Unit Details

Task Force Bradley

From 8 August 1950 thru August 20, 1950

From September 1, 1950 thru xxxx

August 8  Johnnie Walker decided not to commit it directly into hard combat. Instead, he ordered that the 3/9, plus one of Keith's 15th FAB batteries, a company of Shermans of the 72nd Tank Battalion, engineers of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, and other forces, be sent to guard the FEAF airfield at Yŏnil, near P'ohang. This task force was commanded by the ADC, Sladen Bradley, and Chin Sloane. "Called Task Force Bradley"

The Department of the Army notified General MacArthur on 10 July that it planned to ship these battalions to the Far East as the quickest way it could devise of getting medium tanks and trained crews to the battlefield.

Ships carrying these three tank battalions sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and arrived at Pusan on 7 August.

 The tank battalions unloaded the next day [8/8].

 

August 8, 1950

No doubt owing to the perceived problems in Champeny's 24th Infantry, Eighth Army did not fully trust the 3/9. Upon its arrival in Pusan, Johnnie Walker decided not to commit it directly into hard combat. Instead, he ordered that the 3/9, plus one of Keith's 15th FAB batteries, a company of Shermans of the 72nd Tank Battalion, engineers of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, and other forces, be sent to guard the FEAF airfield at Yŏnil, near P'ohang. This task force was commanded by the ADC, Sladen Bradley, and Chin Sloane. "Called Task Force Bradley" In this way the 3/9 was introduced to combat in Korea gradually and the Hill-Sloane command problem was temporarily postponed. However, the deletion of the 3/9 left the 9th Infantry with merely two infantry battalions (and two supporting artillery batteries), a composition that would considerably penalize and confuse its leaders, who were accustomed to the standard three battalion formation.[7-64]

August 9, 1950

Just after daylight, at 0500 on 9 August, a great explosion rocked the area of the bridge. The commanding officer of the ROK 22d Regiment had ordered the bridge blown without securing approval from Major Britton. About 350 ROK soldiers of the regiment were still north of the Osip-ch'on when the bridge dropped. Many of these soldiers drowned in trying to cross the deep estuary flowing into the Japan Sea. The ROK division chief of staff demanded that the regimental commander be relieved or he would court martial him and place him before a firing squad. The Korean Army relieved the regimental commander at once. The blowing of the Kanggu-dong bridge compelled the withdrawal southward of the ROK command post to Changsa-dong on the afternoon of 9 August to escape enemy artillery fire.

As soon as Eighth Army learned that enemy forces had cut off the ROK 3d Division above P'ohang-dong, General Walker instructed Colonel Emmerich to meet him at Yonil Airfield. Emmerich radioed to the American cruiser Helena, offshore, for a helicopter to fly him to the airstrip, where he met General Walker, General Partridge, and Brig. Gen. Francis W. Farrell, Chief of KMAG.

General Walker instructed Emmerich to have the ROK 3d Division hold in place around Changsa-dong, twenty miles north of P'ohang-dong, and to prevent the enemy 5th Division from moving its tanks and artillery down the road to the P'ohang area. If enemy tanks and artillery got through on the coastal road they would render Yonil Airfield untenable. Emmerich returned at once to Changsa-dong and relayed the orders to Brig. Gen. Kim Suk Won, the ROK 3d Division's new commander. The division then went into a perimeter defense extending along the coast from a point four miles north of Changsa-dong to a point seven miles south of the town. [18-11]

August 10, 1950

On 10 August N.K. 5th Division soldiers infiltrated around the ROK 3d Division and cut the coastal road below it at Hunghae, five miles north of P'ohang-dong. The ROK 3d Division was virtually surrounded on that date. [18-10]

The sudden appearance of strong enemy army units near P'ohang-dong on 10 August surprised many American officers, including General Walker. He had just asked General Farrell if the ROK troops in the east would need American help to assure the defense of P'ohang-dong and Yonil Airfield. Farrell had advised Walker that the ROK troops would be able to protect these places. This opinion reflected that prevailing at the time-that the North Koreans would not be able to move through the mountains in sufficient strength to make an effective attack on P'ohang-dong from the rear. [18-12]

After his conference with  Colonel Emmerich at Yonil Airfield, General Walker returned to Taegu. From there he sent an order by courier at 1735 to Maj. Gen. Lawrence B. Keiser, commanding the U.S. 2d Division at Kyongsan, to move the remaining elements of the 8th Regiment from that point to Yonil Airfield at once. This task force was to be commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph S. Bradley, Assistant Division Commander, 2d Division. Task Force Bradley was to report directly to General Walker. [18-13]

[18-13] As finally constituted, Task Force Bradley comprised the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry; Tank Company, 9th Infantry; A Company, 2d
Engineer Combat Battalion; A Battery, 82d Antiaircraft Artillery
(Automatic Weapons) Battalion; C Battery, 15th Field Artillery
Battalion; 3d Platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 8th Infantry; and medical
and signal detachments. EUSAK WD, 10 Aug 50, Msg at 101735, CG EUSAK to CG 2d Div; Ibid., POR 87, 10 Aug 50; Ibid., Briefing for CG, 10 Aug 50;
1st Lt Robert J. Teitelbaum, Debriefing Rpt 47, Arty School, Ft. Sill,
Okla., 14 Dec 51; 82d AAA Bn WD, Summ, Aug 50; Ltr, Lt Col D. M.
McMains to author, 27 May 53 (McMains commanded the 3d Bn, 9th Inf of TF Bradley); Rpt, The Korean Campaign, Arty School Rep, Army Field Forces Observer Team 2.

This task force moved toward P'ohang-dong and Yonil after dark, 10 August, over the main road through Kyongju. The command group and the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry, except K Company, reached Yonil Airfield shortly before midnight and General Bradley assumed responsibility for the ground defense of the airstrip.

August 11, 1950

Ten miles north of Kyongju and at a point about a mile east of An'gang-ni, the road bent sharply right in the Hyongsan-gang valley toward P'ohang-dong, seven miles eastward. Just after making this turn the road swung around the base of a steep mountain which crowded it close against the river near the village of Tongnam-ni. Company K and four vehicles of C Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, were ambushed at this point at 0120, 11 August. Enemy fire suddenly hit the driver of the leading truck and his vehicle swerved, blacking the road. Automatic weapons fire swept over the column, bringing death and destruction. The K Company convoy fell into confusion. As many men as could fled back toward Kyongju; approximately 120o members of the company, including two officers, reached the town. [18-14]

Learning of the ambush, General Bradley at Yonil Airfield ordered I Company to return to An'gang-ni, to K Company's rescue. West of P'ohang-dong it, too, was ambushed. Informed by radio of this second ambush, Bradley sent two MPG vehicles, with their heavy armament of four .50-caliber machine guns each, to the scene. All but about twenty-five men of I Company got back to the airfield during the day. [18-15]

At the K Company ambush casualties were greater. By afternoon, 7 dead and at least 4o wounded were reported. About 25 members of C Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, were also lost in this ambush. The enemy soldiers who had cut the road west of P'ohang-dong the night of 10-11 August and staged these ambushes apparently were from the 766th Independent Regiment. This regiment, leaving the 5th Division in the vicinity of Yongdok, had come in behind P'ohang-dong by way of mountain trails.

August 11, 1950

In the early afternoon, 11 August, General Walker ordered the Tank Company, 9th Infantry, which had stopped at Kyongju to wait upon repair of a damaged bridge, to proceed to the Yonil Airfield. He also ordered the ROK 17th Regiment released from Task Force P'ohang and to proceed from An'gang-ni to the airstrip. [18-16]

 

During July the North Koreans made no serious offensive in the mountains of the east coast front, where ROK troops managed to contain the NKPA 5th Division. Early in August, however, the enemy began massing north of Yŏngdök, while guerrillas formed in the mountains inland from P'ohang. By 11 August these irregular troops were down upon the town and airfield at P'ohang, objectives of great importance but inadequately defended by Task Force Bradley, a holding force of an infantry battalion, an artillery battery, and a company of tanks. While the North Koreans never managed to secure control in this vicinity, General Partridge had no choice but to withdraw air units from the new base at P'ohang, thus reducing his Korean-based air force by half. General Partridge had cautioned EUSAK on 4 August that loss of P'ohang would adversely affect air support, but EUSAK, threatened on the Naktong, could respond but feebly to the danger.

[note]

Ten miles north of Kyŏngju and at a point about a mile east of An'gang-ni, the road bent sharply right [East] in the Hyŏngsan-ni,-gang valley toward P'ohang-dong, seven miles eastward. Just after making this turn the road swung around the base of a steep mountain which crowded it close against the river near the village of Tongnam-ni.

Company K and four vehicles of C Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, were ambushed at this point at 0120, 11 August. Enemy fire suddenly hit the driver of the leading truck and his vehicle swerved, blocking the road. Automatic weapons fire swept over the column, bringing death and destruction. The K Company convoy fell into confusion. As many men as could fled back toward Kyŏngju; approximately 120 members of the company, including two officers, reached the town. [18-14]

August 8  Johnnie Walker decided not to commit it directly into hard combat. Instead, he ordered that the 3/9, plus one of Keith's 15th FAB batteries, a company of Shermans of the 72nd Tank Battalion, engineers of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, and other forces, be sent to guard the FEAF airfield at Yŏnil, near P'ohang. This task force was commanded by the ADC, Sladen Bradley, and Chin Sloane. "Called Task Force Bradley"

 

Learning of the ambush, Sladen Bradley at Yŏnil Airfield ordered I Company to return to An'gang-ni, to K Company's rescue. West of P'ohang-dong it, too, was ambushed. Informed by radio of this second ambush, Bradley sent two MPG vehicles, with their heavy armament of four .50-caliber machine guns each, to the scene. All but about twenty-five men of I Company got back to the airfield during the day.[18-15]

At the K Company ambush casualties were greater. By afternoon, 7 dead and at least 40 wounded were reported. About 25 members of C Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, were also lost in this ambush.

The enemy soldiers who had cut the road west of P'ohang-dong the night of 10-11 August and staged these ambushes apparently were from the 766th Independent Regiment. This regiment, leaving the 5th Division in the vicinity of Yŏngdök, had come in behind P'ohang-dong by way of mountain trails.

   Bio

 

In the early afternoon, 11 August, Johnnie Walker ordered the Tank Company, 9th Infantry, which had stopped at Kyŏngju to wait upon repair of a damaged bridge, to proceed to the Yŏnil Airfield. He also ordered the ROK 17th Regiment released from Task Force P'ohang and to proceed from An'gang-ni, to the airstrip. [18-16]

Aerial reconnaissance showed the K Company ambush site was still held by enemy troops. Well aware of this, Captain Darrigo, KMAG adviser with the ROK 17th Regiment at An'gang-ni, volunteered to lead an armored patrol through to P'ohang-dong and Yŏnil. Darrigo rode the first of five tanks. Four F-51 fighter planes took off from Yŏnil Airfield and delivered a strike on the enemy positions at the ambush site just as the tanks arrived there. This air strike flushed enemy troops from concealment at just the right moment. Tank machine gun fire killed many of them; in one group about seventy North Koreans were caught in the open. This tank column arrived at Yŏnil Airfield about 2030, 11 August, and were the first tanks to reach the airstrip. They were immediately placed in the perimeter defense. Darrigo was the same officer who had escaped from Kaesong at dawn, 25 June, when the North Koreans began their attack across the 38th Parallel. One who saw this courageous 30-year-old soldier when he arrived at Yŏnil said he looked to be fifty. [18-17]

 

While these events were taking place behind and to the east of it, Task Force P'ohang attacked north from the An'gang-ni area the morning of 11 August.

 (Map 12) It came to grief almost at once. At one place the enemy annihilated two companies of the ROK 25th Regiment. The task force, and also the ROK Capital Division, lost ground. The day was blazing hot. Great dust clouds hung over the roads. Fighter planes shuttled constantly from Yŏnil Airfield to the numerous nearby points where enemy troops were active, trying to stabilize the situation. One pilot, speaking of that day, said, "I barely had my wheels up before I started my strafing runs." But it was not all one-sided for the fighter planes.

The day before, enemy small arms and machine gun fire had shot down four of them. By evening of 11 August, North Korean patrols reportedly were operating three miles south of P'ohang-dong.

Eighth Army during the day ordered the ROK forces in the east to fall back to new positions during the nights of 12 and 13 August. [18-18]

The main enemy force encountered by Task Force P'ohang on 11 August seems to have been advance elements of the 12th Division. This division had now crossed the mountains from Andong and was debouching at Kigye into the valley west of P'ohang-dong. There, in a series of battles, fought by the North Koreans almost entirely with automatic weapons and small arms, the 12th Division drove back the ROK Capital Division and Task Force P'ohang. In this series of action the 12th lost about 800 casualties, according to prisoner reports. [18-19]

That night, 11 August, the fighter planes at Yŏnil flew to another airfield for security, but returned the next day. From hills to the south and southwest of the airstrip enemy troops delivered long-range, ineffective fire against it. Even though this fire did no damage, it created a state of alarm. The next day, 12 August, 28-year-old Colonel Kim Hi Chun, acting on General Walker's orders, in a successful attack eastward from An'gang-ni, led his ROK 17th Regiment into Yŏnil, greatly to the relief of everyone there. Enemy forces first entered P'ohang-dong on 10 or 11 August. ROK sources reported on the 11th that an estimated 300 enemy soldiers from the 766th Independent Regiment and the 5th Division had entered the town and seized the railroad station. But they did not remain there more than a few hours. Naval gunfire and aerial strikes drove them out to seek comparative safety in the nearby hills. The town of P'ohang-dong now became a no man's land. Patrols from ROK and North Korean units entered the town at night but neither side held it. The battle swirled around it on the adjacent hills. [18-20]

 

[note]

August 12, 1950

The 6th Medium Tank Battalion served as Eighth Army reserve near Taegu in August; the 70th joined the 1st Cavalry Division on 12 August; and the 73rd on army orders sent its companies to support various ground operations around the Pusan Perimeter -

A Company to Ulsan guarding the eastern main supply route,

B Company to Task Force Bradley at Yŏngju and Kigye, and

C Company to the 27th Infantry in the Bowling Alley north of Taegu.

[note]

 

August 13, 1950

The fighting in the vicinity of P'ohang-dong between North and South Koreans became a dog-eat-dog affair. Both sides lost heavily. The ROK's renewed their attack on 13 August when the 17th Regiment, reverting to control of the Capital Division, drove forward, supported by U.S. artillery and tanks from Task Force Bradley, to the hills north of P'ohang-dong.

[note]

 

 

July 16, 1950

July 10, 23, 28 Aug 7, 8, 16

After the Russian-built T34 tank appeared on the Korean battlefield, the Department of the Army acted as quickly as possible to correct the imbalance in armor. It alerted three medium tank battalions for immediate movement to Korea. These battalions were the 6th (M46), the 70th (M26 and M4A3), and the 73rd (M26).

Two of them were the school troop battalions of the Armored School at Fort Knox and of the Infantry School at Fort Benning; the third was the organic battalion of the 1st Armored Division.

The Department of the Army notified General MacArthur on 10 July that it planned to ship these battalions to the Far East as the quickest way it could devise of getting medium tanks and trained crews to the battlefield.

Ships carrying these three tank battalions sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and arrived at Pusan on 7 August.

The tank battalions unloaded the next day [8/8].

For further reinforcement of Eighth Army, the SS Luxembourg Victory departed San Francisco on 28 July with eighty medium tanks in its cargo.

Still more armor reinforcements arrived on 16 August, when the 72nd Medium Tank Battalion, organic to the 2nd Infantry Division, landed at Pusan.

The 2nd Division also had two regimental tank companies. [12]

Ships carrying these three tank battalions [6th (M46), the 70th (M26 and M4A3), and the 73rd (M26)] sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and

[note]

August 20, 1950 Dessolved

The next day the [ROK] 3rd Infantry Division relieved Task Force Min and attacked to selected positions five and a half miles north of P'ohang-dong. The Capital Division also made additional gains north of Kigye.

That day, 20 August, Eighth Army by radio order dissolved Task Force Bradley and re-designated the force at Yŏnil Airfield the 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry, Reinforced. This same day, with the emergency in the east temporarily ended, Task Force P'ohang was dissolved, and Task Force Min moved west to a position between the ROK 1st and 6th Divisions. [18-33]

A ROK Army dispatch on 20 August claimed that its forces in the P'ohang area from 17 August on had killed 3,800 and captured 181 North Koreans. It also claimed the capture of 20 artillery pieces, 11 light mortars, 21 82-mm. mortars, 160 machine guns, 557 U.S. M1 rifles and 381 Japanese rifles. [18-34]

[18-34] New York Times, August 21, 1950.

 

Since about the end of July, the greater part of the N.K. 12th Division had been armed with the U.S. M1 rifle and the U.S. carbine. There was an adequate supply of ammunition for these weapons, but not always available at the front. The Japanese 99 rifles and ammunition with which the division was originally armed were turned in to the division supply dump at the end of July, when the supply of American arms captured from ROK units enabled the division to substitute them.

Not the least important of the factors that brought about the defeat of the North Koreans at P'ohang-dong and in the Kigye area in mid-August was the near exhaustion of the 12th Division after its passage through the mountains south of Andong, and its lack of artillery and food supply. One captured officer of the division said his unit received no food after 12 August, and for five days thereafter up to the time of his capture had only eaten what the men could forage at night in the villages. His men, he said, became physically so exhausted that they were no longer combat effective. A captured sergeant of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, said that of 630 men in his battalion only 20 survived on 18 August. In the 2nd Regiment, according to a captured captain, no battalion averaged more than 250 men on 17 August. He said there was no resupply of ammunition from the rear. [18-35]

When the N.K. 12th Division reached P'ohang-dong it was like a rubber band stretched to its uttermost limit. It must either break or rebound. The North Korean system of logistics simply could not supply these troops in the Kigye-P'ohang-dong area.  

[note]

 

August 31, 1950

 

From ????????

 

Southward, in the Yongsan area, General Keiser placed Brig. Gen. Joseph S. Bradley, Assistant Division Commander, in charge of the 9th Infantry Regiment, the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion, most of the 72d Tank Battalion, and other miscellaneous units of the division. This southern grouping was known as Task Force Bradley.

All three regiments of the enemy 2d Division-the 4th, 17th, and 6th, in line from north to south-crossed during the night to the east side of the Naktong River into the 23d Regiment sector.

The enemy 2d Division, concentrated in the Sinban-ni area west of the river, had, in effect, attacked straight east across the river and was trying to seize the two avenues of advance into Ch'angnyŏng above and below Lake Up'o.

September 1, 1950

Task Force Haynes became operational at 1020, 1 September. [23-31] Southward, in the Yongsan area, General Keiser placed Brig. Gen. Joseph S. Bradley, Assistant Division Commander, in charge of the 9th Infantry Regiment, the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion, most of the 72d Tank Battalion, and other miscellaneous units of the division. This southern grouping was known as Task Force Bradley.