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CG Col. Lee Jung Il, CO
G-3 Plan sand Operations Lieutenant Colonel Powhida
8th Infantry Division
Active Formed June 20, 1949
Country Republic of Korea
Type Infantry (Mechanized)
The 8th Infantry Division was a military formation of the Republic of Korea Army during the 20th Century.
October 28, 1948
The unit comprises the 10th, 16th and 21st Regiments. The 16th Infantry Regiment was originally activated as the 16th Regiment on October 28, 1948 at Masan and was first commanded by Lt. Col. Park Shi Ch'ang (Korean: 박시창).
June 25, 1950 0500
On the east coast across the high Taebaek Range from Inje, the last major concentration of North Korean troops awaited the attack hour. There the NKPA 5th Division, the 766th Independent Unit, and some guerrilla units were poised to cross the Parallel.
On the south side of the border the 10th Regiment of the ROK 8th Division held defensive positions. But not quite, the division was scattered all over South Korea.
The ROK division headquarters was at Kangnung, some fifteen miles down the coast; the division's second regiment, the 21st, was stationed at Samch'ŏk, about twenty-five miles farther south. Only a small part of the 21st Regiment actually was at Samch'ŏk on 25 June, however, as two of its battalions were engaged in anti-guerrilla action southward in the Taebaek Mountains. [03-35]
The division's 3rd regiment the 16th was assigned to the ROK 2nd Division at Taejŏn at this time.
On the opposite side [East] 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.
It became part of I Corps after the first fall of Sŏul. Was part of the defensive line to slow the North Korean advance from Sŏul to Taejon. Fought in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter.
October 23, 1950
Supporting the Eighth United States Army advance towards China, the 24th Division and the attached British 27th Brigade positioned on the left, proceeded to the Ch'ŏngch'ŏn'gang; the ROK II Corps, with the ROK 1st Division, advanced on the right. To the east the 8th Division reached Tŏkch'ŏn, forty miles north of P'yŏngyang, during the night of October 23, and then turned north and arrived at Kujang-dong on the Ch'ŏngch'ŏn'gang River, about ten miles from Tŏkch'ŏn, two days later.
October 31, 1950
After the Chinese intervention in the war, Chinese troops broke the defences of its 16th Regiment during the battle on October 31, 1950.
After the Chinese intervention and attacks in November 1950, the division was among five allied formations (including the ROK 6th, 7th, and 8th Divisions) that the U.S. Army judged 'were shattered units that would need extensive rest and refitting to recover combat effectiveness.'
June 25, 0600
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]
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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 26, 1950
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.
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]