Unit Details

Capital Mechanized Infantry Division (Republic of Korea)

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The Capital Division was actually an infantry division and later deployed as a frontline formation.
Had it been assigned a number it would have been the 10th Division.


Capital Guard Command, Sŏul & Ongjin

Division Organization

CG Col. Lee Chong Chan, CO


G-1 Personnel

G-2 Intelligence

G-3 Plan sand Operations Lieutenant Colonel Powhida

G-4 Logistics




Capital Division

Active 20 June 1948 - present
Country Republic of Korea
Branch Republic of Korea Army
Type Mechanized infantry division
Role Offensive force
Part of VII Corps
Nickname Maengho (Tiger)
Engagements Korean War

Vietnam War
The Capital Mechanized Infantry Division (수도기계화보병사단), also known as Tiger Division (맹호사단), is currently one of the five mechanized infantry divisions in the Republic of Korea Army. It is part of the VII Corps, 3rd ROK Army (TROKA), tasked with covering approaches to Sŏul from North Korea and counterattack operations.
This division saw extensive combat both during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where it was despatched in September 1965, as a part of the Republic of Korea's contribution to the South Vietnamese war effort. The 1965 deployment became possible when in August of that year the Republic of Korea's National Assembly passed a bill authorizing the action. Recently, elements of this division were sent as Republic of Korea's contribution to the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq.

Korean War

The Capital Division was a military formation of the Republic of Korea Army during the 20th Century. It was formed June 20, 1948 from the Capital Security Command. Included in the new division was the 1st Cavalry Regiment which was equipped with twenty-four M8 and M20 armored cars plus twelve M3 halftracks.[1]

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.[2]


On June 25, 1950 The Capital Division at Sŏul was not included in the counterattack plan because it was not considered tactical and had no artillery. It had served chiefly as a "spit and polish" organization, with its cavalry regiment acting as a "palace guard."

On September 16, 1950, in the I Corps sector, elements of the Capital Division fought their way through the streets of Angang-ni. The next day, advancing from the west in the II Corps sector, a battalion of the 7th Division linked up with elements of the Capital Division, closing a two-week-old gap between the ROK I and II Corps. The NKPA’s 12th Division waged a series of stubborn delaying actions against the Capital Division in the vicinity of Kigye as the North Koreans retreated northward into the mountains. Kigye fell back under South Korean control on September 22, 1950.[3]

On September 29, a message, dropped from a light plane by an officer with the Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea, was delivered to the U.S. adviser to the ROK 3rd Division, Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich. According to the message, the ROK 3rd Division was to cross the 38th Parallel and proceed to Wŏnsan as soon as possible. The next day the division crossed the parallel and advanced up the east coast. The Capital Division followed. After establishing command posts at Yangyang, eight miles (13 km) north of the parallel, on October 2, both divisions proceeded to Wŏnsan and captured the town on the tenth, well before the X Corps had landed.

On October 17, 1950, the Capital Division captures Hamhung and its port, Hungnam.[4]

On October 28, 1950, in far northeast Korea, a"flying column" from the Capital Division captures Sŏngjin, 105 miles (169 km) northeast of Hungnam. Meanwhile the Capital Division's 1st Regiment approached Pungsan, a town inland approximately half way between the coast and Korea-China border on Iwon-CInch'ŏng-ni-Hyesanjin road.

Vietnam War

The Capital Division arrived in South Vietnam on September 22, 1965. The Division was deployed just outside of Qui Nhon in Binh Dinh province, from where it could protect vital arteries such as Route 1 and Route 19, as well as rice-growing areas and foothills to the north and west.[5]

The 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was stationed in the Qui Nhon area prior to the arrival of the Capital Division and gradually turned over responsibility for the area during October 1965.[6]

By June 1966 the Capital Division controlled all the area north of Qui Nhon to the east of Route 1 and up to the base of Phu Cat Mountain. It extended its control also to the north and south of Route 19 up to the pass leading into An Khe. Working south along Highway 1 down toward Tuy Hoa and within the Binh Dinh Province, the Division sent out reconnaissance parties and carried out small operations as far south as the border between Binh Dinh Province and Phu Yen Province.[7]

Korean soldiers that volunteered for service in Vietnam were given bonuses: they would “receive credit for three years of military duty for each year served in Vietnam as well as additional monetary entitlements; further, combat duty would enhance their future Army careers.”

All the ROKA units sent to Vietnam (the Tiger Division, White Horse Division and (Blue Dragon) Brigade) were chosen because they were considered to have the longest and best records from the Korean War.

The Tigers were considered uncanny for their ability to search territory and smoke out enemy soldiers and weapons. They would plan operations meticulously and sometimes even rehearse it beforehand. The soldiers would seal off a relatively small area, no more than 9 or 10 square kilometers. Troops would be brought in by air and land, but would arrive at the same time to maximize the chokehold. Slowly but surely the cordon would be tightened, and everyone and everything would be searched. Civilians were separated and interrogated, routinely offered rewards if they cooperated. It was not unusual for an area to be searched three or four times by different platoons. To prevent enemy breakouts, the Koreans had special reaction forces that could plug holes in the perimeter. General William R. Peers considered the Koreans the best at these so-called "cordon and search operations."

The Division returned home March 11, 1973.
Significant operations and actions involving the Division include:

Operation Flying Tiger VI, a search and destroy operation with the ARVN in Binh Dinh Province from 9 to 11 January 1966 kills 192 VC for the loss of 11 ROK[8]
Operation Masher-White Wing/Thang Phong II, a 1st Regiment search and destroy operation with the 1st Cavalry Division and ARVN 22nd Division and Airborne Brigade in Binh Dinh Province from 24 January to 6 March 1966 results in 2232 VC killed, 10 ROK are killed[9]
Tay Vinh massacre between February 12, 1966 and March 17, 1966 in Binh Dinh Province.
Go Dai massacre on 26 February 1966 in Binh Dinh Province.
Operation Mang Ho V, a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh Province from 23 to 27 March 1966 results in 349 VC killed for the loss of 17 ROK[8]
Operation Su Bok in Binh Dinh Province from 26 March to 23 September 1966 results in 299 VC killed and 88 weapons captured for the loss of 23 ROK[8]
Operation Bun Kae 66-5 in Binh Dinh Province from 2 to 13 April 1966 results in 292 VC killed for the loss of 23 ROK[8]
Operation Bun Kae 66-7 between the Vinh Thanh and Soui Ca Valleys of Binh Dinh Province from 16 May to 5 June 1966, in conjunction with the 1st Cavalry Division (Operation Crazy Horse) and ARVN results in 501 VC killed[8]
Operation Bun Kae 66-9 in Pleiku Province from 9 July until mid August 1966 results in 106 VC killed for the loss of 7 ROK[8]
Operation Mang Ho VI, a search and destroy operation with the 1st Cavalry Division and ARVN 22nd Division in Binh Dinh Province from 2 to 24 October 1966 results in 240 VC killed[8]
Operation Mang Ho VIII, a search and clear operation along Route 1 in Phu Yen Province from 3 to 31 January 1967 results in 150 VC killed[10]
Operation Pershing, a search and destroy operation with the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and ARVN 22nd Division in Binh Dinh Province from 12 February 1967 to 19 January 1968 results in 5401 NVA/VC killed[11]
Operation Oh Kak Kyo, to link up the Division's tactical area of responsibility with the 9th Infantry Division in Phu Yen Province from 8 March to 18 April 1967 results in 831 VC killed and 659 weapons captured for the loss of 23 ROK[12]
Operation Hong Kil Dong, with the 9th Infantry Division in Tuy Hoa Province from 9 July to 21 August 1967, kills 638 NVA for the loss of 26 ROK. 98 crew-served and 359 individual weapons were captured[13]
Operation Mang Ho IX, a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh Province from 17 December 1967 to 31 January 1968 results in 749 VC killed[9]
Battle near Phu Cat from 23–29 January results in 278 NVA killed for the loss of 11 ROKA. The U.S Army manual on Korean participation in Vietnam states that "[a]n analysis of the action clearly illustrates the Korean technique. After contact with an enemy force... the Koreans reacting swiftly...deployed six companies in an encircling maneuver and trapped the enemy force in their cordon. The Korean troops gradually tightened the circle, fighting the enemy during the day and maintaining their tight cordon at night, thus preventing the enemy's escape. At the conclusion of the sixth day of fighting, 278 NVA had been KIA with the loss of just 11 Koreans, a kill ratio of 25.3 to 1.[14]
Operation Mang Ho X, a search and destroy operation in Binh Dinh Province from 16 February to 1 March 1968 results in 664 VC killed[9]
Operation Baek Ma 9 (Korean for white horse) from 11 October to 4 November 1968 results in 382 NVA killed and the NVA 7th Battalion, 18th Regiment, rendered ineffective. During this operation, on 25 October, the eighteenth anniversary of the Division, 204 of the enemy were killed without the loss of a single Korean soldier.[14]
Order of battle during Vietnam War
Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters Company
Cavalry Regiment, composed of three infantry battalions
1st Infantry Regiment, composed of three infantry battalions
26th Infantry Regiment, composed of three infantry battalions
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery
10th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
60th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
61st Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
628th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
Divisional Engineer Battalion
Armor company
Reconnaissance Company
Signal Company
Military Police Company
Medical Company
Ordnance Company
Quartermaster Company
Replacement Company
Aviation Section
Unit statistics for the Vietnam War
Start Date End Date Deployed Combat KIA WIA
Officer Non-officer Total Large Small Total Officer Non-officer Total Officer Non-officer Total
October 22, 1965 March 7, 1973 7,652 107,340 114,992 521 174,586 175,107 186 1,925 2,111 246 4,228 4,474
US Units that served alongside the Tiger Division were numerous and included:
9th Division Black Panthers. 504th Military Police Battalion, C Company
Current Status
The Tiger Division was reorganized in 1980s to parallel the reorganization taking place in United States Army at the same time. The "regiments" of the older organization were replaced by "brigades," consisting of both armor and mechanized infantry components. The 1st and Cavalry regiments were reorganized to include two mechanized infantry battalions and an armored battalion each, while the 26th regiment became an armored brigade with two armored battalions and a mechanized infantry battalion.
Current Order of Battle
1 Brigade (Mechanized Infantry)
Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized Infantry)
26 Brigade (Armored)
Division Artillery Brigade
Signal Battalion
Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
Combat Engineer Battalion
Air Defense Artillery Battalion
Support Battalion
Medical Battalion
Chemical Battalion
Prince Yi Seok of the defunct Korean Imperial Household volunteered and served as an enlisted man in a regiment in the Division[citation needed].
8th Battalion, 26th Armored Brigade, Tiger Division, was the first unit to receive the K-1 MBT in 1988.
The Tiger Division is mentioned in the book Chickenhawk, by Robert Mason.
See also
Republic of Korea Armed Forces
Republic of Korea Army
Korean War
Vietnam War
2nd Marine Brigade
9th Infantry Division
^ North Korea Invades
^ The Korean War: The Outbreak
^ The Korean War: The UN Offensive
^ ADVANCE INTO NORTH KOREA October 1 to November 22, 1950
^ Larsen, Stanley (1985). Allied Participation in Vietnam. Department of the Army. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4102-2501-6.
^ Larsen, p. 135
^ Larsen, p. 136
^ a b c d e f g http://www.dcbsoftware.com/ccSEA/Chronology/MACV_1966.html
^ a b c http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/resources/operations/operations.txt
^ http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/star/images/107/1070203004.pdf
^ http://www.flyarmy.org/panel/battle/67021200.HTM
^ http://calldp.leavenworth.army.mil/eng_mr/txts/VOL48/00000001/art6.pdf
^ http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/star/images/107/1070204003.pdf
^ a b "Vietnam Studies: Allied Participation in Vietnam, Chapter VI: The Republic of Korea." page 148.
External links
ROMAD with Korean Tiger Division, DASF's No's 1-7 listed with photos
Photo of Commanding General of ROKF-V, LTG. Chae Myung Shin
Photo of a Forward Observation Post (OP) of the 6th Company, ROK Blue Dragon Marine Corp.(2)-Vietnam 1970

June 25, 1950 1430


Acting in accordance with plans previously prepared, it began moving reserves to the north of Sŏul for a counterattack in the vital Uijŏngbu Corridor. The ROK 2nd Division at Taejŏn was the first of the divisions distant from the Parallel to move toward the battle front. The first train with division headquarters and elements of the 5th Regiment left Taejŏn for Sŏul at 1430, 25 June, accompanied by their American advisers.


By dark, parts of the 5th Division were on their way north from Kwangju in southwest Korea.


The 22nd Regiment, the 3rd Engineer Battalion, and the 57-mm. antitank company of the ROK 3rd Division also started north from Taegu that night.


During the 25th, Capt. James W. Hausman, KMAG adviser with General Chae, ROK Army Chief of Staff, had accompanied the latter on two trips from Sŏul to the Uijŏngbu area. General Chae, popularly known as the "fat boy," weighed 245 pounds, and was about 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Korean_War Korean_War

General Chae's plan, it developed, was to launch a counterattack in the Uijŏngbu Corridor the next morning with the 7th Division attacking on the left along the Tongduch'ŏn-ni road out of Uijŏngbu, and with the 2nd Division on the right on the P'och'on road. In preparing for this, General Chae arranged to move the elements of the 7th Division defending the P'och'on road west to the Tongduch'ŏn-ni road, concentrating that division there, and turn over to the 2nd Division the P'och'on road sector. But the 2nd Division would only begin to arrive in the Uijŏngbu area during the night. It would be impossible to assemble and transport the main body of the division from Taejŏn, ninety miles below Sŏul, to the front above Uijŏngbu and deploy it there by the next morning.


Brig. Gen. Lee Hyung Koon, commander of the 2nd Division, objected to Chae's plan. It meant that he would have to attack piecemeal with small elements of his division. He wanted to defer the counterattack until he could get all, or the major part, of his division forward. Captain Hausman agreed with his view. But General Chae overruled these objections and ordered the attack for the morning of 26 June.


The Capital Division at Sŏul was not included in the counterattack plan because it was not considered tactical and had no artillery. It had served chiefly as a "spit and polish" organization, with its cavalry regiment acting as a "palace guard."

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]


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.