been issued to ROK personnel and the positions there were fully manned when the attack came.

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The battle for Ch'unch'ŏn was going against the North Koreans. From dug-in concrete pillboxes on the high ridge just north of the town the ROK 6th Division continued to repel the enemy attack. The failure of the N.K. 2nd Division to capture Ch'unch'ŏn the first day, as ordered, caused the N.K. II Corps to change the attack plans of the N.K. 7th Division. This division had started from the Inje area, 30 miles farther east, for Hongch'ŏn, an important town southeast of Ch'unch'ŏn. The II Corps now diverted it to Ch'unch'ŏn, which it reached on the evening of 26 June. There the 7th Division immediately joined its forces with the 2nd Division in the battle for the city.

Apparently there were no enemy tanks in the Ch'unch'ŏn battle until the 7th Division arrived.

June 26, 1950

  Korean_War

The American advisers to the ROK 8th Division assembled at Kangnung on 26 June and helped the division commander prepare withdrawal plans. The 10th Regiment was still delaying the enemy advance near the border.

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The plan agreed upon called for the 8th Division to withdraw inland across the Taebaek Range and establish contact with the ROK 6th Division, if possible, in the central mountain corridor, and then to move south toward Pusan by way of Tanyang Pass. The American advisers left Kangnung that night and drove southwest to Wŏnju where they found the command post of the ROK 6th Division. [03-38]