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. . . to Those Who Served


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Foreword

This volume completes the general survey of combat operations in


Korea that began with the publication in 1960 of Roy Appleman's South to
the Naktong, North to the Yalu. It will be followed by a study of theater
logistics and an order of battle which, along with the recently published
Medics' War, will comprise the series of official Army histories of America's
so-called forgotten war.
Ebb and Flow records an important chapter in the Korean War. It
begins with the last weeks of the pell-mell rush of United Nations forces
to the Chinese border and goes on to describe in great detail the test of
American military leadership and resources posed by the taxing retreat
of the Eighth Army and X Corps across the frozen wastes of North
Korea. It also examines the special problems posed to a fighting army
during the deadly months of stalemate in the summer of 1951.
The part of the war described in this volume raises many questions
for the military strategist and provides a treasure trove of lessons for the
student of the art of war. The book emphasizes the limitations imposed
by terrain and weather on the fighting capabilities of an American army
facing surprise attack from a large, disciplined enemy. The operations it
describes in such careful detail will help vivify the principles of war for
those who would study the profession of arms.
It seems particularly appropriate that this volume is going to the
printer during a year when the Army is emphasizing the theme of training.
It is important to study carefully such a recent and important example of
an American army performing superbly against great odds. I encourage
the military student and veteran alike to take advantage of the insights
into our profession imparted in the pages that follow.

Washington, D.C. WILLIAM A. STOFFT


8 September 1988 Brigadier General, USA
Chief of Military History

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The Author

A graduate of Wayne State (Nebraska) College, Billy C. Mossman is


the author of studies and monographs on U.S. Army operations in the
Korean War and of two chapters, "Peace Becomes Cold War, 1945-50,"
and "The Korean War, 1950-53," in American Military History, a volume in
the Army Historical Series. He contributed to Origins, History, and Accom-
plishments of the U.S. Army Reserve, published by the Historical Evaluation
and Research Organization, and to Challenge and Response in Internal Con-
flict, published by the Center for Research in Social Systems, American
University. He is also coauthor of The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funerals,
1921-1969.
During World War II, Mr. Mossman served as a platoon leader with
the 381st Infantry, 96th Infantry Division, and participated in the Leyte
and Okinawa campaigns in the Pacific theater. In the Korean War, he
was a military historian with the Eighth Army; Army Forces, Far East;
and United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission.
Mr. Mossman joined the Office of the Chief of Military History as an
Army officer in 1954 and became a civilian staff member in 1957. As a
civilian staff member, he served successively as historian, deputy branch
chief, branch chief, and acting division chief. He retired in 1983 but
remains active in the field of military history.

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Preface

This book describes military operations during the Korean War from
late November 1950 to early July 1951, a period in which battle lines did
indeed ebb and flow in pronounced surges. The volume is one of several
in the United States Army in the Korean War series. In its coverage of
combat operations, the book falls in the series between South to the Naktong,
North to the Yalu by Roy E. Appleman and Truce Tent and FightingFront by
Walter G. Hermes.
In describing the large-scale engagements that occurred between siz-
able opposing forces over seven months' time, I had to focus treatment of
the battles at a somewhat high level, often corps or army. I also had to be
selective in the use of detail. While this approach does not fully record
the gallantry, suffering, and achievements of individual men in combat, I
hope that the battle descriptions clearly indicate the substantial measure
of their individual accomplishments and valor.
I wrote this book over many years, interrupting my work on numer-
ous occasions and for long periods to carry out other responsibilities and
assignments. In fact, I gave the account its final touches after I retired
from the Center of Military History. It was also in retirement that I
designed the maps and selected the photographs that illustrate the book.
During the years spent writing the book, I received valuable support
and assistance from many people. Supervisory officials at all levels pro-
vided unfailing support. The successive Chiefs of Military History included
Brig. Gen. James A. Norell, Brig. Gen. William H. Harris, Brig. Gen.
Hal C. Pattison, Brig. Gen. James L. Collins, Jr., and Brig. Gen. Will-
iam A. Stofft. Holding the post of Chief Historian during the period of
preparation were Dr. Stetson Conn, Dr. Maurice Matloff, and Dr. David
Trask. I received valuable assistance and guidance from a considerable
number of officers who served as Chief, Histories Division: Lt. Col.
James C. Griffin; Col. Louis G. Mendez, Jr.; Col. Paul P. Hinkley; Col.
Leonard G. Robinson; Col. Albert W. Jones; Col. John E. Jessup,Jr.; Col.
James W. Dunn; and Lt. Col. Richard O. Perry. Wise counsel also came
from my branch chiefs: Charles B. MacDonald, Robert Ross Smith, Rob-
ert W. Coakley, and Walter G. Hermes.
Over the course of my research, Hannah M. Zeidlik, currently the
Chief, Historical Resources Branch, was a mainstay in obtaining and

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providing essential records, studies, and reports. On the production level,


Joyce W. Hardyman performed the main editing of the volume assisted
by James W. Grandy. Also importantly involved in the production proc-
ess were John W. Elsberg, the current Editor in Chief, Barbara H. Gil-
bert, and Rae T. Panella. Arthur S. Hardyman and Linda M. Cajka proc-
essed the maps from layout to final form. Howell C. Brewer handled the
acquisition and preparation of the photographs that illustrate the volume.
Notwithstanding the significant contributions of the persons named
above, I alone am responsible for the interpretations made and conclu-
sions drawn in this book and for any deficiencies that it may have.

8 September 1988 BILLY C. MOSSMAN


Washington, D.C.

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Contents
Chapter Page

I. THE MISSION 3
The Battleground . 3
The Initial Mission 7
The Mission Expanded. 17
The Mission Reconsidered 21

II. THE FORCES AND THE PLANS . . . . . . 23


The United Nations Command . . . . . . 23
The UNC Plan of Advance . . . . . . 42
The Outlook for Victory . . . . . . 49

III. THE ENEMY . . . . . . 51


The North Korean Armed Forces. . . . . . 51
The Chinese People's Volunteers . . . . . 52

IV. THE BATTLE OF THE CH'ONGCH'ON . 61


The Advance to Contact . . . . . .
.

The Chinese Attack 65


The Second Phase Offensive . 72
The Threat of Envelopment . 76

V. THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 84


X Corps Dispositions, 26 November. 84
The Advance Toward Mup'yong-ni 88
The IX Army Group Attacks 90
The Attacks Widen 98
The Tokyo Conference . . . .. .....
103

VI. DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST . . . . . . . . .


105
The Threat of Envelopment . . . . . . . . . 105
The Second Disengagement . . . . . . . . . 109
Trouble on the Lines of Communication . . . . . . . . . 114
The Sukch'on-Sunch'on-Songch'on Line . . . . . . . . . 116
The Roadblock Below Kunu-ri . . . . . . . . . . . 119

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Chapter Page

VII. CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM . . . . . . . ...128


New X Corps Orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...128
Shaping the Hamhung-Hungnam Defense .. .... 130
Concentration at Hagaru-ri.. . . . . .
Withdrawal From the Reservoir . . . . . . . ...137

VIII. REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH . 149


The Eighth Army Leaves North Korea . . . . 149
The X Corps Evacuates Hungnam . 165

IX. THE CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE:


THE OPENING. . . . . . . . . 177..
Ridgway Takes Command. . . . . . . . . 177..
Defensive Preparations. . . . . . . . ...184
The Opening Enemy Assaults. . . . . . . . ...188

X. WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL . 192


To the Seoul Bridgehead . 192
The Outlook, 2 January . 195
The Evacuation of Seoul . 198

XI. WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 209


Withdrawal From the Han . ... . 210
Wonju and Hill 247 ... . 216
East of Route 29. ... . 223

XII. RECONNAISSANCE IN FORCE . . .


The Problem of Motivation . . . . .
Allies From North Korea . . . . .
The Evacuation Issue Resolved . . .
Operation Wolfhound . . . .
Task Force Johnson. . . .
Operation Thunderbolt. . . .

XIII. ADVANCE TO THE HAN . . . . .


Roundup Preparations. . . .
Thunderbolt Continued . . . .
Operation Roundup. . . .
The Newest Army Estimate . . . . . .

XIV. THE BATTLE FOR HOENGSONG . . . . . . . ... .


The ROK 8th Division Destroyed . . . . . . . . ... .

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Chapter Page
Support Force 21 . . . . . . 269
From the RoadJunction to Hoengsong . 272
The Costs. . . . . . . ...279

XV. DEFENDING THE WONJU LINE . . . . . . ...282


The X Corps Position, 13 February . . . . . . . ...282
The West Shoulder, 13-14 February . . . .
The East Shoulder, 14-18 February . . . . . . ...291
Chip'yong-ni and Task Force Crombez . . . .
A Turning Point . . . . .

XVI. THE KILLER OPERATION . . . ..


The Concept . . . ..
Intelligence Problems . . . . . . ...302
The Plans . . . . 305 .
The Advance. . . . . . . ...307
The Ripper Concept . . . . .

XVII. OPERATION RIPPER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...315


The Plan . . . . . . . .... . . .
The Advance to Line Albany . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
321
The Enemy Buildup . . . . . . . . .... . . .
Hongch'on Cleared . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...327
Seoul Retaken . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...328
Ch'unch'on Captured . . . . . . . .... . . .
On the Eastern Front . . . . . . . .... . . .
The Courageous Concept . . . . . . . .... . . .

XVIII. ADVANCE TO THE PARALLEL 335


Operation Courageous . . . . . . . .... . . .
Ripper Concluded . . . . . . . . .... . . .
The ParallelQuestion . . . . . . . .... . . .
The Rugged and Dauntless Concept 347

XIX. OPERATION RUGGED . . . . . . . .... . . .


The Enemy Situation . . . . . . . .... . . .
The Advance to Line Kansas . . . . . . . .... . . .
Change of Command . . . . . . . .... . . .

XX. TOWARD THE IRON TRIANGLE . . . .


The Enemy's Conspicuous Absence, 11-20 April . . . . .
One Day's Notice . . . . .

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Chapter Page

XXI. THE CHINESE SPRING OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING - . . . 378


The Enemy Plan . ............ . 378
Panic at the IX Corps Left ............. 381
Below Ch'orwon and Kumhwa. ............ 384
Along the Imjin . ............ 385
Adjusting the Line. ............ 389

XXII. THE CHINESE SPRING OFFENSIVE: ON THE


CENTRAL AND EASTERN FRONTS . ............ 398
Attack on the Pendleton Line . ............ 398
Inje Falls . ............ 399
Repeat Performance ............ 401
Censure ............ 407

XXIII. THE CHINESE SPRING OFFENSIVE: ON THE


WESTERN FRONT .. . . .. ........... 410
Defending the Kansas Line ........... 410
Withdrawal to Line Delta . ........... 419

XXIV. THE CHINESE SPRING OFFENSIVE: BATTLE


FOR SEOUL . 430

XXV. BATTLE BELOW THE SOYANG . ......


438 .
The Searchfor the Enemy . 439
...... .
The Offensive Resumed 444
...... .
The Battle Shifts East . 460
...... .

XXVI. THE COUNTEROFFENSIVE ......


465 .
Stabilizing the Line . 466
...... .
Counterattack. 470
...... .

XXVII. SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY . ......


488 .
Ridgway's Mission Redefined ......
488 .
Operation Piledriver .......
491 .
Armistice Negotiations: The Search for a Beginning ......
494 .
The Question of Future Operations . ......
497 .
Negotiations Begin . ......
499 .
The New Dimensions of Battle. ......
502 .

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. ......


507 .

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Page

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS . . . . . . . . . 511 .

BASIC MILITARY MAP SYMBOLS . . 513

INDEX ................... ..... 515

Tables
No.
1. Major North Korean People's Army Units, 23 November 1950 . . 52
2. Major Chinese Units in Korea, 23 November 1950 ........ 54
3. X Corps Battle Casualties, 27 November-10 December 1950 . . . 147
4. Losses by Major Unit, 11-13 February 1951 . . . . . . . . . 279

Charts
1. Theater Lines of Command for Operations in Korea,
23 November 1950 . .. . . . . . . . . . 26
2. Organization of UNC Ground Forces in Korea,
23 November 1950 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
3. Organization for UNC Air Operations in Korea,
23 November 1950 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
4. Organization for UNC Naval Operations in Korea,
23 November 1950 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
5. Enemy Lines of Command, 23 November 1950 .. . . . . . . . 57

Maps
1. East Central Asia 4
2. Korea ................... 6
3. The Battlefront, 23 November 1950 46
4. Battle of the Ch'ongch'on, 25-28 November 1950 ... 66
5. The X Corps Zone, 26 November 1950 85
6. 5th and 7th Marines at Yudam-ni, 27 November 1950 91
7. The 31st RCT East of the Reservoir, 27 November 1950 93
8. Battle of the Changjin Reservoir, 27-29 November 1950 95
9. Battle of the Ch'ongch'on, 28 November-1 December 1950 . 106
10. The 2d Infantry Division at Kunu-ri, 29-30 November 1950 . 110
11. Concentration at Hagaru-ri, 1-4 December 1950 . . . . 133
12. Withdrawal From the Reservoir, 6-11 December 1950 . 144
13. Eighth Army Withdrawal, 1-23 December 1950 . 152
14. X Corps Evacuation Plan . 168

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No. Page
15. Enemy Third Phase Offensive, the Opening Effort,
26 December 1950-1 January 1951 . 181
16. Withdrawal to Line D, I and X Corps, 4-7 January 1951 215
17. NK II Corps and V Corps Attacks, 7-22 January 1951 218
18. Operation THUNDERBOLT, 25-31 January 1951. 241
19. Operation ROUNDUP, the X Corps Plan, 4 February 1951 250
20. Operation THUNDERBOLT, 1-11 February 1951. 253
21. Operation ROUNDUP, 5-11 February 1951. 260
22. Battle for Hoengsong, 11-13 February 1951 267
23. Chip'yong-ni, 13-14 February 1951 286
24. Defending the Wonju Line, 13-18 February 1951 . 289
25. Operation KILLER, 20 February-6 March 1951 303
26. Operation RIPPER, Western Front, 6-31 March 1951 316
27. Operation RIPPER, Eastern Front, 6-31 March 1951 . 318
28. Operation COURAGEOUS, 22-28 March 1951 336
29. The RUGGED and DAUNTLESS Operations, Western Front,
1-22 April 1951 . 354
30. The RUGGED and DAUNTLESS Operations, Eastern Front,
1-22 April 1951 . 357
31. Hwach'on Dam, 9-11 April 1951 363
32. The Chinese Spring Offensive, the Main Effort,
22-30 April 1951 380
33. The Eastern Front, 22-24 April 1951 . 390
34. The British 29th Brigade Sector, 25 April 1951 423
35. Battle Below the Soyang, 16-20 May 1951. 446
36. 38th infantry and Task Force Zebra Positions, 16 May 1951 . 449
37. Eighth Army Advance, 20 May-I July 1951 . 471

Illustrations
The Axial Taebaek Mountains Along the East Coast 5
Typical Terrain Near the 38th Parallel in the West 8
The Port of Pusan .
C-46 Pushed to Solid Ground After Runway Collapse 11
View of Rail Lines and Roads . 11
Soldier Enduring Winter Weather. 12
President Harry S. Truman 13
Secretary of State Dean Acheson . 13
The Joint Chiefs of Staff 14
General J. Lawton Collins. 15
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. 15
Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer . 16
Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy. 16

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Page

Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
KATUSA Member With American Soldier . . . . . . . . . . . 24
UNC-FEC Headquarters, Tokyo . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Maj. Gen. Francis W. Farrell. . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.5-Inch Rocket Launcher. . . . . . . . . . . . 31
57-mm. Recoilless Rifle. . . . . . . . . . . . 32
75-mm. Recoilless Rifle . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
M46 Patton Tank. . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Sikorsky H-5 Helicopter . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
F7F Tigercat . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
A MASH Nurse . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
F-80C Shooting Star . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
F-84E Thunderjet . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
F-86A Sabrejet . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
F9F Pantherjet . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
The USS Leyte Being Refueled at Sea . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Kim I1 Sung . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Lin Piao . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Chou En-lai. . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn With Secretary of the
Army Frank Pace, Jr. 62
Maj. Gen. John B. Coulter . 62
The Changjin Reservoir . 86
The Haguru-ri Area. 87
8-Inch Howitzer and Crew . 125
East Side of the Changjin Reservoir . 134
Marines Withdraw From Yudam-ni . 136
C-47s Evacuate Casualties From Hagaru-ri . 138
The Destroyed Bridge South of Kot'o-ri . 142
The Chasm Later Bridged With Treadway Spans . 143
Task Force Dog Artillery at Chinhung-ni . 146
Eighth Army Troops Withdraw From Sunch'on . . 151
Bridges Over the Taedong River at P'yongyang . 154
Eighth Army Troops Dig In North of Seoul . 162
Aerial View of Seoul . 163
Troops Outloading at Hungnam . 169
Barrels of Aviation Fuel . 170
3d Infantry Division Troops Leave the Hungnam Beach 174
Final Demolitions at Hungnam . . . . . . . : 175
Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway . 178
Ambassador John J. Muccio With President Syngman Rhee 179
The Uijongbu Area 182

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Page

Aged Refugee Carried Across the Han River . . . . . . . . . . . 203


Refugee Children .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . 205
The Last Bridge Over the Han River at Seoul Is Demolished . . . . . 206
Congestion on Route 29 South of Hongch'on . . . . . . . . . . . 211
The Port of Inch'on .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Kimpo Airfield . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
2d Infantry Division Troops South of Wonju . .. . . . . . . . 224
General Collins With General MacArthur . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Close Air Support Near Inch'on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 242
5th Regimental Combat Team Advances Toward the Han River . . . . 257
Chinese Captives Taken During Operation KILLER . . . . . . . . . 309
Air Interdiction of the Rail Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
25th Infantry Division Tanks Cross the Han River . . . . . . . . . 320
Lt. Gen. Nam II . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
Peng Teh-huai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
Seoul Residents Reenter the City . . . . . . . . . . . .331
Practice Jump by 187th Regimental Combat Team Members . . . . . 337
3d Infantry Division Troops in the Uijongbu Area . . . . . . . . . 342
General MacArthur and General Ridgway . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
The A-frame .. . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Directing Artillery Fire on Chinese Positions . . . . . . . . . . . 355
Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
25th Infantry Division Front South of Ch'orwon . . . . . . . . . . 392
24th Infantry Division Forces Withdraw to Line Kansas . . . . . 393
3d Infantry Division Troops Withdraw From Line Utah . . . . . . . 394
Belgian Troops Withdraw From the Hill 194 Area . . . . . . . . . 396
Marines Under Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400
British 29th Infantry Brigade Following Withdrawal From the Imjin
River . ...................... . 425
The USS Toledo .................... ... 432
Navy AD Skyraider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
The Hwach'on Dam Under Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441
7th Infantry Division Troops in the Ch'unch'on Area . . . . . . . . 473
The Punchbowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486
Engineers Search for Mines . . . . . . . . . . . . 492
Marines Advance in the Yanggu Area . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494
3d Infantry Division Troops in the Sobang Hills . . . . . . . . . . 503
The Kaesong Armistice Conference Site . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505

Illustrations are from Department of Defense files.

XVIIi
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Ebb and Flow


November 1950-July 1951
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CHAPTER I

The Mission
By the Thanksgiving holiday in 1950, released Korea from forty years of
an autumn offensive had carried the Japanese rule. After American and So-
United Nations Command (UNC) deep viet military forces entered the land to
into North Korea. Opening the advance take the surrender of Japanese troops
in South Korea, UNC forces had moved stationed there, most of the world out-
some three hundred miles to a front side Asia gave scant notice to the fur-
slanting northeastward across the Ko- ther course of events in Korea. When
rean peninsula from the mouth of the the outbreak of war inJune 1950 again
Ch'ongch'on River on the Yellow Sea drew attention, few could recall with
to the southern outskirts of the city of any certainty just where this country
Ch'ongjin on the Sea of Japan. 1 A full was located or what it looked like.
resumption of the offensive was set for Shaped much like the state of Florida,
Friday, 24 November, to clear the re- the Korean peninsula, measuring about
maining hundred miles or less that lay two hundred miles at its widest, reaches
between the front and Korea's north- some six hundred miles southeastward
ern border. Despite recent encounters from the central Asian mainland.
with fresh forces from Communist (Map 1) In the north it borders on
China, there was considerable optimism Manchuria, the northeasternmost re-
for the success of renewed advance and gion of China, and for a few miles in
even some speculation that UNC forces the far northeast on the Union of Soviet
would reach the border and end the Socialist Republics (USSR). To the west,
Korean War by Christmas, the date on the Yellow Sea separates Korea from
which the war would be exactly six north-central China. To the east, the
months old. Sea of Japan stands between the penin-
sula and the islands of Japan. Less than
a hundred fifty miles off the southeast-
The Battleground
ern tip of the peninsula, across the
Until the war had begun during the Korea and Tsushima Straits, lies Kyu-
past summer, Korea had received world shu,Japan's southernmost main island. 2
attention only briefly, when the Allied
victory over Japan in World War II 2 So shaped and located, Korea is a strategic cross-
roads in the Far East, a fact long and well appreciated
by the geopoliticians of the country's stronger neigh-
1For a detailed account of ground operations in bors, China, Russia, and Japan. Past rivalries among
Korea during 25 June-24 November 1950, see Roy E. these nations for control of Korea are described in
Appleman, South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu, U.S. George M. McCune, Korea Today (Cambridge, Mass.:
ARMY IN THE KOREAN WAR (Washington: Gov- Harvard University Press, 1950); Andrew J. Grajdan-
ernment Printing Office, 1961). zev, Modern Korea (New York: The John Day Co.,
KWP-EBB-0024
KWP-EBB-0025

THE MISSION 5

THE AXIAL TAEBAEK MOUNTAINS ALONG THE EAST COAST

As the UNC troops now deep in lands), the main Taebaek Mountains
North Korea could attest from experi- run the length of the east coast without
ence, Korea's steep, ubiquitous moun- interruption except for a narrow north-
tains, inferior communications system, east-southwest corridor (the Wonsan-
and severe climate sharply inhibited the Seoul corridor) in central Korea that
conduct of military operations-most divides the Taebaeks into northern and
sharply the operations of a modern, southern ranges. (Map 2) From this
highly mechanized force such as the axial spine, spur ranges spread south-
United Nations Command. Extending westward across most of the peninsula.
south from a high, jumbled mountain The few existing lowlands, themselves
mass in the country's far north and dotted by imposing mountain masses,
northeast (the Northern Korea High- lie principally along the west coast. This
mountain framework made movement
1944); M. Frederick Nelson, Korea and the Old Orders in any direction difficult, particularly
in EasternAsia (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univer- cross-country and east-west.
sity Press, 1946); and Edwin O. Reischauer, Japan:
The Story of a Nation, rev. ed. (New York: Alfred A. Poor lines of communication compli-
Knopf, 1974). cated the movement of UNC troops
KWP-EBB-0026

MAP 2
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THE MISSION 7
and supplies into and inside Korea. All usual amount of rainfall. This phe-
harbors were year-round, warm-water nomenon had increased the number of
ports, but few were good, and extreme days of high temperatures, many over
tidal ranges limited the use of those on 100 degrees Fahrenheit and several as
the west coast. Airfields were dated. Al- high as 120 degrees. In some summer
though they were numerous and well actions heat exhaustion caused more
located for troop transport and cargo UNC casualties than did enemy gun-
planes, putting and keeping them in fire. By late November 1950 UNC
condition to handle the heavy aircraft forces also had had a taste of Korea's
(tactical aircraft, as well) often required winter weather. Snowfall began in mid-
more than available UNC engineer November, and in the higher moun-
crews could provide. The railroad, tains in the far northeast the heaviest
Korea's chief means of overland com- falls made roads dangerous or impass-
mercial transportation, had suffered able. Although snow was light else-
from hard use and inadequate mainte- where, bitter cold intensified by brisk
nance in recent years, and by late 1950 northern winds created problems all
heavy war damage to bridges, tracks, along the UNC front, disabling vehi-
and rolling stock had further reduced cles and weapons and causing numer-
its capacity. The road net, which had ous cases of frostbite among the troops.
been designed primarily to serve and As UNC forces restarted their advance
supplement the railways, was a primi- toward the northern border, they could
tive system of narrow, one-lane, mostly anticipate a winter of few deeper snows
gravel-surfaced roads with steep grades, but still stronger winds and decidedly
sharp curves, and equally narrow brid- lower temperatures. 3
ges with low load capacities. Because of
poor construction, few lateral routes,
and vulnerability to weather damage, The Initial Mission
the road system was scarcely suitable The northern border of Korea was
for UNC military traffic. not the original objective of UNC oper-
Hardly a lesser obstacle was Korea's ations. The initial decision on the
monsoonal climate with its characteris- purpose of these operations, made
tic reversal of prevailing wind direction concomitantly with the fundamental
in summer and winter. Marked by vari- decisions of the United States and the
able winds and changeable precipita- United Nations (U.N.) to enter the war,
tion and temperature, spring and au- had limited the mission to repelling the
tumn are transitional periods for the North Korean invasion of South Korea.
wind shift. In summer the prevailing On the ground, this meant driving the
winds generally move northward off North Koreans back beyond the 38th
the Pacific Ocean, and in winter the
principal flow of air comes southward
out of the Asian interior. Consequently, 3 For additional information on Korea's relief, ports,
summers are typically rainy, humid, airfields, rail system, roadnet, and climate, see Korea
and hot, winters relatively dry and cold. Handbook (Washington: Department of the Army,
Office, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, September 1950).
But the summer of 1950 had been one For the effect of weather conditions on past opera-
of drought-only about one-fourth the tions, see Appleman, South to the Naktong.
KWP-EBB-0028

8 EBB AND FLOW

TYPICAL TERRAIN NEAR THE 38TH PARALLEL IN THE WEST

parallel of north latitude crossing the established under U.S. and U.N. spon-
peninsula at its waist. This was the line sorship in the south.4
that for three years after World War II The hardening of the division of Ko-
had served as a boundary first between rea at the 38th parallel had begun with
American and Soviet forces taking the an impasse in U.S.-USSR negotiations
surrender of Japanese troops, then be- convened in 1946 and 1947 as an early
tween U.S. and USSR occupation zones, measure in honoring Allied wartime
and finally between the Communist
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
4 The two areas of the divided land acquired their
founded by the Soviets north of the par- commonly used names, North Korea and South Korea,
allel and the Republic of Korea (ROK) during the occupation.
KWP-EBB-0029

THE MISSION 9

THE PORT OF PUSAN

declarations that Korea, once liberated The partition of Korea reflected a


from Japanese rule, would eventually broad realignment of international
be restored as a sovereign nation. The power resulting from World War II.
final evolution grew out of a Soviet re- Emerging with this realignment was a
fusal to permit the United Nations to cold war between power blocs, West
include the northern people in a U.S.- versus East, anti-Communists against
instigated 1948 attempt to supervise Communists, nations aligned under the
the election of a national assembly as leadership of the United States con-
the first step in establishing a govern- fronting those assembled under the So-
ment. By autumn of that year the paral- viet Union. In Europe, the Soviets
lel represented a confirmed political opened a campaign of intimidation and
division between two governments of subversion to consolidate control of ter-
opposing ideologies.5 ritories occupied during the war. What-
ever the impulse behind that campaign,
whether a search for national security
5 See Dept of State Pub 7004, Far Eastern Series
or a desire to promote Communist
101, The Record on Korean Unification, 1943-1960 world revolution in keeping with Marx-
(Washington, 1960). ist-Leninist doctrine, the strategy ap-
KWP-EBB-0030

10 EBB AND FLOW

peared to be one of expansion. In re- The North Korean invasion of the


sponse, the United States adopted a pol- republic on 25 June 1950 and the in-
icy of containment and led attempts, ability of South Korean forces to check
primarily through economic assistance it prompted an abrupt reversal of the
pacts and military alliances, to prevent American position. Behind the change
the Soviet Union from expanding its was a belief that the invasion was not
influence beyond the borders acquired simply an extension of a local jurisdic-
in wartime military operations. tional dispute but a break in the wider
Although centered in Europe, the cold war. Viewing the attack in this
cold war was also visible in Korea. Af- light, President Harry S. Truman and
ter Soviet and American occupation his principal advisers concluded that it
forces withdrew in 1948 and 1949, the had to be contested on grounds that in-
regime north of the parallel and the action would invite further armed ag-
government in the south competed in gression, and possibly a third world war.
cold war terms for jurisdiction over the The immediate American response
entire peninsula.6 The Soviet Union was to label the invasion as a threat to
assisted its satellite in the north, partic- world peace before the United Nations.
ularly in equipping and training an This step was not taken primarily to
army. The U.S. policy toward Korea, produce troop and materiel support,
established in 1948 as cold war tensions although such support was forthcom-
mounted in Europe and after demobil- ing. The ease and speed with which the
ization and budgetary restrictions North Korean invasion force was driv-
sharply reduced American military re- ing south made clear that there was not
sources, was to avoid becoming "so enough time to assemble a broadly
irrevocably involved in the Korean situ- based U.N. force. Only the United
ation that an action taken by any fac- States could commit troops in any num-
tion in Korea or by any other power in bers immediately, these from occupa-
Korea could be considered a 'casus belli' tion forces in Japan. Nor were North
for the United States." 7 Nevertheless, Korean authorities, who anticipated a
the United States provided economic quick victory, expected to submit to
and military assistance to the southern U.N. political pressure. Rather, the
republic, and Korea's unification and United States sought the moral support
full independence remained a matter of the United Nations and the author-
of interest, if of little hope, to both the ity to identify resistance to the North
United States and the United Nations. Korean venture with U.N. purposes.
Resolutions adopted by the U.N. Secu-
rity Council on 25 and 27 June 1950,
worded almost exactly as American rep-
6 See D. M. Condit, et al., Challenge and Response in resentatives offered them, gave the
Internal Conflict, vol. I, The Experience in Asia, ch. 17,
"South Korea, 1946-1954," by B. C. Mossman (Wash-
sanction and support desired.
ington: Center for Research in Social Systems, The President Truman sought no con-
American University, 1968). gressional declaration of war but com-
7 State-Army-Navy-Air Force Coordinating Com- mitted American forces as a response
mittee (SANACC) 176/39, 22 Mar 48, title: U.S. Pol-
icy in Korea. President Truman approved this policy to the U.N. resolution under his au-
on 4 April 1948. thority as commander in chief of the
KWP-EBB-0031

ALL AIRFIELDS REQUIRED HEAVY MAINTENANCE. Above, loaded C-46 is pushed to


solid ground after runway collapsed. Below, main rail lines were standard gage and
reasonably well built. Roads were narrow and poorly constructed.
KWP-EBB-0032

WINTER WEATHER WAS ANOTHER PROBLEM


KWP-EBB-0033

THE MISSION 13

PRESIDENT TRUMAN SECRETARY OF STATE ACHESON

armed forces and under his general to the U.N. resolutions of 25 and 27
powers to conduct the foreign relations June were "solely for the purpose of
of the United States. 8 Partly out of restoring the Republic of Korea to its
these conditions of entry, the president status prior to the invasion from the
avoided the word war in references to North."l0 In line with this limitation,
operations in Korea in favor of police President Truman intended to avoid
action. He also used the euphemism to heavy commitments of American re-
dramatize the limited scope of UNC sources in Korea and to take no steps
operations. As formally resolved by the that would prompt the Soviet Union or
U.N. Security Council, the purpose was the People's Republic of China, the
"to repel the armed attack and to re- newly risen Communist state on the
store international peace and security mainland, to enter the conflict.
in the area.9 As explained on 29 June Acknowledging the United States as
by U.S. Secretary of State Dean Ache- the major contributor to the effort in
son, American actions taken in response Korea, the U.N. Security Council on 7
July 1950 recommended that other na-
tions supplying forces and materiel
8 See J. Lawton Collins, War in Peacetime (Boston: contribute them to a single command
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969), pp. 31-35.
9 U.N. doc. S/1511, reprinted in Dept of State Pub
3922, Far Eastern Series 34, United States Policy in the 10 Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation (New York:
Korean Crisis (Washington, 1950), p. 24. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1969), p. 450.
KWP-EBB-0034

14 EBB AND FLOW

THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF. Left to right, Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, General of
the Army Omar N. Bradley (chairman), General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, and GeneralJ.
Lawton Collins.

under the United States.11 President tions in Korea. In the strictly military
Truman formally accepted the respon- channel, the Joint Chiefs issued instruc-
sibilities of leadership on 8 July. tions to the unified command in the
12
The evolving command structure field through its Army member. This
placed Truman in the role of executive
agent for the U.N. Security Council,
although he had no obligation to clear 12 The Joint Chiefs of Staff included General of the
his decisions with that agency. Assist- Army Omar N. Bradley, Chairman; General J. Law-
ing him in this role were the U.S. Na- ton Collins, Army Chief of Staff; Admiral Forrest P.
Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations; and General
tional Security Council and the Joint Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Air Force Chief of Staff. Al-
Chiefs of Staff (JCS), who helped de- though the Joint Chiefs instructed the U.N. Com-
velop the strategic concept of opera- mand, not all directives originated with them, nor did
the directives in every case represent their recom-
mendations. For an account of operations at the Joint
Chiefs of Staff and U.N. Command headquarters le-
vels during the first year of the war, see James F.
11 The council also authorized the new command to Schnabel, Policy and Direction: The First Year, U.S.
fly the U.N. flag in the course of operations against ARMY IN THE KOREAN WAR (Washington: Gov-
North Korean forces. ernment Printing Office, 1972).
KWP-EBB-0035

THE MISSION 15

GENERAL COLLINS GENERAL MACARTHUR

method followed an existing Depart- East, under Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy. 13
ment of Defense agreement whereby He assigned all UNC ground forces en-
the chief whose service was playing the tering Korea to Lt. Gen. Walton H.
primary role in a command area, in this Walker's Eighth U.S. Army, then on
case Army Chief of Staff General J. occupation duty in Japan with head-
Lawton Collins, would serve as execu- quarters in Yokohama. After moving
tive agent for the Joint Chiefs. The to Korea in mid-July, General Walker
command in the field, the United Na- also assumed control of the operations
tions Command, was formally estab- of the ROK Army at the offer of South
lished on 24 July 1950 under General Korea's president, Syngman Rhee.14
of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who
superimposed its headquarters over
that of his existing Far East Command 13 It was not until 27 August 1950, however, that
in Tokyo. General MacArthur officially designated these air and
naval organizations as parts of the U.N. Command.
While the top echelons of command He issued this order primarily to clarify the relation-
were being shaped, General MacArthur ship of the air and naval commands to him as UNC
assigned control of air operations in commander in chief.
14 On 15 July 1950 President Rhee wrote to General
Korea to the air arm of the Far East MacArthur: "I am happy to assign to you command
Command, the Far East Air Forces, authority over all land, sea, and air forces of the Re-
commanded by Lt. Gen. George E. public of Korea during the period of the continuation
of the present state of hostilities; such command to be
Stratemeyer, and allotted control of na- exercised either by you personally or by such military
val operations to Naval Forces, Far commander or commanders to whom you may dele-
KWP-EBB-0036

16 EBB AND FLOW

GENERAL STRATEMEYER. (Photograph ADMIRAL JOY


taken in 1944.)

In the van of forces from other U.N. interdicted traffic on the enemy's long
members, American ground troops be- overland supply lines. Admiral Joy's
gan entering Korea in July to join the force wiped out what little naval opposi-
ROK Army in blunting the invasion, tion the North Koreans could offer and
only to be shoved back into the south- clamped a tight blockade on the Korean
eastern corner of the country by the coast to prevent the movement of ene-
surprisingly strong North Korean Peo- my troops and supplies by water.
ple's Army. But there, in defenses based As the costs of repeated attempts
on the Naktong River and arching to penetrate the Pusan Perimeter grad-
around the port of Pusan, General ually reduced the North Koreans'
Walker through August and the first ground strength, the favor of the war
half of September successfully coun- shifted to the United Nations Com-
tered further North Korean attacks. mand. On the west coast, far behind
General Stratemeyer's air command North Korean lines, the U.S. X Corps,
meanwhile all but eliminated North commanded by Maj. Gen. Edward M.
Korea's small air forces and severely Almond and operating separately from
the Eighth Army, made an amphibi-
ous landing at Inch'on on 15 Septem-
gate the exercise of this authority within Korea or in ber and drove inland through Seoul,
adjacent seas." See Dept of State Pub 4263, Far East-
ern Series 44, United States Policy in the Korean Conflict, the South Korean capital. In concert,
July 1950- February 1951 (Washington, 1951), p. 10. the Eighth Army opened an overland
KWP-EBB-0037

THE MISSION 17
offensive on the 16th. The X Corps'
operation and the Eighth Army's fron-
tal effort forced a North Korean retreat
that quickly degenerated into a rout.
By the end of September, although
some bypassed North Korean troops re-
mained in the southern mountains, the
enemy ceased to exist as an organized
force anywhere in the Republic of Korea.

The Mission Expanded


From mid-July into September, Presi-
dent Truman and his aides weighed the
advisability of crossing the 38th parallel.
The principal question before them was
whether such a move might spark the
active intervention of the Soviet Union
or Communist China. Both of these
governments issued warnings against a
UNC entry into North Korea in Au-
gust and September as the balance of GENERAL WALKER
power in the conflict shifted. But U.S.
intelligence agencies believed that in- bility of Soviet or Chinese intervention
tervention by either was "improbable, remained the chief contra-argument in
barring Soviet decision to precipitate deliberations on crossing the parallel,
global war," and there was some direct, the warnings heard in August and Sep-
if ambiguous, evidence that the Soviet tember were regarded as attempts to
Union would not intervene. 15 At the discourage the U.N. Command, not as
end of June the United States had ap- genuine threats to enter the war.17
pealed to the Soviets to stop the North In any case, incentives for carrying
Korean attack. They replied that their the war into North Korea were strong.
"Government adheres to the principle One was a considered need to destroy
of the impermissibility of interference the North Korean Army completely so
by foreign powers in the internal af- that there could be no recurrence of
fairs of Korea."16 American officials in- the June invasion. The military occupa-
terpreted the reply as an indication that tion of North Korea also could set the
the Soviet Union would not actively en- stage for achieving the long-standing
ter the conflict. In sum, while the possi- U.S. and U.N. goal of unifying Korea. 18

15 Secretary of State Acheson. quoted in U.S. Con - 17 For a full discussion of the decision on crossing
gress, Senate, Committee on Armed Services and Co m- the 38th parallel, see Schnabel, Policy and Direction,
mittee on Foreign Relations, Hearings on the Military pp. 177-84. For documents pertaining to the matter,
Situation in the Far East ... (hereafter cited as MacArthur see Dept of State Pub 8859, Foreign Relations of the
Hearings), 82d Cong., 1st sess., 1951. p. 1832. United States, 1950. vol. VII, Korea (Washington, 1976).
16 Soviet statement, 29 Jun 50, quoted in Dept of 18 For a discussion of occupation planning, see
State Bulletin, vol. XXIII, no. 575, 10 Jul 50, p. 48. Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 219-21.
KWP-EBB-0038

18 EBB AND FLOW


sponded on 7 October with a reso-
lution recommending that steps be
taken to "ensure conditions of stability
throughout Korea" and to establish "a
unified, independent and democratic
government in the sovereign State of
Korea."20 Thus, tacitly, the General
Assembly recommended crossing the
parallel.
Instructions expanding the UNC
military objective were issued while the
U.N. resolution was being debated. On
27 September the Joint Chiefs of Staff
notified General MacArthur that he was
to destroy the North Korean armed
forces, and on 29 September Secretary
of Defense George C. Marshall supplied
the final word authorizing him to send
troops into North Korea.21 MacArthur
could conduct operations north of the
parallel, however, only if there was "no
GENERAL ALMOND entry into North Korea by major So-
viet or Chinese Communist Forces, no
Indeed, the possibility of enabling the announcement of intended entry, nor
United Nations to bring about the uni- a threat to counter our operations mili-
fication of Korea under a single, accept- tarily in North Korea," and he was en-
able government provided a powerful joined neither to cross the Manchurian
inducement to cross the parallel and and USSR borders of Korea nor to use
became the theme of deliberations other than South Korean forces in
opened in the U.N. General Assembly the Korean territory adjacent to the
on 19 September to consider a U.S. bid northern boundary.22 The prospect of
for specific endorsement of an entry victory, however bright, had not di-
into North Korea. (General authority minished the determination of Presi-
was considered to exist in the phrase dent Truman, who had personally ap-
"restore international peace and secu- proved the instructions to MacArthur,
rity in the area" in the resolution of 27 to avoid a battlefield confrontation with
June.) Speaking before the assembly, the Soviet Union or China.
Secretary Acheson made clear that he MacArthur directed the Eighth
had dropped his June view by urging Army, upon moving into North Korea,
that the future of Korea "be returned
where it belongs-to the custody of its
own people under the guidance of the 20 U.N. doc A/1435, quoted in Dept of State Pub

United Nations.19 The assembly re- 4263, Far Eastern Series 44, U.S. Policy in the Korean
Conflict, pp. 17-18.
21 Marshall became secretary of defense on 21 Sep-
19 See Dept of State Bulletin, vol. XXIII, no. 587, 2 tember 1950, replacing Louis A. Johnson.
Oct 50, p. 526. 22 Rad, JCS 92801, JCS to CINCUNC, 27 Sep 50.
KWP-EBB-0039

THE MISSION 19
to capture P'yongyang, the North Ko-
rean capital 120 miles north of Seoul,
and ordered the X Corps, still a sepa-
rate force, to make an amphibious land-
ing eighty miles north of the 38th paral-
lel at Wonsan, North Korea's major east
coast seaport. After seizing these objec-
tives the two ground arms were to
march toward each other over a lateral
road connecting P'yongyang and Won-
san, a move designed to trap any
North Korean forces still straggling
northward through the Taebaek Moun-
tains. But because of the manner and
speed of the Eighth Army's plunge over
the parallel, the latter plan was not
executed.
On the Eighth Army right, a South
Korean corps crossed the parallel on 1
October and started a fast march along
the eastern shore. The corps entered
Wonsan nine days later and by the last SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MARSHALL
week of October pushed northward an-
other hundred miles to a line reaching going ashore until the last week of
inland from the coastal town of Iwon October.
to positions within twenty miles of the The Eighth Army's strides into North
huge Changjin Reservoir atop the Tae- Korea stimulated new warnings from
baek Mountains.2 3 West of the Taebaek China. At midnight on 2 October, after
divide, Eighth Army forces moved into South Korean but as yet no American
North Korea between 6 and 9 October, forces had crossed the parallel, Foreign
entered P'yongyang on the 19th, and Minister Chou En-lai formally sum-
by the last week of the month reached moned Indian Ambassador Kavalam
and crossed the Ch'ongch'on River M. Panikkar to the Ministry of Foreign
within sixty-five miles of the Yalu River, Affairs in Peking. Dismissing the South
the boundary between Korea and Man- Korean advance as inconsequential,
churia. The X Corps meanwhile out- Chou declared that if American or
loaded for the landing at Wonsan but other U.N. forces crossed the parallel,
did not reach its objective until after China would enter the war. 24
the port had fallen to the Eighth Army. After Panikkar relayed Chou's warn-
With an assault landing obviated, the ing through diplomatic channels to
need to clear the heavily mined Wonsan Washington, the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
harbor prevented the X Corps from with President Truman's approval, au-

23 UNC forces best knew the Changjin Reservoir as 24 K. M. Panikkar, In Two Chinas (London: Allen
the Chosin Reservoir, its Japanese name. and Unwin, 1955), pp. 109-10.
KWP-EBB-0040

20 EBB AND FLOW

thorized General MacArthur to engage entered Korean provinces adjacent to


any Chinese forces encountered in Ko- Manchuria without discovering any
rea "as long as, in your judgment, ac- battlefield evidence that Chinese forces
tion by forces now under your control intended to engage. The North Ko-
offers a reasonable chance of success." reans meanwhile put up little resist-
Behind this departure from the presi- ance, let alone any cohesive front. The
dent's stand against involvement with remnants of the North Korean Army
China was a strong inclination to dis- seemed eager only to escape into the
miss the threat. Truman distrusted interior mountains along the Yalu River
Panikkar because of the latter's leaning in central North Korea or into the sanc-
toward Communist China, and since tuary of Manchuria. These circum-
the U.N. resolution of 7 October was stances gave rise to a belief that the war
then under consideration in the Gen- was all but ended, indeed that it could
eral Assembly, the president believed be ended before the onset of winter
that Chou was simply attempting "to weather with an accelerated drive to the
blackmail the United Nations by threats northern border.
of intervention in Korea."25 Maintaining the Eighth Army and X
Similar warnings in the Chinese press Corps as separate commands, MacAr-
and on Radio Peking also were dis- thur on 24 October drew a boundary
counted. There was no denying China's between them generally along the Tae-
ability to intervene quickly. Twenty- baek divide and, after reassigning the
four Chinese divisions had been identi- South Korean corps operating along
fied near Yalu River crossing points, the east coast to General Almond, di-
and another fourteen had been located rected Walker and Almond each to pro-
elsewhere in Manchuria. But the con- ceed to the northern border with all
sensus of officials privy to the highest forces available. His last instruction vio-
level of intelligence appeared to be lated the restriction against using any
much as General MacArthur reported but ROK forces along the northern
during a conference with President boundary of Korea, but, although the
Truman at Wake Island on 15 October: Joint Chiefs questioned the order, they
there was "very little" chance of inter- did not countermand after MacArthur
vention. It appeared that both the Chi- told them that the South Koreans were
nese and Soviets, "in spite of their con- incapable of handling the advance by
tinued interest and some blatant public themselves.2 7
statements, [had] decided against fur- In the west, the Eighth Army moved
ther expensive investment in support toward the Yalu River in several col-
of a lost cause. " 26 umns, each free to advance without re-
Lending support to this evaluation, gard for the progress of the others. On
the Eighth Army by 24 October had the opposite side of the peninsula, Gen-
eral Almond sent columns up the east
coast and through the mountains to-
25 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 200; Harry S.
Truman, Memoirs, vol. II, Years of Trial and Hope
ward the Changjin Reservoir and the
(Garden City: Doubleday, 1956), p. 362.
26 Allen S. Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu (New York:
Macmillan, 1960), p. 115; Appleman, South to the 27 For a discussion of this exchange, see Schnabel,
Naktong, pp. 760-61. Policy and Direction, p. 218.
KWP-EBB-0041

THE MISSION 21
Yalu. UNC columns moved steadily son to reexamine and possibly change
along both coasts, and South Korean the UNC mission.
reconnaissance troops with an interior The reexamination was complicated
Eighth Army column reached the Yalu by difficulty in judging the extent and
at the town of Ch'osan. But almost ev- purpose of the Chinese intervention.
erywhere else, UNC forces encountered Intelligence from the field placed the
stout resistance and on 25 October dis- Chinese strength involved in the recent
covered they were being opposed by engagement at no more than five divi-
Chinese. In the X Corps zone, Chinese sions, or about 50,000 troops. This rela-
defenses slowed Almond's column on tively small force and its voluntary with-
the road climbing the Taebaeks to the drawal from contact on 6 November
Changjin Reservoir until 6 November, scarcely supported any conclusion that
when the Chinese withdrew from con- China had decided on an all-out effort
tact. In the Eighth Army zone, Chinese in Korea, nor could other intelligence
attacks forced back the columns in the and diplomatic agencies offer conclu-
center and on the east. Although the sive evidence of such a decision.28 The
columns near the coast were not at- Joint Chiefs of Staff considered more
tacked, the loss of ground elsewhere limited interests, such as a Chinese wish
compelled General Walker to recall his to protect Yalu River electric power
western forces lest they be cut off. plants on which Manchuria heavily
Walker's pursuit thus came to a com- depended, but this reasoning rested
plete halt. As the Eighth Army fell more on speculation than on evidence.
back to regroup in positions astride the The Joint Chiefs also heard strong
Ch'ongch'on River, Chinese forces objections to any change of mission
continued to attack until 6 November from General MacArthur. In his view,
and thenas in the X Corps sector not only did the reasoning behind the
abruptly broke contact.

The Mission Reconsidered 28 One prophetic warning that seems not to have
received serious consideration came from Karl Lott
Rankin, ambassador to Nationalist China. In a tele-
In Washington, the twelve-day en- gram dispatched to the Department of State on 6
gagement drew attention to the want November, Mr. Rankin advised: "Chinese military in-
of a precise course of action to be fol- telligence forwarded to Washington by the Embassy's
service attaches during the past few days lends strong
lowed if the U.N. Command met Chi- support to the assumption that the Chinese commu-
nese forces. Earlier instructions from nists plan to throw the book at the United Nations
the Joint Chiefs of Staff had author- forces in Korea and in addition to step up their pres-
sure in Indochina. Allowance evidently should be
ized General MacArthur to continue made for wishful thinking among the Chinese military,
operations against any Chinese encoun- most of whom regard a general conflict as the only
tered if he thought he could succeed, means of liberating China from the communists. In
the present instance, however, such a caveat still leaves
but they had not prescribed or required an imposing array of apparently established facts, as
him to develop the exact lines of action well as evidence of' sincerity among the best informed
that continued operations against the Chinese, such as to render quite possible the correct-
ness of their consensus of opinion that all-out action
Chinese might follow. The Joint Chiefs, in Korea by the Chinese communists should be ex-
in any case, now considered the actual pected." Quoted in Rankin's book, China Assignment
introduction of Chinese forces as rea- (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964), p. 65.
KWP-EBB-0042

22 EBB AND FLOW

current mission remain valid, but "it rently in Korea, and he was certain that
would be fatal to weaken the ... policy his air power could prevent Chinese re-
of the United Nations to destroy all re- inforcements from crossing the Yalu
sisting armed forces in Korea and bring into Korea in any substantial numbers.
that country into a united and free Unconvinced themselves that China
nation."29 He considered the existing had decided on full intervention, un-
situation to be satisfactorily covered by certain about any other purpose of the
the earlier instructions allowing him to Chinese entry, and feeling both justi-
judge whether his forces had a reason- fied and obligated to accept their field
able chance of success. He did not claim commander's appraisal, the Joint Chiefs
to have determined the strength of the of Staff were willing to await clarifica-
Chinese in Korea with any precision. tion of Chinese objectives in Korea be-
On the contrary, he declared that only fore deciding whether to recommend a
by advancing could he obtain "an accu- change in the UNC mission. President
rate measure of enemy strength." 3 0 He Truman approved this position, pre-
nevertheless believed that his command sented in a meeting of the National Se-
could defeat the Chinese forces cur- curity Council on 9 November. MacAr-
thur could continue toward the border,
and the forces and plans for a full re-
29 Rad, C 68572, CINCFE to DA for JCS, 9 Nov 50. sumption of the UNC offensive were
30 Rad, C 68465, CINCFE to DA for JCS, 7 Nov 50. ready by Thanksgiving Day.
KWP-EBB-0043

CHAPTER II

The Forces and the Plans


Notwithstanding the tendency of U.S. Because of a continuing and grow-
officials to discount a massive Chinese ing understrength among American
intervention, the entry of Chinese ground units, the Army resumed the
forces into the war ended a retrench- once-curtailed flow of individual re-
ment of UNC forces begun when the placements and filler units from the
complete defeat of the North Korean United States at a rate greater than its
Army had seemed at hand. The Army earlier norm. The individual replace-
halted the infant redeployment of ma- ments were a particular boon to divi-
jor units from Korea, and Department sions, some of which were as much as
of Defense and State officials stopped 30 percent understrength. Army offi-
a move to reduce or cancel further cials planned to ship 40,000 replace-
contributions of forces from other ments in November and December and
nations. The Air Force did not return estimated that all units in the Far East
two groups of medium bombers sent would reach full strength by March
back to the United States, but the Navy 1951.2
sharply cut back a redeployment of
ships of the line, particularly fast
carriers.1 The United Nations Command
Earlier steps that reduced or diverted With the full effect of these restora-
materiel originally scheduled for ship- tions yet to be felt, the United Nations
ment from the United States to the Far Command on 23 November 1950 was
East also were canceled, as was plan- a force of some 553,000 men from the
ning for a roll-up of supplies in the Republic of Korea and thirteen mem-
theater. The Army also halted the bers of the United Nations. Ground
release of South Korean troops who forces in Korea totaled 423,313 men;
earlier, under a Korean Augmentation air forces based in both Japan and Ko-
to the United States Army Program rea around 55,000; and naval forces,
(KATUSA), had been incorporated in ashore and afloat, about 75,000. The
understrength American ground units ground forces were predominately
as expedient fillers and replacements. South Korean (223,950) and American
(178,464). The American contingent in-
1 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 222-30, 237-39;
cluded 153,536 Army and 24,928 Ma-
Robert Frank Futrell, The United States Air Force in
Korea, 1950-1953 (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce,
1961), p. 195; James A. Field, Jr., United States Naval
Operations, Korea (Washington, 1962), pp. 251-56. 2 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 237-39, 295.
KWP-EBB-0044

24 EBB AND FLOW

The theater command lines reaching


down to these diverse forces differed
in two major respects from the way they
had been established during the first
month of the war, both changes involv-
ing arrangements for controlling and
administering ground operations. In
July General MacArthur had assigned
the Eighth Army to conduct ground
operations and to perform communica-
tions zone functions while continuing
to meet responsibilities in the occupa-
tion of Japan. General Walker conse-
quently had been obliged to divide his
headquarters, leaving a rear echelon in
Yokohama to carry out logistical and
occupation duties while he and the re-
mainder of his staff entered Korea to
direct the ground campaign.5 To per-
mit Walker to concentrate on operations
in Korea, MacArthur on 24 August had
KATUSA MEMBER WITH AMERICAN phased out the Eighth Army's rear
SOLDIER headquarters and established the Japan
Logistical Command, a separate com-
rine Corps troops.3 The remainder rep- mand subordinate to the Far East Com-
resented the United Kingdom (11,186), mand with headquarters in Yokohama.
Turkey (5,051), the Philippines (1,349), Walker remained responsible for the
Thailand (1,181), Australia (1,002), the receipt, storage, and forward move-
Netherlands (636), India (326), and ment of supplies in Korea itself, while
Sweden (168). The preponderance of the logistical command, under Maj.
both air and naval forces was American. Gen. Walter L. Weible, absorbed the
Supplementing the air strength were
forces from the United Kingdom, Aus-
tralia, Canada, the Union of South U.N. Ground Forces Strength in Korea, 31 July 1950-
Africa, and South Korea; reinforcing 31 July 1953, prepared by Program Review and Anal-
the naval strength were contingents ysis Division, OCA, 7 Oct 54, and Mono, Hq, FEC,
Maj William J. Fox, "Inter-Allied Co-operation Dur-
from South Korea, the United King- ing Combat Operations," copy of both in CMH. The
dom, Australia, Canada, France, New air and naval strengths are estimates based on Hq,
Zealand, the Netherlands, and Thai- FEAF, Korean Air War Summary, 25 June 1950-30
June 1951, and Field, United Slates Naval Operations,
land.4 Korea, p. 253.
5 During the time that the Eighth Army had forces
3The Army's total strength was 1,032,613, with in both Korea and Japan, its contingent in Korea was
372,519 posted overseas. Thus, less than half of the designated the Eighth United States Army in Korea
forces overseas and approximately 15 percent of the (EUSAK). This designation, though appropriate for
total strength had been committed in Korea. only a brief period, was not abolished until 19 Febru-
4 The ground strength is from Summary, ROK and ary 1953.
KWP-EBB-0045

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 25

UNC-FEC HEADQUARTERS, TOKYO

missions the Eighth Army had been their operations thus rested in General
performing in Japan. 6 MacArthur at theater, or UNC, level in
The other change had occurred in Tokyo. (Chart 1)
September when the separate X Corps
under General Almond landed at
Inch'on. Until that time, General Wal- Ground Forces
ker had commanded or exercised oper- The heart of the UNC ground com-
ational control over all ground forces. bat strength comprised Eighth Army
As of 23 November Walker was respon- headquarters, ROK Army headquar-
sible for the logistical support of Al- ters, six corps headquarters, seventeen
mond's forces, but otherwise the Eighth infantry divisions (including one of U.S.
Army and the X Corps remained sepa- marines), three infantry brigades, two
rate commands. The centralized con- separate infantry regiments (one of
trol of ground forces within Korea and U.S. airborne troops and one of ROK
marines), and three separate infantry
6 Mono, Hq, Eighth Army, "Logistical Problems and
battalions. Among lesser formations
Their Solutions," and Mono, Hq, JLC, "Logistical were a number of ROK Army security
Problems and Their Solutions," copy of both in CMH. battalions and ROK National Police
KWP-EBB-0046

26 EBB AND FLOW


CHART 1THEATER LINES OF COMMAND FOR OPERATIONS IN KOREA
23 NOVEMBER 1950

battalions, all low-strength units orga- quarters during the autumn offensive,
nized primarily for antiguerrilla opera- establishing main headquarters in
tions. Also included were a few sepa- Seoul while he and a small staff oper-
rate ROK marine battalions, which ated from a forward command post in
came under ROK Army control when P'yongyang.
operating on the mainland but under U.S. combat formations of the Eighth
ROK Navy control when located, as Army included two corps (I and IX),
they were most of the time, on offshore four infantry divisions (1st Cavalry, 2d,
islands. Still smaller units included a 24th, and 25th), the airborne regiment
provisional company of U.S. Rangers, (187th Airborne Regimental Combat
a company of British marine com- Team), and the Ranger company
mandos, and a U.S. special operations (8213th).8 Other U.N. forces in Walker's
company-a provisional unit of Army command accounted for the three in-
troops originally organized for com- fantry brigades (1st Turkish Armed
mando-type operations during the Forces Command, 27th British Com-
Inch'on landing.7 monwealth Infantry Brigade, and 29th
By far the larger portion of the British Independent Brigade Group)
ground strength was vested in the and the three separate infantry battal-
Eighth Army and was located west of ions (10th Battalion Combat Team,
the main Taebaek spine, where, in the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Ko-
wake of the drive out of the Pusan Pe- rea; 21st Regimental Combat Team,
rimeter and the pursuit above the 38th Thailand Expeditionary Force; and
parallel, General Walker's forces had Netherlands Detachment, United Na-
become spread from the port of Pusan tions) .9
northwestward to the Ch'ongch'on Most of the ROK Army also was un-
River. Walker also had split his head- der General Walker's control. The ma-

7 For an account of the unusual activities of this


special operations company during the Inch'on-Seoul 8 The 1st Cavalry was an infantry division retaining

campaign, see Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Victory at High its former designation.
Tide: The Inch'on-Seoul Campaign (Philadelphia: J. B.
9
The 27th British Infantry, which had arrived in
Lippincott, 1968), pp. 60-61, 79, 145, 186. Korea from Hong Kong with only two battalions, had
KWP-EBB-0047

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 27


planning and directing operations in
rear-area security missions.
Walker maintained close liaison with
South Korean forces through six hun-
dred officers and men constituting the
U.S. Military Advisory Group to the Re-
public of Korea (KMAG). Commanded
by Brig. Gen. Francis W. Farrell, this
group guided the ROK Army in both
training and combat and kept Walker
and other American commanders un-
der whom ROK units served informed
of South Korean capabilities and ac-
tivities. General Farrell's headquar-
ters currently was located with that of
the ROK Army in Seoul, while the re-
mainder of his command was spread,
rather thinly, through the various ROK
Army staffs and technical services and
among the combat units as far down
the chain of command as battalions.10
GENERAL FARRELL
Eighth Army supplies were handled
by the 2d Logistical Command, under
jor combat units included two corps (II Brig. Gen. Crump Garvin, and its sub-
and III) and eight divisions (1st, 2d, ordinate 3d Logistical Command, un-
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th). To der Brig. Gen. George C. Stewart. As
date, the ROK Army headquarters had of 23 November the port, depot, and
seldom directed the operations of its transportation units of the 2d Logistical
combat formations within an assigned Command operated in and from the
sector or zone at the front. The head- major port and storage facilities at
quarters functioned more as a clearing- Pusan, while those of the 3d Logistical
house for instructions issued to ROK Command worked in and out of smaller
corps on line by Eighth Army head- installations in the Inch'on-Seoul and
quarters and did not enter the com- Chinnamp'o-P'yongyang areas. Pusan,
mand picture at all when an ROK unit the main supply center, was the start-
was attached to a U.S. headquarters be- ing point of three not easily distin-
low Eighth Army level. On the other guishable but separate supply lines.
hand, the headquarters did play a nor- Through the principal line, that of the
mal role under the ROK Army chief of United States, flowed the supplies for
staff, Maj. Gen. Chung II Kwon, in all American units and, except for a
few items, for all attached U.N. units
been augmented by the attachment of the 3d Battalion,
other than those of the British Com-
Royal Australian Regiment, and 60th Indian Field monwealth. Commonwealth units main-
Ambulance and Surgical Unit, resulting in its redesig-
nation as a commonwealth brigade. Advance parties 10
See Major Robert K. Sawyer, Military Advisors in
of infantry battalions due from Canada and France Korea: KMAG in Peace and War (Washington: Govern-
also had joined the Eighth Army by 23 November. ment Printing Office, 1962).
KWP-EBB-0048

28 EBB AND FLOW


tained their own supply line and, except dling not only military but also civilian
for perishable foods and petroleum patients when the work load permitted.
products obtained from American Dealing with civilians on a larger
stocks, used only commonwealth sup- scale was a command of some three
plies and equipment. A supply line for hundred officers and enlisted men, the
ROK forces constituted the third sys- U.N. Public Health and Welfare De-
tem, through which passed, for the tachment.13 Civil assistance teams of
most part, issues of war materials from the command, using foreign aid sup-
the United States. Other supplies for plies, worked throughout the Eighth
ROK forces came from local sources, Army area to prevent disease, starva-
but, except for food, only in small tion, and unrest among the civil pop-
amounts because of South Korea's ulation. Theirs was essentially a relief
flimsy economy and limited industrial mission, but some team activity, such as
development.11 assisting the movement of refugees, also
Besides supply functions, the two was designed to prevent civilians from
logistical commands handled the con- interfering with military operations.
finement of prisoners of war, cur- Units with the separate X Corps in
rently at camps in Pusan, Inch'on, and northeastern Korea included the ROK
P'yongyang holding 130,921 captives. I Corps taken over from the Eighth
The 2d Logistical Command also oper- Army in late October after General
ated the U.N. Reception Center at Almond's forces landed at Wonsan,
Taegu, sixty miles northwest of Pusan, three American divisions (3d, 7th, and
where arriving UNC contingents re- 1st Marine), two ROK divisions (3d and
ceived any required clothing, equip- Capital), the ROK marine regiment (1st
ment, and training with U.S. Army Korean Marine Corps), the British com-
gear before joining combat operations. mando company (41st Independent
Also operating as part of the 2d Commando, Royal Marines), and the
Logistical Command was Sweden's con- American Special Operations Com-
tribution to the U.N. Command, a 400- pany. General Almond also controlled
bed Red Cross field hospital. The 160 the U.S. Army's 2d Special Engineer
civilians on the hospital staff had re- Brigade, which handled port opera-
ceived assimilated military ranks so as tions at Hungnam, fifty miles north of
to be "respected and protected" as pro- Wonsan, where most of the X Corps'
vided in the Geneva Conventions of seaborne supplies, either transshipped
1949.12 Although organized as a mo- from Pusan or shipped directly from
bile evacuation hospital, it had been Japan, arrived. Ten miles inland from
augmented by a U.S. Army medical ad- Hungnam, Almond had established X
ministrative detachment and had be- Corps headquarters in the city of
come a fixed installation in Pusan han- Hamhung. (Chart 2)
The American predominance in op-
erations was nowhere more evident
11 See Eighth Army, "Logistical Problems and Their
than in the organization and equipment
Solutions."
12 The conventions provide certain protections for
military medical personnel in combat areas and offer
the same to Red Cross members if they ar e subject to 13 In January 1951 this detachment would become
military laws and regulations." the U.N. Civil Assistance Command, Korea.
KWP-EBB-0049
KWP-EBB-0050

30 EBB AND FLOW

of the assorted ground forces assem- fantry weapons. Continuing in use were
bled under U.S. command. ROK for- Colt .45-caliber pistols, .30-caliber car-
mations and, except for the British bines, .45-caliber Thompson and M3
Commonwealth forces, all U.N. units submachine guns, .50-caliber Browning
were structured under modified U.S. machine guns, and 60-mm., 81-mm.,
Army tables of organization, and all of and 4.2-inch mortars (but a new model
their weapons and almost all of their of the 4.2 with considerably greater
other equipment and supplies were of range). Although 2.36-inch rocket
American manufacture.14 launchers remained standard weapons,
As a result of revised tables of organi- they were being supplanted by a new
zation and equipment, the structure of and more powerful 3.5-inch version.
U.S. divisions was distinctly different Virtually new were 57-mm. and 75-
in many respects from that of their mm. recoilless rifles tested but used very
World War II counterparts. The modi- little during the last few months of
fications affected every unit level from World War II.
squad upward; the latest change, to be- The tank units assigned to infantry
come effective on 29 November 1950, divisions were equipped with light M24
set the authorized war strength of an Chaffee, medium M4A3 Sherman, and
infantry division at 18,855, more than heavy M26 Pershing tanks, all World
4,000 greater than that of a World War War II models, and the M46 Patton, a
II division. A comparable increase in modified version of the Pershing intro-
organic firepower came largely from duced in 1948. New tank models were
an increase in the number of field artil- being developed, but none would reach
lery pieces and the addition of tanks, Korea in time to play a combat role.
antiaircraft artillery, and heavy mortars British tanks in use included the World
that previously had not been included War II vintage Churchill and a new 52-
in a division's own arsenal.15 ton Centurion.
The weapons being used in Korea, The basic divisional field artillery
as well as the vehicles and other equip- weapons continued to be the 105-mm.
ment, were in the main the same mod- and 155-mm. howitzers, but now with
els and types used during World War six tubes in each battery instead of four
II. Large numbers were the very same as in World War II, an increase that
weapons. The .30-caliber M1 rifle, raised a division's total to fifty-four
.30-caliber Browning automatic rifle, 105-mm. and eighteen 155-mm. pieces.
and light and heavy .30-caliber Brow- Nondivisional battalions in Korea also
ning machine guns remained basic in- were equipped with these weapons and
with 155-mm. guns and 8-inch how-
14 See Fox, "Inter-Allied Co-operation During Com- itzers. Except for the single 8-inch unit
bat Operations." in Korea, their batteries, too, had six
15 For accounts of the development of postwar ta- tubes each.
bles and the resulting changes in units, see John K.
Mahon and Romana Danysh, Infantry, Part I: Regular The antiaircraft battalion now or-
Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, ganic to division artillery was equipped
1972), a volume in the ARMY LINEAGE SERIES, with twin 40-mm. guns and quad .50-
pp. 70-87; and MS, John B. Wilson, Divisions and
Separate Brigades, also to be in the same series, CMH caliber machine guns, all self-propelled.
files. In addition to the same weapons, a few
KWP-EBB-0051

THE 3.5-INCH ROCKET LAUNCHER, a new ground weapon.


KWP-EBB-0052

32 EBB AND FLOW

THE 57-MM. RECOILLESS RIFLE

nondivisional antiaircraft artillery bat- practice had started in July 1950 with
talions in Korea were armed with 90- occasional requests from ground units
mm. guns. Of significant benefit to the to the 3d Air Rescue Squadron of the
divisions in Korea was the virtual ab- Fifth Air Force for the help of Sikorsky
sence of enemy air attacks on UNC H-5s in evacuating critically wounded
ground troops, which permitted exten- men from forward aid stations. An in-
sive use of divisional antiaircraft weap- creasing demand for such assistance
ons in a ground support role. The and the success of the squadron in
value of these weapons in support of safely bringing back wounded who
both offensive and defensive ground might not have survived a slow, rough
operations had been well established overland move led to the Army's for-
during World War II and was quickly mal adoption of helicopters for medi-
reaffirmed. cal evacuation. The Army's 2d Helicop-
An operational innovation of grow- ter Detachment, the first of four such
ing importance was the use of helicop- units scheduled for deployment to
ters as ambulances to evacuate seriously Korea, arrived on 22 November. Fol-
wounded men from the front. This lowing a two-month training period to
KWP-EBB-0053

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 33

THE 75-MM. RECOILLESS RIFLE

became familiar with its Bell H-13 craft shortage of evacuation hospitals, each
and the Korean terrain, the unit was to MASH had been enlarged to 150 beds
become operational as an attachment and was handling more than just sur-
to the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical gery patients. But the early treatment
Hospital. of wounded at a MASH located only
The mobile army surgical hospital, minutes from the battlefield, combined
or MASH, as it was instantly and per- with the swift, comfortable delivery of
manently dubbed, also was a new kind seriously hurt men by helicopter, had
of organization conceived soon after helped to lower the fatality rate for the
World War II, mainly as a way of bring- Army's wounded. The rate had been
ing emergency lifesaving surgery closer 4.5 percent during World War II. In
to critically wounded men. The con- Korea, it would eventually reach a new
cept called for placing and keeping a low of 2.5 percent.16
sixty-bed, truck-borne MASH in a for-
ward location just out of enemy artil-
lery range in support of each division.
Only four of the mobile units were in 16 The rates cited are from Frank A. Reister, Battle

Korea, not enough to place one in sup- Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.S. Army Experience in
the Korean War (Washington: Department of the Army,
port of each division; and, because of a Office of the Surgeon General), pp. 15-16.
KWP-EBB-0054

34 EBB AND FLOW

THE M46 PATTON TANK

Air Forces
pull in units from distant theater loca-
For air operations in Korea, it had tions and adjust the locations of some
been necessary at the beginning of units within Japan to bring them within
hostilities to make expedient and expe- range of the battle area. Additional
ditious changes in Far East Air Forces forces and equipment also had had to
dispositions, equipment, and organiza- be requisitioned from the United States.
tion. General Stratemeyer's principal The change in equipment had
prewar mission of maintaining an air stemmed from a recent conversion of
defense of his theater had compelled Far East Air Forces fighter units from
the deployment of subordinate air com- F-51 Mustangs to F-80C Shooting Stars,
mands over a wide area. Only the Fifth short-range jet interceptors not meant
Air Force and the Far East Air Mate- to be flown at low altitudes in support
riel Command, which handled air logis- of ground operations. The U.S. Air
tics throughout the theater, had been Force inventory included the F-84E
based in Japan. To create a force capa- Thunderjet that was adaptable to air-
ble of operations in Korea, General ground operations, but its use required
Stratemeyer had found it necessary to better airfields than those existing in
KWP-EBB-0055

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 35

THE SIKORSKY H-5 HELICOPTER

Japan and Korea. The immediate alter- Far East Air Forces had been estab-
native had been to return to the F-51 lished, Bomber Command under Maj.
with its longer range and its capacity Gen. Emmett O'Donnell, Jr., to handle
for low-level missions and operations deep interdiction and strategic bomb-
from short and rough fields. In strik- ing operations and Combat Cargo
ing a balance to meet all air require- Command under Maj. Gen. William H.
ments, Stratemeyer had reconverted Tunner to lift troops and supplies. 17
half of his F-80C squadrons to F-51s. Bomber Command currently possessed
As of 23 November the F-80Cs and ninety-five B-29s, now classed as me-
F-51s remained the basic fighter air- dium bombers, and included the 19th
craft, but the Far East Air Forces were and 307th Bombardment Groups based
in the process of importing both F-84Es at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and
and the high performance F-86A Sa- the 98th Bombardment Group and 91st
bres from the United States and were Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at
improving airfields in Japan and Korea
to handle them.
17 General O'Donnell was on temporary duty from
In organizational changes, two provi- his assignment as commander of the Fifteenth Air
sional commands subordinated to the Force, Strategic Air Command.
KWP-EBB-0056

36 EBB AND FLOW


headquarters of the Eighth Army, in-
cluding the Joint Operations Center
and Tactical Air Control Center, which
arranged and dispatched air sorties.
Fifth Air Force units included two light
bomber wings, each with three squad-
rons of B-26s based in Japan, and five
fighter wings located on Korean fields.
The fighter wings included six squad-
rons of F-80Cs and eight squadrons and
a separate flight of F- 51s. 19 The F-80C
jets operated from Kimpo Airfield west
of Seoul and a field at Taegu; the F-5 is
flew from North Korean fields, five
squadrons and the separate flight based
on P'yongyang and P'yongyang East
Airfields behind the Eighth Army,
three squadrons stationed at Yonp'o
Airfield near Hungnam behind the X
Corps. Other Fifth Air Force units in-
cluded a squadron of F-82 all-weather
THE F7F TIGERCAT fighters based in Japan but used spar-
ingly over Korea because the Air Force
possessed so few and supply support
Yokota, Japan. Combat Cargo Com- for them was limited. For reconnais-
mand comprised four carrier groups, sance missions, General Partridge had
all based in Japan, equipped with C-46, two photo squadrons (RF-80 and
C-47, C-54, and C-119 aircraft. Gen- RB-26) at the Taegu field and a visual
eral Tunner also controlled the opera- squadron (RF-51) in Japan. His remain-
tions of a U.S. Marine squadron flying ing unit was a squadron of T-6 Mosqui-
R5Ds. 18 toes based at P'yongyang East Airfield
Tactical air operations were the prov- for the control of close support sorties.20
ince of the Fifth Air Force under Maj. Additional UNC air strength in-
Gen. Earle E. Partridge. By 23 Novem- cluded the U.S. 1st Marine Aircraft
ber General Partridge had set up head-
quarters in Seoul adjacent to the main
19 Australia and South Africa had contributed two
of the F-51 units, the 77 Royal Australian Air Force
Squadron and 2d South African Air Force Squadron.
18 Canada also had allocated a transport squadron The separate flight belonged to the fledgling ROK
to support the U.N. Command. Its Royal Canadian Air Force. Also serving with the Fifth Air Force were
Air Force Transport Squadron No. 426 equipped with twenty fighter pilots and a number of technicians from
North Star planes flew regularly scheduled flights be- Canada.
tween McCord Air Force Base, Washington, and 20 The above information on UNC air forces is based
Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Additional transports for on Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea; Hq,
flights within the theater would become available on FEAF, Korean Air War Summary, 25 Jun 50-30 Jun
26 November upon the arrival from Greece of the 51; and Lt. Col. Herbert Fairlie Wood, Strange Battle-
Royal Hellenic Air Force Flight No. 13 with six Da- ground (Ottawa: Queen's Printer and Controller of
kota aircraft. Stationery, 1966), pp. 14, 179.
KWP-EBB-0057

A MASH NURSE
KWP-EBB-0058

(Top to bottom) THE F-80C SHOOTING STAR, F-84E THUNDERJET, AND F-86A
SABREJET
KWP-EBB-0059

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 39

Wing with four squadrons of F4U Cor-


sairs and two squadrons of F7F Tigercat
night fighters based on Wonsan and
Yonp'o Airfields behind the X Corps
and on an escort carrier off the east
coast, and two U.S. Navy air groups
aboard carriers, each with five squad-
rons, equipped with F4Us, F9F Pan-
therjets, and AD Skyraiders. Naval air
units also included Fleet Air Wing Six,
which, with three U.S. squadrons of
Neptunes and Mariners and two Royal
Air Force squadrons of Sunderlands,
carried out Naval Forces, Far East, air
patrol operations over Japanese and
Korean waters. 21
Given the varied sources of UNC air
strength, effective air operations in Ko-
rea had required some form of central-
ized control. General Stratemeyer dur-
ing the first days of the war had sought
THE F9F PANTHERJET
operational control of all aviation oper-
ating from Japan or over Korea except
that employed in purely naval tasks,
such as the patrolling by Fleet Air Fifth Air Force commander, General
Wing Six. Admiral Joy had resisted Partridge. Although differences arose
giving over that much control of his between the air and naval commands
aircraft and carriers, judging that over the exact meaning of coordina-
doing so could damage his command's tion control, the system was still in use
ability to meet other naval responsi- in late November.22 (Chart 3)
bilities. In compromise, General Mac-
Arthur had given Stratemeyer "coordi- Naval Forces
nation control," a lesser degree of
UNC naval units currently included
authority that centralized the conduct
the U.S. Seventh Fleet and three sepa-
of air operations in Stratemeyer with-
rate task forces. Task Force 96, the
out giving him direct control of Navy
single, small combat force available to
and Marine air units. Stratemeyer, in
Admiral Joy at the opening of hostili-
turn, had delegated the coordination
ties, now included Fleet Air Wing Six,
of close support operations to the
an escort carrier group, a submarine
group, and a service group located in
21 Field, United States Naval Operations,Korea, p.
27 6
; Japan to handle Naval Forces, Far East,
Commander Malcolm W. Cagle and Commander logistical functions in port. The task
Frank A. Manson, The Sea War in Korea (Annapolis:
United States Naval Institute, 1957), pp. 374-77, 499,
520-22. The British units were RAF Squadrons 88 22 Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 388;
and 209. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea.
KWP-EBB-0060

40 EBB AND FLOW


CHART 3-ORGANIZATION FOR UNC AIR OPERATIONS IN KOREA
23 NOVEMBER 1950

force also had a number of Japanese- len E. Smith, constituted the U.N.
manned and -supported freighters and Blockading and Escort Force. Incorpo-
landing ships of the Shipping Control rated with the U.S. contingent of the
Administration, Japan, that were em- force were all line ships furnished by
ployed in the intra-area lift of troops other U.N. countries and South Korea.
and supplies.23 Joy himself was the task To enforce the blockade of the Korean
force commander. From a nucleus of coast and to perform bombardment
five ships, Task Force 90 commanded and minesweeping assignments, Admi-
by Rear Adm. James H. Doyle had be- ral Smith's force was deployed in both
come a full-fledged amphibious force. 24 the Yellow Sea washing Korea on the
So far in the war, Admiral Doyle's west and the Sea of Japan on the east.25
force had participated in three major Before the outbreak of hostilities, the
landings-at P'ohang-dong, Inch'on, Seventh Fleet:, commanded by Vice
and Wonsan-and was currently posted Adm. Arthur D. Struble, had been
in both Japanese and Korean waters. based in the Philippines. Its operations
Task Force 95, under Rear Adm. Al- at that time were under the control of
Adm. Arthur E. Radford, Commander
23 On 25 June 1950, Joy's line ships had consisted of
1 antiaircraft light cruiser, 4 destroyers, I frigate 25 Another assignment, the escort of convoys be-
(Australian), and 1 submarine. tween Japan and Korea, was canc eled early in the war
24 The five original vessels were a command ship, after it became obvious that the North Koreans would
attack transport, attack cargo ship, LST, and fleet tug. make no effort against shipping.
KWP-EBB-0061

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 41

THE USS LEYTE BEING REFUELED AT SEA

in Chief, Pacific Fleet, but standing or- 72 were handling the Formosa patrol.
ders passed control to Admiral Joy Admiral Struble himself and two task
whenever the Seventh Fleet operated forces were in the immediate battle
in Japanese waters or in the event of an area. Task Force 77, a fast carrier force
emergency. When these orders went commanded by Rear Adm. Edward C.
into effect after the war started, the Sev- Ewen, was deployed off the eastern Ko-
enth Fleet, at the direction of President rean coast in the Sea of Japan. Its two
Truman, was assigned both to conduct carriers, the Leyte and Philippine Sea,
combat operations in Korean waters each carried an air group of five squad-
and to operate in the Formosa area rons and, together, were operating with
where its presence and patrolling could approximately a hundred fifty planes.
discourage the Chinese on the main- Underway replenishment for Ewen's
land and the Nationalists on the island ships was provided by a logistical sup-
from attacking each other and thus pre- port force, Task Force 79.26 (Chart 4)
vent a widening of hostilities.
As of 23 November Fleet Air Wing 26 The information on UNC naval forces is based
One, headquartered on Okinawa, and on Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea; Cagle
surface ships constituting Task Force and Manson, The Sea War in Korea.
KWP-EBB-0062

42 EBB AND FLOW


CHART 4-ORGANIZATION FOR UNC NAVAL OPERATIONS IN KOREA
23 NOVEMBER 1950

The UNC Plan of Advance as MacArthur began to increase air op-


erations in the northwest, he asked the
With these forces at his disposal, Gen-
Joint Chiefs of Staff for instructions on
eral MacArthur planned to continue
how to deal with the enemy hit-and-
operations by combining his overland run tactics. There was historical and
advance with air attacks on the princi-
legal precedent under which UNC
pal Yalu River bridges to shut off Chi- pilots, once engaged by enemy fliers
nese reinforcement from Manchuria. over North Korea, could continue the
He also planned to intensify air attacks
air battle even though maneuvers car-
opened during the first week of No- ried them into the air space above Man-
vember on North Korean towns judged churia. The Joint Chiefs, Secretary of
to be important centers for enemy sup- Defense Marshall, Secretary of State
ply and communications.
Acheson, and President Truman all fa-
Against the earlier attacks on towns
vored adopting this course, commonly
deep in northwestern Korea, enemy referred to as "hot pursuit," since it
fighter pilots, some flying Russian-built
could not be construed, at least ac-
MIG-15 jets, had adopted a special
cording to precedent, as a violation of
countermeasure, rising from nearby Manchurian territory. They dropped
Manchurian fields and climbing to su-
the idea, however, after encountering
perior altitudes before crossing the
strong objections from officials of other
border, then making diving attacks on
nations with forces in Korea.28
UNC planes and darting back to sanc-
The Washington reaction to Mac-
tuary above the Yalu. 27 On 7 November,
Arthur's plan to bomb the Yalu bridges
27 The first MIG- 15 appeared over northwestern Ko-
followed an opposite sequence. Because
rea on I November. The first all-jet air battle in his bridge attacks at the border might
tory occurred on 8 November when Lt. Russell J. result in inadvertent bombing of Man-
Brown, U.S. Air Force, flying an F-80, shot down a
MIG-15 over Sinuiju. In another first, the initial use
of incendiary bombs in the war occurred on 4 Novem-
ber when B-29s of the 98th Group attacked the city 28 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 247-50; Futrell,
of Ch'ongjin in northeastern Korea. The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 210-11.
KWP-EBB-0063

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 43


churian territory, thus undermining River, which for eleven miles up-
forthcoming endeavors to assure China stream from its mouth marks the bor-
that the northern border of Korea was der between Korea and the Soviet
the extent of UNC interest and perhaps Union. 30
triggering a crisis expanding the war, General Walker laid out a new plan
President Truman ordered the air plan of advance on 6 November but delayed
canceled. But MacArthur won a re- executing it while he strengthened his
versal from the president by protesting attack force and supplies. In pursuit of
that unopposed Chinese troop and North Korean Army remnants, the
materiel movements across the Yalu Eighth Army had moved through west-
bridges threatened to destroy his ern North Korea with two corps and
command. On 8 and 9 November he six divisions. Fully expecting to meet
opened air attacks on the Yalu crossings Chinese forces when he again moved
at Sinuiju, Ch'ongsongjin, Namsan-ni, north, Walker intended to increase his
Manp'ojin, and Hyesanjin. So as not to force to three corps, eight divisions, and
violate Manchurian territory, bombing three brigades. By 6 November he had
runs were made against only the first started the additional units forward
overwater spans on the Korean side of and planned to reopen his advance
the river.2 9 around the 15th provided he could ar-
For the ground advance, General range adequate logistical support by
MacArthur initially let stand his order that date.31
of 24 October allowing General Walker Supply requirements had plagued
and General Almond each to proceed Walker from the time he crossed the
toward the border independently. In 38th parallel. For the initial advance
the northeast, where Chinese had re- into North Korea, the Eighth Army
sisted only the X Corps' west flank was to have received supplies through
forces before breaking contact on 6 Inch'on, but the port had been tied
November, Almond resumed his ad- up during the first half of October by
vance with almost no perceptible pause, the X Corps' outloading for Wonsan.
pushing four divisions over three Walker, as a result, had sent forces
widely separated axes. Inland on the across the parallel with only a marginal
corps left, the U.S. 1st Marine Division store of provisions.32
climbed toward the Changjin Reservoir Replenishing these small stocks had
atop the Taebaek Mountains. The U.S. been another problem. Battle-damaged
7th Infantry Division moved northward rail lines had not been repaired beyond
over the next arterial road to the east the Pusan Perimeter at the time of the
leading from Pukch'ong near the coast
to Hyesanjin on the Yalu. On the corps
right, the South Korean Capital and 3d 30 X Corps operations between 26 October and 26
Divisions of the ROK I Corps followed November 1950 are covered in Appleman, South to the
Naktong, chs. XXXVIII and XXXIX.
the coastal road toward the Tumen 31 Eighth Army Opn Plan 14, 6 Nov 50; Memo, Gen
Walker for CinC, FEC, 6 Nov 50; Rad, GX 27681
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 13 Nov
50.
29 Schnabel, Policy andDirection, pp. 241-46; Futrell, 32 Memo, Gen Walker for CinC, FEC, 6 Nov 50;
The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 209-13. Eighth Army G4 SS Rpt, 6 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0064

44 EBB AND FLOW

crossing, and at the last week of Octo- offensive. This rate could be established
ber train service on the main line had only by repairing the main rail line
been restored no farther than the Imjin from the existing railhead at the south
River, thirty miles above Seoul and a bank of the Imjin River into P'yongyang
hundred fifty miles below the Eighth and by opening the west coast port
Army front on the Ch'ongch'on River. of Chinnamp'o on the estuary of the
Even then, Walker's engineers had Taedong River twenty-five miles south-
pieced together only a single pair of west of P'yongyang. 34
rails out of a double track system, The time needed to meet these re-
which, together with the poor condi- quirements, in particular to complete
tion of the bridges, sharply limited the railroad bridge repairs and to sweep
line's capacity. This restriction had away mines strewn by the North Ko-
forced extremely heavy supply traffic reans at Chinnamp'o, forced Walker to
onto the roads. Three-fourths of the drop his 15 November target date. By
Eighth Army's trucks had operated the 17th, however, five trains were run-
around the clock out of Pusan and ning about a hundred cars with 2,000
Inch'on and from railheads and air- tons of supplies into P'yongyang daily,
heads to keep Walker's forces moving. and at Chinnamp'o the daily discharge
This support had threatened to wear was reaching upwards of 1,500 tons.
out before the Eighth Army reached With his transportation system moving
the Ch'ongch'on because of too many into higher gear, Walker was able to set
deadlined vehicles and too few repair the 24th as the date for reopening his
parts. In fact, only through the addi- offensive.35
tion of a daily airlift of 1,000 tons from During the time used to arrange ade-
Kimpo Airfield to P'yongyang had the quate logistical support, Walker main-
Eighth Army been able to support its tained some contact with enemy forces
advance from the North Korean capi- through patrolling and short advances.
tal to the Ch'ongch'on. 33 He mounted the advances with the I
Far too few supplies were stockpiled Corps and ROK II Corps, keeping the
at the front on 6 November to support IX Corps, which only recently had come
the advance; petroleum products and forward, to his right rear to secure and
ammunition were especially short, the refuse the Eighth Army's east flank. En-
latter amounting only to a single day of emy resistance initially ranged from lit-
fire. With winter approaching, Walker tle or none in the west to sharp local
also needed to equip his troops with counterattacks in the rougher ground
heavier clothing. In addition to build- to the east, then subsided everywhere
ing up stocks in forward areas, he faced after 12 November. Later, in final prep-
the necessity of accelerating the north- aration for the attack, Walker inserted
ward flow of resupply. His logistics offi-
cer, Col. Albert K. Stebbins, estimated
that a daily flow of at least 4,000 tons 34 Ibid.; Appleman, South to the Naktong, p. 771.
35 Eighth Army G4 SS Rpts, 7-18 Nov 50; Eighth
was needed to sustain a three-corps Army Trans SS Rpts, 7-18 Nov 50; Rad, GX 27880
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C:/S ROKA et al., 17 Nov
50; Rad, GX 50025 KGLX, CG Eighth Army to
33 Ibid. CINCFE, 22 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0065

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 45


the IX Corps in the center of his line so In view of the terrain north of the
that the I, IX, and ROK II Corps were Eighth Army, close coordination would
deployed west to east along a seventy- not be easy. Except for the flats and
mile front. As the Eighth Army was low hills of the lower Ch'ongch'on val-
disposed on the eve of the renewed ley and a slim band of lowlands on the
advance, the Ch'ongch'on River flow- west coast, rough mountains filled the
ing southwestward into the Yellow Sea space between the army front and the
split the army position into two nearly northern border. Extremely dissected
equal parts. (Map 3) The western ridges trended northwestward above
half formed a bridgehead above the the western half of the army line, and
Ch'ongch'on, arching from the mouth the western watershed of the Taebaeks
of the river to a depth of ten miles spread in dendritic patterns beyond
and then returning to the Ch'ongch'on the Eighth Army positions in the east.
some thirty-five miles upstream. The Six roads offered the main axes of
remainder stretched another thirty-five movement through this ground. On the
miles almost due east into the western extreme west, Korea's main arterial
watershed of the Taebaek Mountains.36 road, Route 1, with the main rail line
alongside, moved from Sinanju on
The Eighth Army Plan the Ch'ongch'on through the coastal
lowland to Sinuiju on the Yalu oppo-
Walker meanwhile revised his attack
site An-tung, Manchuria. Another arte-
plan to include more specific instruc-
rial road, with a single-track rail line
tions for a coordinated advance. He
paralleling it, ran northeastward from
originally had directed his forces to
Sinanju along the upstream trace of
"coordinate their advance with elements
the Ch'ongch'on through the towns of
on flanks," otherwise giving them only
Anju, Kunu-ri, Huich'on, and Kanggye,
the general instruction to advance to
then turned northwest to Manp'ojin on
the northern border in zone. In revi-
the border. The other roads passed
sion, he drew clearly defined phase
northwestward through mountain cor-
lines and restricted to himself the au-
ridors between these two routes.
thority to move beyond each.37 This
Walker intended that his three corps
would keep his forces from dangling advance abreast over all six axes. The I
tenuously at the ends of their supply
and IX Corps initially were to move to
lines and from inviting ambush by mov-
a phase line some twenty miles out,
ing independently into enemy territory which would give them a road to assist
as they had done during the October lateral communication and would get
pursuit.
them into the mountain corridors lead-
ing to the border. On the right, the
36 Rad, GX 27333 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROK II Corps was to advance through
ROKA et al., 7 Nov 50; Rad, GX 27470 KGOO, CG
Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 9 Nov 50; Rad, GX
the mountains east of the Ch'ongch'on
27914 KGOO, CC Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., valley road to a phase line arching from
18 Nov 50; Eighth Army WD, Sum, Nov 50; Eighth Huich'on east and southeast to the army
Army G3 SS Rpt, 23-24 Nov 50.
37 Eighth Army Opn Plan 14, 6 Nov 50, Opn Plan boundary at the village of Inch'o-ri.
15, 14 Nov 50, and Opn Plan 16, 23 Nov 50. The South Koreans were to contact
KWP-EBB-0066
KWP-EBB-0067

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 47


General Almond's rear units in the MacArthur, however, chose to revive
vicinity of Inch'o-ri and thus, nomi- the concept formulated but not used in
nally at least, close a worrisome forty- October of sending X Corps forces
mile gap-holding the spine and high- westward toward the Eighth Army.
est watershed ridges of the northern Since the UNC front slanted across
Taebaeks-that currently existed, be- the peninsula with the Eighth Army
tween the Eighth Army and X Corps. holding the more southerly portion of
Meanwhile, as Walker issued his final the tilted line, a westward attack by
instructions, Far East Air Forces pilots, Almond's forces would place them deep
under General MacArthur's orders, in the enemy's rear, giving them an ex-
flew night and day reconnaissance cellent opportunity to ease the Eighth
missions over the gap area but sighted Army's progress. 3 9
no enemy forces.38 Almond initially proposed that he
could best help the Eighth Army by
A Change in X Corps Plans continuing northward and then, if
feasible, by attacking west from some
By 23 November the X Corps' as- point above the Changjin Reservoir.
sault divisions had advanced against This proposal fairly coincided with
spotty resistance to separated posi- what MacArthur had in mind. On 15
tions spread over a space of 150 air November he instructed Almond to
miles. The 1st Marine Division held open an attack to the west after his in-
the town of Hagaru-ri at the lower end land flank forces reached the town of
of the Changjin Reservoir. Seventy Changjin, twenty-five miles north of the
miles to the northeast, the 7th Divi- reservoir. Thirty miles west of Changjin
sion occupied Hyesanjin on the Yalu. lay Kanggye and a junction with the
Thirty miles east and slightly south of arterial road and rail line connecting
Hyesanjin, the ROK 3d Division had Manp'ojin and Huich'on. The road and
moved inland to the town of Hapsu; track obviously served as enemy supply
and some forty miles northeast of routes, and it was MacArthur's inten-
Hapsu, the ROK Capital Division was tion that the X Corps' westward attack
at the outskirts of Ch'ongjin on the would cut them.40
coast.
General Almond had given his divi- 39 X Corps Opn 0 6, 11 Nov 50; Ltr, Gen Wright to
sions their border objectives on 11 Gen Almond, 10 Nov 50. In reviewing the above dis-
cussion of planning for the X Corps' attack to the
November. The 1st Marine Division was west, General Matthew B. Ridgway commented: "I
to occupy a forty-mile stretch of the find it amazing that highly trained professionals with
lower Yalu River bank due north of extensive combat experience could have approved and
tried to execute the tactical plan of operations for the
the Changjin Reservoir; the 7th Divi- X Corps in northeast Korea in November 1950. It
sion was to hold the region between appears like a pure Map Exercise put on by amateurs,
Hyesanjin and Hapsu; the two divisions appealing in theory, but utterly ignoring the reality of
a huge mountainous terrain, largely devoid of terres-
of the ROK I Corps were to clear the trial communications, and ordered for execution in
remaining ground to the east. General the face of a fast approaching sub-arctic winter."
Ridgway, MS review comments, 27 Feb 85.
40 Ltr, Gen Almond to Gen Wright, 15 Nov 50; Rad,
38 Ibid.; Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 272. CX 69009, CINCFE to CG X Corps, 15 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0068

48 EBB AND FLOW

Apprehensive, after further con- would encounter heaviest resistance in


sideration, that the supply line of the the ground bordering the Ch'ongch'on
attack force would become precariously valley in the center of its zone, General
extended in any drive westward from a Walker asked the Fifth Air Force to give
point as far north as Changjin town, that region priority for close support.
Almond offered the alternative of an He wanted second priority given to his
attack over the road leading into the inland flank, which was held insecurely
Eighth Army zone from Yudam-ni at by South Korean forces, and some at-
the western edge of the Changjin Re- tention given to the west coast area, al-
servoir. The enemy supply routes were though he expected opposition there
to be cut at the village of Mup'yong-ni, to be light.43
fifty-five miles west of Yudam-ni and In line with these priorities, the Joint
forty miles north of Huich'on. Almond Operations Center arranged 120 sor-
intended that the 1st Marine Divi- ties for the Eighth Army's opening
sion make the westward effort into advance, these and others that might
Mup'yong-ni and then press an attack be requested during the day to be flown
northwestward to the Yalu, pinching by the Fifth Air Force squadrons based
out in the process the ROK II Corps in western Korea. General Partridge al-
on the Eighth Army right. MacArthur lotted the Fifth Air Force and Marine
agreed to the change and instructed squadrons in northeastern Korea to the
Almond to begin the attack as soon as support of the X Corps. The Navy
possible.41 squadrons aboard the Leyte and Philip-
Almond set the 27th as the opening pine Sea meanwhile were to fly interdic-
date. The 7th Division meanwhile was tion missions in the Eighth Army zone.
to expand its zone westward, placing Although Admiral Ewen considered in-
forces on the east side of the Changjin terdictory flights into western Korea
Reservoir for an advance to the Yalu from carriers in the Sea of Japan un-
through the zone previously assigned economical, Partridge turned down as
to the marines. The ROK I Corps was unneeded Ewen's counterproposal that
to continue to the border from Hapsu the carrier-based planes fly supplemen-
and Ch'ongjin while Almond's remain- tal close support missions for the X
ing major units, the U.S. 3d Division Corps. As planned, Task Force 77 and
and 1st Korean Marine Corps Regi- Far East Air Forces' Bomber Command
ment, secured the corps rear area be- were to strike bridges and lines of com-
tween Wonsan and Hungnam. 4 2 munications within a fifteen-mile strip
along the Yalu River. 44 This interdic-
The Air Plan tion would in effect extend the air cam-
Believing that the Eighth Army

41 X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50; X Corps Opn Plan 8, 43 Ltr, Maj Gen Leven C. Allen, CofS Eighth Army,
16 Nov 50; Rad, CX 69661, CINCFE to CG X Corps, to CG Fifth Air Force, 23 Nov 50.
23 Nov 50. 44 Eighth Army G3 Air Briefing Rpts, 24 and 25
42 X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50; X Corps Opn 0 7, 25 Nov 50; Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea,
Nov 50. p. 262.
KWP-EBB-0069

THE FORCES AND THE PLANS 49


paign launched earlier by General Mac- General MacArthur expressed his
Arthur against the Yalu bridges and confidence when he reviewed opera-
North Korean supply and communica- tions after flying to Korea to watch
tions centers. the Eighth Army take its first steps
forward on the morning of the 24th.
He described the advance toward the
The Outlook for Victory
border as "massive compression en-
Brightening the outlook for success velopment," and as a "pincer" opera-
in reaching the border during the time tion in which his air units were the
taken to prepare the forces and plans "isolating components" for the two
was the light opposition to the X Corps' arms of the ground advance, the
latest advances, in which 7th Division Eighth Army and X Corps. In the air
units near the center of the corps zone campaign, now more than two weeks
had gone all the way to the Yalu. In the old, the bombing attacks on the Yalu
Eighth Army zone, too, enemy forces River crossings had knocked down
for the most part had remained inac- spans of the highway bridge at Sinuiju
tive and inconspicuous since mid- and two bridges at Hyesanjin, and in-
November. Eighth Army patrols rang- cendiary strikes against North Korean
ing deep into enemy territory during towns had destroyed between 20 and
that time had encountered outposts but 95 percent of the built-up areas. It was
no major force or position. In neither MacArthur's appraisal that this effort
zone was any evidence of offensive had "successfully interdicted enemy
preparations uncovered. It appeared, lines of support from the north so that
rather, that the enemy had adopted a further reinforcement therefrom has
defensive strategy and that the Chinese, been sharply curtailed and essential
after breaking off their engagement supplies markedly limited." In the
on 6 November, had withdrawn into ground advance, MacArthur believed
position defenses some distance to the the recent moves of the X Corps had
north.45 placed it in a "commanding envelop-
Also encouraging was the estimate ment position" for the westward thrust
of enemy strength, in particular the into the Eighth Army zone. Enthusi-
strength of Chinese forces. By 23 No- astic, if less positive, about the Eighth
vember the latest, and highest, esti- Army's advance just getting under way,
mate of total enemy strength was about he believed that "if successful," it
167,000, that of Chinese forces alone "should for all practical purposes end
about 70,000.46 The figures repre- the war."47
sented substantial increases over the By appearances and appraisals, a
estimates of early November but still UNC victory did seem within reach. If
left the Eighth Army and X Corps with the bright outlook had a drab side, it
a solid numerical superiority. was the lack of definite knowledge

47 Cagle and Manson, The Sea War in Korea,


45 Eighth Army PIRs 118-135, 7-24 Nov 50. pp. 222-29; USAF Historical Study No. 72, pp. 22-32;
46 Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 259; GHQ FEC Communique No. 12, 24 Nov 50. The
Appleman, South to the Naktong, p. 763. quotations are from the last source.
KWP-EBB-0070

50 EBB AND FLOW

about the extent and purpose of Com- to obtain by advancing, and the clarifi-
munist China's participation in the cation of Chinese objectives, which the
war. Indeed, persisting questions in- Joint Chiefs of Staff had decided they
volved the "accurate measure of enemy needed before considering a change in
strength," which MacArthur intended the UNC mission.
KWP-EBB-0071

CHAPTER III

The Enemy
Kanggye, the town considered but feated early in the war, remained virtu-
not selected as the objective of the X ally nonexistent, and the North Korean
Corps' planned attack to the west, was People's Army, while on paper an impres-
now the seat of North Korean govern- sive organization of eight corps, thirty
ment. Forced out of P'yongyang by the divisions, and several brigades, was in
Eighth Army's advance in October, fact a depleted force. 2
Kim II Sung, the premier of North Ko- The only major North Korean unit
rea and commander in chief of the actively engaged at the front on the 23d
North Korean Armed Forces, had estab- was the IV Corps employing one divi-
lished a new capital at Sinuiju, the sion and two brigades, its bulk oppos-
Yalu River city opposite An-tung, ing the ROK I Corps in northeastern
Manchuria. When UNC forces moved Korea. The II Corps also was active, but
toward Sinuiju a short time later, he as a guerrilla force operating from a
took his government to Kanggye, deep command post hidden high in the cen-
in the mountains of north central tral mountains near the 38th parallel
Korea. 1 under the direction of General Kim
Chaek, previously the commander of
Front Headquarters, the now defunct
The North Korean Armed Forces
tactical echelon of the North Korean
Also in Kanggye under Kim II Sung People's Army General Headquarters.
was a recently formed Combined Head- Along with bands of South Korean dis-
quarters staffed by both North Korean sidents and North Korean irregulars
and Chinese officers. Kim was publi- who had long populated the Taebaek
cized as commanding the operations of and southwestern mountains, four re-
both North Korean and Chinese forces duced divisions of the II Corps con-
from this headquarters, but the com- ducted desultory guerrilla opera-
bined agency was really no more than a tions both above and below the 38th
mechanism for coordinating North parallel while they gradually reorga-
Korean operations with those of the nized around their own remnants and
3
Chinese, and Kim's voice in the con- stragglers from other units.
duct of joint operations was no stronger
than the forces he was able to field. As 2 Ibid., p. 769; GHQ, FEC, Order of Battle Infor-
mation, North Korean Army, 20 Aug 51 and 16 Sep
of 23 November, these forces were few. 51.
North Korean air and naval forces, de- 3 GHQ, FEC, Order of Battle Information, North
Korean Army, 20 Aug 51 and 16 Sep 51. See also
Appleman, South to the Naktong, ch. XXXVII, "Guerrilla
1 Appleman, South to the Naktong, pp. 663-64. Warfare Behind the Front."
KWP-EBB-0072

52 EBB AND FLOW

The rest of the North Korean Army


was in north central Korea and Man-
churia. Much of the General Headquar-
ters itself had entered Manchuria to di-
rect the reorganization and retraining
of three corps and nine divisions that
had crossed the border during the
earlier UNC advance. Under Marshal
Choe Yong Gun, the minister of na-
tional defense and deputy commander
in chief of the North Korean Armed
Forces, and Maj. Gen. Lee Sang Cho,
the North Korean People's Army chief of
staff, the remainder of General Head-
quarters was directing the restoration
of three corps and sixteen divisions in
the vicinity of Kanggye. Few of the
twenty-five divisions being refurbished
possessed more than a semblance of
readiness. Least ready were those in
Manchuria. 4 KIM IL SUNG

TABLE 1-MAJOR NORTH KOREAN PEOPLE'S ARMY


UNITS, 23 NOVEMBER 1950 would oppose the renewed UNC ad-
vance, the Chinese opposition, except
Location Corps Divisions
at sea, would be of major consequence.
Korea . . . . . I, II, III, IV, V 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, The People's Navy, small and scarcely a
5th, 6th, 7th, year and a half old, had primarily a
8th, 9th, 10th,
12th, 15th, 17th,
coastal defense mission at home and
24th, 27th, 31st, would not sortie against the United Na-
38th, 41st, 43d, tions Command. 5 The People'sAir Force,
47th, 105th though also young and small, had en-
Tank
tered the fighting to oppose UNC air
Manchuria . . VI, VII, VIII 13th, 18th, 19th,
operations along the Yalu.6 Apparently
32d, 36th, 37th,
42d, 45th, 46th
5 The approximate composition of the People's Navy
was a light cruiser, perhaps twenty frigates and de-
The Chinese People's Volunteers stroyers, some landing craft, and a few hundred gun-
boats and speedboats. See John Gittings, The Role of
While few North Korean forces the Chinese Army (New York: Oxford University Press,
1967), pp. 141-42.
6 The People's Air Force was organized in 1949. In
early 1950 its aircraft numbered about 100, but pur-
4 GHQ, FEC, Order of Battle Information, North chases from the Soviet Union, according to Far East
Korean Army, 20 Aug 51 and 16 Sep 51; Hq, FEC, Air Forces estimates, raised the inventory to 650 by
History of the North Korean Army, 31 Jul 52, pp. 84, December. Of this total, 250 were conventional and jet
91-92. fighters, 175 ground-attack planes, 150 conventional
KWP-EBB-0073

THE ENEMY 53
to reduce the risk of aircraft losses, the Some 200,000 Chinese constituting
Chinese so far had confined their air the XIII Army Group of the Fourth Field
operations to northwestern Korea and Army faced the Eighth Army in western
had made no real attempt to establish North Korea.10 With six armies, each
air superiority in that region. They with three infantry divisions and a total
were, however, putting up MIG-15s, of about 30,000 men, two artillery divi-
which could outmaneuver the Ameri- sions and the bulk of a third, a cavalry
can F-80C Shooting Stars and F9F regiment, and two truck regiments, the
Panthers. The MIGs were a particular XIII Army Group had entered Korea
reason why the Far East Air Forces during the last half of October, cross-
were importing higher performance ing the Yalu at Sinuiju and Manp'ojin.
F-84E Thunderjets and F-86A Sabres Forces from four of its armies had
from the United States.7 fought the Eighth Army and X Corps
Only a fraction of the Chinese People's in what the Chinese called their First
Liberation Army had entered Korea.8 Phase Offensive between 25 October
Field armies, or "tactical field forces," and 6 November. 11 The air attacks on
which were the elite of the organiza- Yalu bridges opened by General Mac-
tion's combat strength, numbered Arthur on 8 November obviously had
somewhere between two and three mil- no chance to interdict the group's
lion men. Local garrison armies, which movement across the river.
were second-line troops, numbered be- The IX Army Group, part of the Third
tween one and two million more. In Field Army, had entered Korea with
addition, a militia, from which the three armies during the first half
People's Liberation Army drew recruits, of November. The leading army had
had a strength of five million. The frac- crossed the Yalu at Manp'ojin, the other
tion of the Chinese Army in Korea, two at Lin-chiang on a big bend in the
however, was not the 70,000 given in river about sixty miles northeast of
the latest UNC intelligence estimate. Manp'ojin. Far East Air Forces plan-
Over four times that number were ners had not selected the highway
massed in the mountains opposite the bridge at Lin-chiang as a target for the
Eighth Army and X Corps. Yalu bombings, judging it less impor-
tant than the crossings at Hyesanjin and
twin-engine bombers, and 75 transports. See Gittings, over the lower reaches of the river.
The Role of the Chinese Army. p. 136, and Futrell, The
United States Air Force in Korea, p. 231. With the Manp'ojin crossings (a high-
7 Gittings, The Role of the Chinese Army, pp. 136-37; way bridge and a railway bridge) stand-
Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 205-07, ing despite the bombing and with the
210-12, 230-33; Field, United States Naval Operations,
Korea, p. 259.
Lin-chiang bridge untouched, the IX
8 In this volume People's Liberation Army refers only
to ground forces, although by Chinese definition it
includes air and naval forces as well. The term Chinese 10 People's Liberation Army tactical field forces were
Communist Forces, frequently used in official reports organized as four numbered field armies, the First
and the press to designate Chinese military formations, through the Fourth, and some separate units known
is of U.N. Command origin. collectively as the North China Independent Unit. In each
9 Gittings, The Role of the Chinese Army, pp. 76-79; field army, the major groupings in descending order
GHQ, FEC, Order of Battle Information, Chinese were army groups, armies, and divisions.
Communist Regular Ground Forces (China, Man- 11 Hq, USAFFE, Intel Dig (Digest), vol. 1, no. 4,
churia. and Korea), 9 Dec 51; Appleman, South to the 1-15 Feb 53, pp. 26-38; Appleman, South to the Naktong,
Naktong, pp. 768-69. pp. 766-68.
KWP-EBB-0074

54 EBB AND FLOW

Army Group had crossed the river with each in the IX Army Group had been
little difficulty, then moved southeast reinforced by a fourth, giving it about
to the Changjin Reservoir in the X 40,000 men, and the group a strength
Corps zone. Although a Chinese army approaching 120,000. The total Chi-
normally comprised three divisions, nese commitment in Korea by 23 No-

TABLE 2-THE MAJOR CHINESE UNITS IN KOREA


23 NOVEMBER 1950
KWP-EBB-0075

THE ENEMY 55
vember thus had risen above 300,000
men. 1 2
A major reason UNC intelligence
failed to reveal more closely the extent
to which the Chinese had entered Ko-
rea was their concerted effort to avoid
aerial observation through a rigid
march and bivouac discipline, move-
ments under the cover of darkness, and
substantial use of secondary roads. In
fact, UNC aerial reconnaissance had
made small opportunity to observe the
Chinese. Other than Mosquito control
aircraft operating at the front, the Far
East Air Forces had no planes commit-
ted to visual reconnaissance, and as of
8 November available photo reconnais-
sance aircraft were committed mainly
in support of the attacks on the Yalu
bridges. 13 These aircraft appeared over
Sinuiju and Manp'ojin too late to spot
LIN PIAO
the crossing of the XIII Army Group and
were in the wrong place to sight the
crossing of the bulk of the IX Army
Hiding the fact further were code
Group. The area between the river and
designations the Chinese used to iden-
the front was not entirely neglected, but
the limited number of reconnaissance tify units. Perhaps most deceptive was
a battalion designation for a division. 15
planes largely restricted coverage to
But even after captives from the initial
areas adjacent to main roads, and few
sorties were flown at night. Conse- engagement had explained the designa-
tions and correctly identified their
quently, very little evidence of the Chi-
units, skeptical intelligence officers ac-
nese entry was from the air.14
cepted only parts of the units named as
being in Korea. By 23 November the
U.N. Command had acknowledged the
12Appleman, South to the Naktong, p. 768; Hq, FEC, presence of twelve Chinese infantry
History of the North Korean Army, 31 Jul 52; Hq,
USAFFE, Intel Dig, vol. I, no. 3, 16-31 Jan 53, pp. divisions when in fact there were nine
32-37; Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. armies with thirty infantry divisions.16
212-13. The units committed included the
13 The Fifth Air Force's 45th Squadron, the single
visual reconnaissance unit in the theater, apparently best in the People's LiberationArmy. The
was not employed over Korea until early 1951, and Fourth Field Army, commanded by Lin
after 9 November 1950 the B-29 photo planes of
Bomber Command were not used along the Yalu
because they proved to be easy marks for the MIG- 15 The 55th Unit, for example, was the 39th Army,
15s. and the 1st Battalion, 55th Unit, was the 115th Division,
14 Appleman, South to the Naktong, p. 770; Futrell, 39th Army.
The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 216-17. 16 Appleman, South to the Naktong, pp. 752-54, 763.
KWP-EBB-0076

56 EBB AND FLOW

Piao, was the strongest, and its XIII porting the efficacy of this "man-over-
Army Group included armies honored weapons" doctrine were successes
for past achievements with the title of against the Japanese and Nationalist
"iron" troops. 17 The Third Field Army, Chinese, and most recently against the
commanded by Chen Yi, was not partic- United Nations Command.18
ularly strong as a whole, but its IX Army Upon leaving their parent field ar-
Group included at least one army con- mies in China, the two army groups
sidered to be a crack unit. But however had come under Headquarters, Chinese
highly rated by People's Liberation Army People's Volunteers, specially organized
standards, the two groups essentially for operations in Korea.19 Under the
constituted a mass of infantry with lit- command of Lin Piao, the special head-
tle artillery support, no armor or air quarters was located in Mukden, Man-
support, and primitive, haphazard lo- churia. It was Lin in Mukden, not Kim
gistical support. They were, character- II Sung at Combined Headquarters in
istically, poorly equipped. Individual Kanggye, who made the basic tactical
and crew-served weapons, from com- decisions, including those affecting the
pany to army, were a collection of operations of North Korean forces. But
diverse makes and calibers; other publicizing the Kanggye headquarters
equipment was equally mixed; and both under the North Korean premier as
weapons and equipment were in short controlling all military operations lent
supply, small arms to such a degree that support to claims made by both Chi-
as many as two-thirds of some infantry nese and North Korean officials that
units lacked them. Their strongest the Chinese presence in Korea was sim-
points were experience and morale. ply the result of individuals and units
Most of the troops were veterans of the having volunteered to assist the North
recent civil war, and virtually all senior Koreans.20 (Chart 5)
officers had fought the Japanese dur-
ing World War II. Their high morale
18 Alexander L. George, The Chinese Communist Army
presumably was the result of effective in Action (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967),
political indoctrination, notwithstand- pp. vii-viii, 5-7, 83-84, 173; Samuel B. Griffith II, The
ing that former Nationalist Army mem- Chinese People's Liberation Army (New York: McGraw-
Hill Book Company, 1967), p. 131; Gittings, The Role
bers constituted much of the strength of the Chinese Army, p. 77; DA Pam 30-51, Handbook on
of the intervention force. It was on a the Chinese Communist Army, 7 Dec 60, pp. 8. 66; ibid.,
combination of morale and guerrilla Sep 52, pp. 38-39; GHQ, FEC, Order of Battle Infor-
mation, Chinese Communist Regular Ground Forces
warfare tactics that Chinese leaders had (China, Manchuria, and Korea), 9 Dec 51.
long depended to compensate for infe- 10 The shape of the Chinese field command would
riority in weapons and equipment. Sup- elude UNC intelligence for some time. As late as
March 1951, for example, the Eighth Army intelli-
gence officer could state only that "it is possible that
17 Officers of the People's Liberation Army were not the XIII CCF Army Group may be the controlling
designated by nominal ranks as in the U.S. Army. headquarters of 4 CCF armies.... Unconfirmed." See
Troop commanders held positional ranks and staff Eighth Army PIR 234, 3 Mar 51.
officers held equivalent ranks. The commander of a 20 A communique released by the North Korean gov-
regiment, for example, held the positional rank of ernment on 7 November stated that "volunteer units
regimental commander, and a regimental staff officer formed by the Chinese people participated in opera-
held the equivalent rank of assistant regimental com- tions along with the People's Armed Forces, under
mander. See DA Pam 30-51, Handbook on the Chinese the unified command of the General Headquarters."
Communist Army, Sep 52, pp. 75-76. On 11 November a spokesman for Chou En-lai,
KWP-EBB-0077

THE ENEMY 57
CHART 5-ENEMY LINES OF COMMAND
23 NOVEMBER 1950

Giving China's entry into the war a ated deliberations leading to the deci-
veneer of voluntary participation evi- sion to enter the war.21 Intervention,
dently had two purposes. In China according to the same source, had been
itself, the image of voluntary action was stoutly opposed by a number of Peking
projected to gain total popular support, authorities, including some People's
material and moral, for the commit- Liberation Army officials. They had ar-
ment in Korea. Otherwise, that image gued that the newly established regime
attempted to reduce the risks of inter- needed peace so that it could concen-
vention, primarily to mitigate the U.S. trate on national reconstruction and
response. According to a former high- that China, in any case, could not af-
ranking Communist Party member, ford to accept the risks of waging war
concern that Chinese forces might be with a first-rate power like the United
defeated in Korea, that American States. 2 2 Officials in favor of entering
forces might invade the Chinese main- the war had insisted that the threat to
land, and that the United States might China posed by a UNC victory in North
employ the atomic bomb had perme- Korea made it necessary to accept the

China's minister of foreign affairs, admitted that Chi- 21 This was Chou Ching-wen, a prominent writer
nese forces were fighting in Korea but denied official and scholar and former president of Northwestern
responsibility. As precedents the spokesman cited the University in Manchuria, who held high party posi-
French assistance to the American colonists during tions for eight years. Chou broke with the Peking
the Revolutionary War and the individual volunteers, regime and fled to Hong Kong in 1957. See Chou
including Americans and British, in the Spanish Civil Ching-wen, Ten Years of Storm (New York: Holt, Rine-
War. Captives taken from the first forces to enter hart and Winston, 1960).
Korea revealed that, before entering, the members of 22 This account is borne out by contemporaneous evi-
some units were asked, or, if they refused, pressured, dence. A 6 November 1950 editorial in the Jen-min
to sign statements volunteering their service in the Jih-pao (People's Daily), an official Communist Party
war. See Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu, pp. 137-38, organ in China, stated and then refuted the views of
and George, The Chinese Communist Army in Action, pp. those who had opposed China's intervention.
156-57.
KWP-EBB-0078

58 EBB AND FLOW


the United States as a "paper tiger."
The United States could be defeated,
the claim went, because its strategy
rested on its atomic bomb and air force.
This strategy could not be devastating
to a rural China and left U.S. ground
forces so weak in numbers that they
were incapable of waging ground war-
fare on a large scale. 24
On the other hand, that the Chinese
believed they could make important
political gains but were uncertain of
achieving any grand-scale military suc-
cess is perceptible in a retrospective ex-
planation of China's decision for war
attributed to Premier Mao Tse-tung. A
victory, according to Mao, would imme-
diately raise China's international sta-
tus, a stalemate between backward
China and a power like the United
States would amount to a victory for
CHOU EN-LAI China, and a defeat would simply re-
quire that China engage in a war of
risks. The principal and winning argu- resistance as it had done against Japan.
ment for intervention may have been Evidencing concern that People's Liber-
that China needed a friendly buffer ation Army forces might be defeated
state along its Manchurian border. A in Korea and that the U.N. Command
minimal Chinese goal in entering the might carry the war into China, For-
war, then, was to maintain a Democratic eign Minister Chou En-lai in reporting
People's Republic of Korea, but not nec- the international situation to a group
essarily to restore its 38th parallel of government officials soon after
border. 23 China's intervention announced, "We
Whether the Chinese predetermined are prepared to withdraw, if necessary,
a larger military objective is less evident. from the coastal provinces to the hinter-
Some of the first forces to enter Korea land, and build up the Northwest and
were told beforehand that the objec- the Southwest provinces as bases for a
tive was to drive UNC troops out of long-drawn-out war."25 The Chinese
Korea and that they could expect a
quick and easy victory. Propaganda ap- 24 George, The Chinese Communist Army in Action, pp.
pearing on the wider home front soon 164, 187; Tang Tsou, America's Failure in China, pp.
576-78. On page 578, Tang Tsou relates that in a
after forces crossed the Yalu marked discussion with Indian Ambassador Panikkar, Nieh
Jung-chen, People's Liberation Army chief of staff,
23 Tang Tsou, America's Failure in China, 1941-1950 remarked, "After all, China lives on farms. What can
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. atom bombs do there?"
575-77; Chou, Ten Years of Storm, pp. 116-17; Whiting, 25 Quoted in Chou, Ten Years of Storm, p. 117. Chou
China Crosses the Yalu, p. 155; Gittings, The Role of the writes that he was one of the group to whom Chou
Chinese Army, pp. 83-86. En-lai spoke.
KWP-EBB-0079

THE ENEMY 59
did in fact remove machinery and other broken contact, group commander Li
material, including the huge furnaces T'ien-yu set out light forces to screen
of an important steelworks, from the his major units, which assembled far
coastal provinces. Thus is appears that north of the line reached during their
the Chinese entered the war not confi- initial attack. As disposed on 23
dently, but gingerly.2 6 November, the group's six armies were
The voluntary disengagement of the located ten to fifteen miles north of the
XIII Army Group on 6 November is fur- Eighth Army front. The 50th and 66th
ther evidence of how warily the Chi- Armies stood opposite the I Corps in
nese entered the war. The disengage- the west; the 39th and 40th Armies were
ment suggests that Lin Piao was centrally located north of the IX Corps;
reluctant to continue operations with- the 38th and 42d Armies were above the
out a greater concentration of force and ROK II Corps in the east.29 The 42d
ordered a pause while the IX Army Army earlier had opposed X Corps
Group completed its move into Korea, forces below the Changjin Reservoir but
or that the Chinese leadership sus- had shifted west into the Eighth Army
pended operations until the UNC re- zone after being relieved by the 20th
sponse to China's intervention could be Army of the IX Army Group. The latter
determined.27 These considerations, of group, also deployed with major units
course, could have been restraints only assembled behind screening forces, was
briefly. The additional army group now located above and west of the
reached the Changjin Reservoir by mid- reservoir. Group commander Sung
November, and by the last week of the Shih-lun had set the 20th Army to the
month it was clear that the U.N. Com- west and south of Yudam-ni, in the path
mand would limit its response to bomb- of the X Corps' coming westward drive,
ing Yalu bridges on the Korean side of and had assembled the 26th and 27th
the river. However cautiously and ten- Armies in the mountains to the north
tatively the Chinese may have inter- and northeast of the reservoir. 30
vened, their ultimate decision, evidently This arrangement of forces followed
made soon after the XIII Army Group a long-existing Chinese concept of mo-
broke off its opening attack, was to re- bile defense designed for operations
sume offensive operations. Perhaps re- against a superior force.31 Aimed not
lieved when the U.N. Command did
not carry the war to China, and per-
firepower, and air support but depreciated American
haps encouraged by the confident tone infantry and summarized results as satisfactory. See
of field appraisals of the initial battles Appleman, South to the Naktong, pp. 719-20.
especially those with U.S. forces-the 29 The 50th Army was formerly Nationalist China's
60th Army, which had defected en masse during the
Chinese high command concluded that civil war. It was kept intact except for being given a
the two army groups would be able to Communist cadre. See George, The Chinese Communist
operate successfully against the United Army in Action, p. 6.
30 Hq, USAFFE, Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53,
Nations Command.2 8 pp. 28-33, 36-38; ibid., no. 3, 16-31 Jan 53, pp. 34-
Earlier, after the XIII Army Group had 37.
31 Chinese defensive tactics would not include the
26 Tang Tsou, America 's Failure in China, pp. 578-79; development of a main line of resistance until later in
Chou, Ten Years of Storm, p. 117. the war when the front became stabilized during ar-
27 Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu, pp. 132, 138-39. mistice negotiations. See Mono, Hq, Eighth Army,
28 The field appraisals lauded American equipment, "Enemy Tactics," 26 Dec 51, copy in CMH.
KWP-EBB-0080

60 EBB AND FLOW

to hold ground but to destroy oppos- major forces well behind screening
ing forces in brief actions, the underly- units that Eighth Army patrols and X
ing strategy was to invite attack; fight a Corps assault forces had encountered
delaying action while allowing the at- only outposts after mid-November.
tack force to penetrate deep; then, at a Showing little awareness of their adver-
point of Chinese choice, counterattack sarys doctrine, however, UNC officials
suddenly while the opposing force was had assumed from the light contact that
ill-prepared to receive the assault.32 the Chinese had withdrawn into posi-
It was because the Chinese deployed tion defenses far to the north, and they
had interpreted the deep, voluntary
32 Like all Peoples Liberation Army precepts, the strat- withdrawal as further indication that
egy reflected the guerrilla warfare doctrine developed the Chinese were weak in numbers.33
by Mao Tse-tung. As Mao expounded it in his classic
study. On the Protracted War: To achieve quick deci-
With unwarranted optimism, then, the
sion we should generally attack, not an enemy force Eighth Army and X Corps started for-
holding a position, but one on the move. We should ward on 24 November, believing that
have concentrated, beforehand under cover, a big
force along the route through which the enemy is they comfortably outnumbered enemy
sure to pass, suddenly descend on him while he is forces and expecting to encounter these
moving, encircle and attack him before he knows what in defensive positions that their weak-
is happening, and conclude the fighting with all speed.
If the battle is well fought, we may annihilate the ness, and perhaps their mission, had
entire enemy force or the greater part or a part of it. forced them to establish.
Even if the battle is not well fought, we may still inflict
heavy casualties. See Whiting, China Crosses the Yalu,
pp. 132-33, for a correlation of Maos teaching with 33 Eighth Army PIRs 118-335, 7-24 Nov 50; Hq,
Chinese strategy so far employed in the Korean War. USAFFE, Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53, p. 26.
KWP-EBB-0081

CHAPTER IV

The Battle of the Chongchon


The Advance to Contact Commonwealth Brigade. At center, the
IX Corps included the 25th Infantry
While General Walker fully expected Division, the 2d Infantry Division, and
the Eighth Army to encounter Chinese the brigade-size 1st Turkish Armed
when it moved north, the lack of reveal- Forces Command, which had not yet
ing contact in his zone left him uncer- seen combat in Korea. The ROK II
tain about the location of enemy posi- Corps, on the east, would operate with
tions. From a study of air sightings, the ROK 6th, 7th, and 8th Divisions.
aerial photographs, and prisoner of war The 1st Cavalry Division and the Brit-
statements, his G-2, Lt. Col. James C. ish 29th Independent Infantry Brigade
Tarkenton, traced two possible enemy were Walkers immediate reserves.
defense lines. The nearer line curved While in reserve the cavalrymen were
from Chongju northeast through to protect forward army supply points
Taechon and Unsan above the west- at Kunu-ri, located just below the
ern half of the army front, then ex- Chongchon River in the IX Corps
tended almost due east into the moun- area, and at Sukchon, fifteen miles
tains roughly ten miles above the south of the river on Route 1 behind
eastern segment of the front. The sec- the I Corps. The British brigade, a re-
ond line started at Sonchon, twenty cent arrival in Korea, was currently far
miles beyond Chongju, and ran north- to the south assembling temporarily at
east through Kusong, Onjong, and Kaesong, thirty miles north of Seoul.2
Huichon and into the Taebaeks as far Eighth Army units with no assign-
as the northern end of the Changjin ment in the attack included the 187th
Reservoir. Colonel Tarkenton esti- Airborne Regimental Combat Team
mated that the Eighth Army would and the Philippine 10th Battalion Com-
meet some 48,000 Chinese and several bat Team, which were guarding supply
North Korean units defending impor- installations in the Pyongyang-Chin-
tant road centers along these lines.1 nampo area, and the ROK III Corps
Walker distributed assault forces with four recently activated or reacti-
evenly for the advance toward the sus- vated ROK divisions (the 2d, 5th, 9th,
pected lines. In the west, the I Corps
comprised the 24th Infantry Division,
ROK 1st Division, and British 27th 2 Eighth Army Opn Plan 15, 14 Nov 50; Eighth
Army WD, Sum, Nov 50; Fox, Inter-Allied Co-
operation During Combat Operations; Eighth Army
G3 Situation Overlay, 23 Nov 50; I Corps POK 216,
1Eighth Army PIKs 118-135, 7-24 Nov 50. 23 NOV 50; IX Corps WD, vol. II, an. 3, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0082

62 EBB AND FLOW

GENERAL MILBURN (left) with Secretary GENERAL COULTER


of the Army Frank Pace, Jr.

and 11th) which was operating against and Taechon, holding his British bri-
guerrillas in central and southern gade in reserve. Maj. Gen. John B.
Korea. The infantry battalion from Coulter, in command of the interior IX
Thailand had just finished processing Corps, kept the Turkish brigade in re-
at the U.N. Reception Center and was serve at Kunu-ri, sent one division
en route to Pyongyang on the eve of north astride the Kuryong River toward
the advance. Replacing the Thais at the Unsan and Onjong, and moved his
reception center was the Netherlands other division up the Chongchon val-
Battalion, which had reached Korea on ley in the direction of Huichon. On
23 November and was to receive two the army right, Maj. Gen. Yu Hae
weeks training before joining opera- Ucng, the ROK II Corps commander,
tions.3 started two of his three divisions north
On the morning of the 24th Maj. through the mountains toward terrain
Gen. Frank W. Milburn, commander objectives aligned with those of
of the I Corps, sent his two divisions Coulters forces.
west and northwest toward Chongju
4 Eighth Army WD, Nar, Nov 50; I Corps Opn O4,
18 Nov 50; I Corps Opn Dir 23, 19 Nov 50; IX Corps
Opn Plan 3, 18 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn Dir 8, 20 Nov
3 Eight Army Opn Plan 15, 14 Nov 50; Eighth Army 50; IX Corps Opn Dir 9, 23 Nov 50; ROK Opn Plan 5
WD, Sum, Nov 50; Fox, Inter-Allied Co-operation (Overlay), and Rpt of Staff Visit to II ROK Corps on
During Combat Operations. 23 Nov 50, both in IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0083

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 63

At the I Corps left, Maj. Gen. John H. southeast of Unsan the Dolvin force re-
Churchs 24th Division led off with a covered thirty members of the 8th Cav-
regimental attack over Route 1, its 21st alry who had been captured at Unsan
Infantry and a company of tanks mov- in early November and then released
ing westward toward Chongju, eighteen by the Chinese. Most were wounded
miles out. On the corps right, two regi- and frostbitten.7
ments of Maj. Gen. Paik Sun Yups Maj. Gen. Laurence B. Keisers 2d
ROK 1st Division supported by a com- Division, at the IX Corps right, sought
pany of American tanks advanced on no sweeping first-day gains since it was
Taechon, moving upstream on both already three miles ahead of the 25th
sides of the Taeryong River over sec- Division. Rather than risk an open west
ondary roads that converged on the ob- flank, General Keiser ordered short
jective ten miles northwest. General moves by his line regiments, the 9th
Churchs single regiment marched and 38th, to mass along the lower bank
more than halfway to Chongju during of the Paengnyong River, a westward-
the day, receiving only a little long flowing tributary of the Chongchon.8
range small arms fire from the hills In the ROK II Corps zone, gains by
north of Route 1 as it moved. Two pla- the ROK 7th and 8th Divisions ranged
toons of Chinese infantry and a ditch from a quarter to a full mile but none
that delayed the tanks were the only at all against two enemy battalions dug
opposition to General Paiks forces, who in near the boundary between them.
established night defenses within four In one of the deeper gains, the 3d Regi-
miles of Taechon.5 ment of the ROK 7th Division at the
In the left half of the IX Corps zone, corps left came up to the Paengnyong
the 25th Division, commanded by Maj. River and tied in with the 38th Infan-
Gen. William B. Kean, moved north try of the 2d Division.9
astride the Kuryong River toward Un- Chongju and Taechon remained the
san with two regiments and an armored immediate I Corps objectives on 25
force, Task Force Dolvin.6 General November. Chongju, previously tagged
Keans 35th and 24th Infantry Regi- as a probable center of enemy resis-
ments on left and right, respectively, tance, was empty when the 21st Infan-
advanced four miles unopposed, while
Task Force Dolvin in the middle moved
7 25th Div OI 18, 20 Nov 50; 25th Div Opn O 15, 21
seven miles along the east bank of the Nov 50; 25th Div WD, 24 Nov 50; 25th Div Nar Rpt,
Kuryong, receiving only small arms fire Nov 50; 35th Inf Opn O 19, 22 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist
as it covered the last mile. Four miles Rpt, Nov 50; 35th Inf Unit Rpt 43, 24 Nov 50; 24th
Inf Opn O 20, 22 Nov 50; 24th Inf WD, 24 Nov 50;
24th Inf Unit Rpt 54, 24 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot
5 Eighth Army PIR 135, 24 Nov 50; I Corps PORs Rpts, Entries 1479 and 1491, Nov 50; IX Corps G2
219 and 220, 24 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, Nov 50; 24th Spot Rpts, Entry 241915 Nov 50, Interrogation of
Div OI 70, 19 Nov 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpts 138 and 139, Released U.S. PW (Capt Ray J. Yantis).
23 and 24 Nov 50. 8 2d Div Opn O 10, 20 Nov 50: 2d Div WD, Nar,
6 The task force, led by Lt. Col. Welborn G. Dolvin, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 23-24 Nov 50; 38th Inf Opn O
commander of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion, in- 20, 22 Nov 50; 38th Inf Nar Sum, Nov 50; 9th Inf
cluded Company B, the Assault Gun Platoon, and the Hist, Nov 50, Incl H.
Reconnaissance Platoon of the 89th; the 25th Recon- 9 Eighth Army POR 406, 24 Nov 50; IX Corps Sit
naissance Company; Company E, 27th Infantry; Overlay, 242400 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts,
Company B, 35th Infantry; and the 8213th Ranger Entry 1535, 24 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, Entry 113,
Company. 24 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0084

64 EBB AND FLOW

try entered in midafternoon. In prepa- The ROK II Corps advanced one to


ration for widening the 24th Divisions two miles against. opposition that var-
advance, General Church meanwhile ied in much the same pattern as on the
moved the 19th Infantry out on Route previous day. The corps center contin-
1 to Napchongjong, eight miles behind ued to be a trouble spot, and at the far
Chongju. 10 The ROK 1st Division, on right, ten miles to the rear of the South
the other hand, had found during the Korean front, an enemy force tested
night that Taechon would be harder the 16th Regiment of the ROK 8th Di-
to take when Chinese supported by ar- vision protecting the corps and army
tillery and mortar fire counterattacked east flank from positions some eight
along the east bank of the Taeryong miles east of the village of Yongdong-ni.
and forced part of General Paiks right The force, presumably Chinese and
regiment two miles to the rear. Al- possibly a reconnaissance unit since it
though the Chinese lifted their attack was reported to include a hundred
after daylight, they allowed the South horse cavalrymen, struck the eastern-
Koreans only to restore and improve most battalion of the 16th and lifted its
slightly their previous position. Paiks attack only after forcing the South Ko-
forces west of the Taeryong held them- reans to withdraw two miles. 13
selves to a small advance while those on Although the second day of advance
the east regained lost ground. The had produced heavier enemy fire and
division was still three miles short of local counterattacks, General Walkers
Taechon at dark on the 25th.11 forces had little reason to lose enthusi-
Encountering no organized enemy asm for their renewed offensive. All di-
positions but receiving considerable visions had gained ground. In the I
long range small arms, machine gun, Corps zone, the 24th Division, having
and mortar fire, the two IX Corps divi- occupied Chongju, was on the Eighth
sions gained two to four miles on the Armys first phase line, and the ROK
25th. At that rate the 25th Division 1st Division was close to it. In the IX
astride the Kuryong on the corps left Corps zone, the 25th Division was not
was easily within a days advance of far from Unsan, and the 2d Division
Unsan. On the corps right, the 9th had made progress in the Chongchon
Infantry of the 2d Division moved two valley. Despite rougher going in the
miles up the Chongchon valley, Taebaek ridges farther east, the ROK
closing into positions split by the II Corps also had pushed forward.
Chongchon with the bulk of the regi-
ment on the west side of the river. The
38th Infantry meanwhile stayed at the Rpt 55, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 60, 25 Nov 50; 2d
Paengnyong except for patrols that Div WD, Nar, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Activ Rpt, Nov 50:
searched above the river to cover the 2d Div G3 Jnl, Entry 32, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 25
Nov 50; IX Corps POR 183, 25 Nov 50: Eighth Army
9ths east flank. POR 408, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Entry
1525, 25 Nov 50.
13 Eighth Army POR 409, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army
10 I Corps Opn Dir 24, 241800 Nov 50; I Corps G3 Jnl, Entry 1955, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army PIR
POR 222, 25 Nov 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpt 140, 25 Nov 50. 136, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Nov 50;
11I Corps POR 222, 25 Nov 50. Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Briefing for CG, 25 Nov 50; IX
12 25th Div WD, 25 Nov 50; 35th Inf WD, Nar, Nov Corps PIR 60, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts,
50; 35th Inf Unit Rpt 44, 25 Nov 50; 24th Inf Unit Entry 1607, 25 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0085

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 65

Casualties had not been heavy in any ward from the Chongchon to the lower
of the corps zones. The advance, more- bank of the Paengnyong. Beyond a half-
over, was soon to be reinforced by the mile gap to the right of the 9th, the 2d
X Corps attack from the east. Walker and 3d Battalions of the 38th Infantry
issued a single order on the 25th, one carried the division line along the south
that shortened the final objective line bank of the Paengnyong to the bound-
of the ROK II Corps to conform with ary with the ROK II Corps. After a
the 27 November attack by General daylight patrol, Company A of the re-
Almonds forces. Otherwise, he in- serve 1st Battalion was in perimeter two
tended that the Eighth Army would miles north of the Paengnyong.16
continue its advance on the 26th as Two miles behind the 9th Infantry,
originally conceived. 14 the headquarters, tank company, and
The Eighth Armys optimism still 1st Battalion of the 23d Infantry occu-
hinged on the assumption that the Chi- pied a position arching from the lower
nese had not tapped their large Man- bank of the Chongchon eastward
churian reserve for offensive operations across the valley road. Col. Paul L.
in Korea. Although the final army intel- Freeman, commander of the 23d, had
ligence report on 25 November showed taken these forces forward during the
an increase in Chinese forces opposing day under General Keisers order to
the advance, the new figure stood at pass through the 9th Infantry on the
only 54,000, just 6,000 more than the 26th. When Keiser later postponed this
pre-attack estimate. In reviewing possi- change, Colonel Freeman held his re-
ble enemy actions, army G-2 Tarkenton maining battalions near Kunu-ri and
added only that he now expected en- deployed his leading units behind the
emy forces to employ local counter- 9th, amid the firing positions of three
attacks in conjunction with their artillery battalions supporting the divi-
defense.15 sions advance.
Between dark and midnight two Chi-
nese regiments struck the 9th Infantry
The Chinese Attack
in the Chongchon valley while a third
At dark on the 25th the 2d Division hit the center of the 38th Infantrys
occupied a fifteen-mile front centered Paengnyong position. Coming south-
in the Chongchon valley twenty miles east from the area above the 25th Divi-
north of Kunu-ri. (Map 4) In the 9th
Infantry sector at the division left, the
16 The account of the opening enemy attacks against
companies of the 3d Battalion and all the 2d Division is based on the following sources: IX
but one company of the 2d Battalion Corps G2 Spot Rpts 2990, 2997, and 3026, 26 Nov
occupied separated positions atop the 50; 2d Div PIR 68, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov
50; 2d Div Arty WD, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div Arty POR 94,
first ridges west of the Chongchon. 26 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, Entry 15, 26 Nov 50;
The remainder of the regiment was east 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; 9th Inf PIR 75, 26 Nov 50; 1st
of the river on a line hooking southeast- Bn, 9th Inf, WD, Nov 50; 2d Bn, 9th Inf, Unit Jnl, 26
Nov 50; 3d Bn. 9th Inf, Nar Diary, 25 Nov 50; 23d
Inf, Nar Sum, Nov 50; 23d Inf WD, Nov 50; 38th Inf
14 Eighth Army G1 SS Rpt, 25 Nov 50; Rad, GX Comd Rpt. Nov 50; General Charles D. Palmer, MS
30007 KGOO, CG; Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., review comments, 1985. General Palmer was the divi-
25 Nov 50. sion artillery commander of the 1st Cavalry Division
15 Eighth Army PIR 136, 25 Nov 50. at the time of the action.
KWP-EBB-0086
KWP-EBB-0087

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 67

sion, one enemy regiment advanced in In company with the attack from the
several columns toward the two battal- northwest, a second Chinese regiment
ions of the 9th Infantry west of the struck south along the east side of the
Chongchon. Moving mostly over val- Chongchon. While some of its search-
ley trails, the Chinese missed the 2d ing columns hit and hurt the 1st Bat-
Battalions hilltop positions, which talion, 9th Infantry, another moved
were farthest north, but found either behind that battalion through the half-
the front or flanks of the three sepa- mile gap between the 9th and 38th
rated companies of the 3d. At the sound Regiments. Part of the forces reaching
of bugle signals, the Chinese in file the rear area overran the 1st Battalion
changed formation for assaults that command post and aid station, then
through the night gradually pressed the climbed Chinamans Hat to join the
3d Battalion toward the river. forces who had broken away from the
Other columns of the same regiment 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry. Following
infiltrated the gaps between companies this juncture, the Chinese moved off
and waded the cold Chongchon to hit the Hat and again attacked Colonel
the 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, and the Freemans battalion, focusing this time
61st Field Artillery Battalion just north on the refused right flank east of the
of Colonel Freemans position.17 The valley road. Freeman lost part of his
strike startled the 61st into retreat, es- flank position but then shifted forces
pecially the members of Battery A, who, to the east and blocked the assault. Near
after their commander had been killed dawn, the Chinese again withdrew to
and all other battery officers wounded, Chinamans Hat.
abandoned both guns and vehicles. A Farther east, some of the Chinese en-
few artillerymen withdrew eastward, tering the gap between regiments dis-
but most of them, with Chinese follow- covered and assaulted Company G,
ing, moved south over the valley road 38th Infantry, holding a detached posi-
through Colonel Freemans position. tion at the west end of the 38ths line.
Though the confused southward rush About 2330 a third enemy regiment
of American artillerymen and Chinese opened an attack against the 38ths
infantry complicated the defense, center, part of it surrounding and en-
Freemans forces eventually beat off the gaging Company A north of the Pa-
Chinese without losing ground. Seek- engnyong, the bulk crossing the river
ing both cover from Freemans fire and to attack at the boundary between the
a position on which to reorganize, the 2d and 3d Battalions. Pressing frontal
Chinese pulled away and climbed a low assaults against the central companies,
but rugged mountain, called China- F and L, the Chinese invested portions
mans Hat, located northeast of Free- of the company positions, then called
man and immediately below the rear- off their attack near 0230 after suffer-
most position of the 1st Battalion, 9th ing heavy casualties.
Infantry. Within two hours the Chinese re-
newed their attacks against the regi-
17The 61st Field Artillery Battalion was a 1st Caval- mental center, this time forcing Com-
ry Division unit that had been attached to the 2d
Division to provide additional direct support to the
panies F and L to withdraw. Their
9th Infantry. withdrawal, although short, isolated
KWP-EBB-0088

68 EBB AND FLOW

Companies I and K to the east. Col. slip out of the encirclement and with-
George B. Peploe, the regimental com- draw eastward into the 2d Division
mander, countered near dawn, attack- sector. Against this new threat, Kean
ing with his reserve 1st Battalion, less ordered the bulk of his reserve 27th
Company A but with Company C of Infantry to assemble behind the weak-
the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion at- ened position of the 24th. Leaving the
tached as the third rifle company. Start- 2d Battalion to back up Task Force
ing from a point west of the enemy pen- Wilson, Col. John H. Michaelis, com-
etration and moving east into the mander of the 27th, started the remain-
Chinese flank, the 1st Battalion cleared der of his regiment toward the right
the area sufficiently to permit Colonel sector around midnight.20
Peploe to restore his central positions. In the 2d Division sector, General
West of the 2d Division, Chinese also Keiser spent the 26th rebuilding his line
struck the 25th Division during the in the Chongchon valley. Near dawn
night, centering a small but sharp blow he authorized Col. Charles C. Sloane,
on Task Force Dolvin on the east side commander of the 9th Infantry, to pull
of the Kuryong. In a give-and-take bat- in the 2d Battalion, which, although it
tle that ran the course of the night and had survived the night without diffi-
into the morning of the 26th, Colonel culty, was precariously separated from
Dolvins forces lost one of two hills at the remainder of the regiment. Colo-
their forwardmost position.18 nel Sloane then established the entire
Although the 25th had not been hit regiment in a tight position facing gen-
in strength, General Kean canceled erally northwest on high ground along
plans for continuing the advance on the the upper bank of the Chongchon. To
morning of the 26th. Against a possi- compensate losses in the 3d Battalion
ble renewal of the attack at the division the previous night, Keiser gave Sloane
center, he merged the 1st Battalion, all but Company C of the 2d Engineer
24th Infantry, and all Dolvin elements Combat Battalion for use as infantry.21
except the ranger company (which East of the Chongchon, Keiser as-
withdrew from the front) into Task signed the 1st and 2d Battalions of the
Force Wilson under Brig. Gen. 23d Infantry to defend the ground just
Vennard Wilson, the assistant division below Chinamans Hat. While Colonel
commander.19 Freeman brought the 2d Battalion up
A half hour after noon the Chinese from Kunu-ri into position at the right
switched attention to the rightmost po- of the 1st, members of the 61st Field
sition of Col. John T. Corleys 24th Artillery Battalion, at Keisers order, re-
Infantry, surrounding two companies turned to the position they had vacated
of the regiment while they were receiv- during the night, just above Freeman,
ing a supply airdrop in somewhat iso- and recovered most of the equipment
lated positions at the east flank. Most
members of the two units managed to
2025th Div WD. 26 Nov 50; 25th Div O1 21, 26 Nov
50; 24th Inf WD, 26 Nov 50; 1st Bn, 24th Inf, WD, 26
18 25thDiv WD, 25-26 Nov 50; 25th Div PORs 64 Nov 50; 27th Inf Hist. Nar, Nov 50; 27th Inf Unit Rpt
and 65, 26 Nov; 25th Div PIR 150, 26 NOV 50. 82, 26 Nov 50.
1925th Div WD, 26 Nov 50; 25th Div O1 20, 26 NOV 21 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50;
50. 9th Inf Hist Nar, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0089

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 69

they had left behind. As the other two he had to remain north of this road to
artillery battalions that had been below insure the receipt of supplies and to
Freeman already had done, the 61st hold open an exit route should a with-
then moved south to new and safer drawal be called.24
positions.22 By noon Peploe knew that his prob-
Keiser gave his sole remaining re- lem was much greater than just hold-
serve, the 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry, a ing a road-poor interior position with
blocking assignment behind Freemans reduced forces. Fragmentary reports
front, placing it a mile east of the valley made it clear that the ROK II Corps
road town of Kujang-dong on a lateral had been under attack for some time,
road leading to and serving as the main that the South Koreans were not hold-
supply route for the 38th Infantry. Sev- ing their positions, and that the 38th
eral times through the day Colonel Infantry was fast becoming the right
Peploe had asked division to reinforce flank unit not only of the 2d Division
the 38th Infantry with part of the 23d. and the IX Corps but also of the Eighth
His central companies had been se- Army.
verely reduced by casualties; only a The piecemeal information coming
handful of Company As men returned out of the ROK II Corps sector left
to the regimental line after fighting free obscure the exact chronology of the at-
of encirclement north of the Paeng- tacks against General Yus forces. It ap-
nyong, and Company G, after its en- peared that during the previous night
gagement at the west end of the regi- a Chinese regiment had skirted the 21st
mental line, counted no more than one Regiment of the ROK 8th Division at
officer and sixty men. But Keiser had the far right of the Eighth Army front
judged the Chongchon valley to be the and broken through the flank position
more critical area. Although Freemans of the divisions 16th Regiment six miles
3d Battalion could have been sent to east of Yongdong-ni. A stronger force
Peploe, Keiser chose not to commit the of two regiments at the same time infil-
last of his reserves to the line.23 trated the ROK front at the center of
Peploe thus was left to his own re- the 7th Divisions position and at the
sources in defending his Paengnyong boundary between the 7th and 8th
position. However he decided to hold Divisions. By 0800 on the 26th heavy
his ground, he had to take into account enemy pressure had developed across
that no north-south road served his the entire corps front except in the sec-
sector. The only accessible road ran lat- tor of the 3d Regiment on the west
erally close behind his forward units, flank. By that hour the 8th Divisions
westward to Kujang-dong and south- 21st Regiment on the corps east flank
eastward toward Tokchon in the ROK had given up its position and moved
II Corps sector. In setting a defense, south to Yongdong-ni, and its 10th
Regiment was withdrawing to the same
area. Elsewhere, as reported at that
22 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 2d
Div Arty S3 .Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 23d Inf, Nar Sum, Nov hour by the IX Corps liaison officer
50; 23d Inf WD, Nov 50.
23 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50;
38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50. 24 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0090

70 EBB AND FLOW

with General Yu, "things are slightly roads leading south from Tokchon and
confused."25 southwest from Maengsan. He in-
In the late morning hours the Chi- tended to hold the Pukchang-ni area
nese who had infiltrated the South Ko- with the remaining strength of the ROK
rean front moved ten miles south to 6th Division and while holding his posi-
Tokchon, blocked the road serving as tion there to reorganize his 7th and 8th
the main ROK supply route north and Divisions as the remnants drifted south.
south of town, and trapped the 2d Regi- But until and unless such a reorganiza-
ment of the reserve ROK 6th Division tion could be accomplished, the ROK
inside. Another Chinese regiment at- II Corps could not be considered an
tacked south between the 5th and 8th effective force.27
Regiments of the ROK 7th Division, in- After learning of the collapse of the
ducing both to withdraw. Since the 8th ROK II Corps, Colonel Peploe bent the
Division already had left its position, 38th Infantrys line. Retaining his 2d
the withdrawal of the ROK 7ths 5th Battalion in its western position above
and 8th Regiments left only the 3d the road to Kujang-dong, he pivoted
Regiment on the original front. The the remainder of the regiment on Somin-
3d, too, soon vacated its left flank posi- dong, a village near the center of his
tion and sought safety by sliding west- sector, so as to form a horseshoe-shaped
ward into the IX Corps sector behind arc running from his existing left flank
the positions of the 38th Infantry.26 eastward to Somin-dong, then south-
Thus, near noon of the 26th, the east along the high ground rising west
ROK II Corps front folded. General of the road to Tokchon. Peploes forces
Yu attempted through the afternoon completed this shift by 1800, thus se-
and evening to establish a new line be- curing the regimental supply route and
tween Tokchon and Yongdong-ni but refusing the Eighth Armys new right
was defeated by broken communica- flank.28
tions, the confusion of the withdrawals, Peploes adjustment, of course, pro-
and continued enemy pressure. By dark tected the flank only at the immediate
the Chinese who had come through the front. As reports of the ROK II Corps
center of the corps front fully con- failure reached army headquarters,
trolled the Tokchon area. The smaller General Walker moved against the pos-
group that had come in from the north- sibility of deeper incursions from the
east had seized Yongdong-ni and northeast.
moved south another four miles to the From Tokchon and Maengsan, two
village of Maengsan. Yu planned next roads entering the army rear were open
to defend Pukchang-ni, twelve miles to the Chinese, one leading west from
south of Tokchon, at the junction of Tokchon to Kunu-ri, the other run-
ning deeper through Pukchang-ni to
25 EighthArmy WD, G3 SS Rpt, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Sunchon. To block the deeper route,
Army G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army POR 410, 26 Walker relieved the 1st Cavalry Divi-
Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 61, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps G2
Spot Rpt 2982, 252255 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot
Rpt 1692, 260800 Nov 50. 27 Eighth Army G3 Jn1, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3
26 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, Briefing for CG, 26 Nov SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot Rpt 3050,
50; IX Corps PIR 61, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 62, 261505 Nov 50.
an. 2, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50. 28 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0091

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 71

sion from protecting supply installa- chopped off by a deep Chinese pene-
tions in the Kunu-ri and Sukchon areas tration farther east. Milburn therefore
(substituting the 187th Airborne Regi- ordered General Churchs attack to a
mental Combat Team and Philippine halt. Church meanwhile committed his
10th Battalion Combat Team for that 5th Regimental Combat Team to the
mission) and ordered it into position at right of his two regiments on Route 1
Sunchon and along the road to the east. in a gap between his division and the
Division commander Maj. Gen. Ho- ROK 1st Division, created and widened
bart R. Gay scheduled the move to be- as they had moved forward on diver-
gin on the 27th.29 gent axes. This move protected against
To deny the Tokchon-Kunu-ri road, an enemy strike from the Taechon
Walker instructed General Coulter to area, where General Paiks forces had
send the IX Corps reserve, the Turkish spent a difficult day beating off several
brigade, from Kunu-ri eastward over strong Chinese attacks.31
that road and to clear Tokchon. Once In less that twenty-four hours, Chi-
Tokchon was retaken, Coulter was to nese attacks thus had achieved effects
place the Turks in defense of the town both wide and deep. The Eighth
and tie their positions to those of the Armys advance had been brought to a
2d Division to the northwest. Coulter full halt; the ROK II Corps had been
moved one battalion of Turks to Wa- knocked completely out of position and
won, about ten miles east to Kunu-ri, almost completely out of action; and
before midnight and planned to assem- along most of the army line, command-
ble another battalion there by daylight. ers had been obliged to redeploy forces
At that time the Turks were to start for in an attempt to prevent further Chi-
Tokchon. Since employing the Turkish nese gains. By the night of the 26th,
brigade would leave Coulter with few however, no one at Eighth Army head-
uncommitted troops, Walker also or- quarters had concluded that the Chi-
dered the British 27th Brigade trans- nese had opened a major offensive.
ferred to Coulter from the I Corps and There was concern over the collapse of
moved to Kunu-ri.30 the ROK II Corps and the possibility
While Walker was able to draw troops that the Chinese might exploit the
from the quieter I Corps sector, Gen- South Korean withdrawals. The intelli-
eral Milburn was by no means free of gence staff raised the estimate of Chi-
the threat posed by the Chinese attacks. nese strength opposite the Eighth Army
Although the 24th Division far out on from 54,000 to 101,000. But the predic-
Route 1 appeared to have an open road tion of the enemys most likely course
to the Yalu ahead of it, any advance of action continued to be that the Chi-
would perch it on a limb that could be nese would conduct an active defense
in depth along present line employing
strong local counterattack.32 In Tokyo,
29 Rad, GX 30017 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to 13; Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, the
1st Cav Div et al., 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army POR 412,
26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 26 Nov 50; Eighth
Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50.
30 Rad, GX 30019 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG; 31 24th Div WD, 26 Nov 50; 1 Corps POR 22.5, 26
IX Corps. 26 Nov 50; Rad. GX 30022, CG Eighth Nov 50.
Army to CG; I Corps et al., 26 Nov 50. 32 Eighth Army PIR 137, 26 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0092

72 EBB AND FLOW

Far East Command G-2, tended to At the I Corps right, Su Ching-huai,


agree. Reporting to Washington the 66th Army commander, struck hard
around noon on the 26th, he stated that at the ROK 1st. Division in the Taechon
should the enemy elect to fight in the area. Moving strong forces down the
interior valleys, a slowing down of the east side of the Taeryong River after
United Nations offensive may result.33 dark on the 26th, Su quickly pushed
The Chinese, meanwhile, prepared to the 11th Regiment out of position while
continue what they called their Second a smaller force hit and penetrated the
Phase Offensive. 12th Regiment west of the river. The
12th counterattacked and restored its
The Second Phase Offensive position by daybreak, and General Paik
committed the 15th Regiment to help
In opening the offensive on the night the 11th on the east side of the Taer-
of the 25th, XIII Army Group com- yong. But Su strengthened his attack
mander Li Tien-yu had aimed his main through the 27th and forced the two
attack at the IX Corps, in particular at ROK regiments east of the river to with-
the 2d Division, using units of the 39th draw five miles.36
and 40th Armies. In secondary attacks, Sus attack posed a distinct threat to
forces of the 38th and 42d Armies had the 24th Division since its continuation
pushed the ROK II Corps out of posi- conceivably could carry the 66th Army
tion in the east while units of the 50th along the east side of the Taeryong
and 66th, mainly the latter, had through the 24ths rear area. Such a
launched assaults against the I Corps move would cut off General Churchs
in the west. Li now planned to attack troops, all west of the river. Against this
in greater strength. His western effort possibility, Church on the 27th moved
was to contain Milburns forces while the 19th Infantry from Napchongjong
he continued his main attack against northeastward to Pakchon, where it
Coulter in the center, and he now plan- would be centrally located in the corps
ned to exploit the ROK II Corps with- sector on the east side of the Taeryong
drawal and envelop the Eighth Army in good position to block to the north.
from the east.34 He also pulled back the 21st Regiment
The XIII Army Group struck all along from Chongju to Napchongjong.37
the Eighth Army line during the night The 66th Army commander had had
of the 26th and through the 27th ex- a good day, advancing five miles, forc-
cept on the west flank, where the 50th ing the commitment of the ROK 1st
Army was under instructions to contain Division reserve, and inducing a rear-
the 24th Division. Other than aerial ward redeployment within the 24th
observers sightings of numerous en- Division. In addition, Sus forces ad-
emy groups in the high land mass above vancing down the east side of the
the center of the 24ths sector, General Taeryong had uncovered the left flank
Churchs forces had no contact.35 of the 35th Infantry and created an op-

33 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 274. 36 I Corps PIR 73, 27 Nov 50; I Corps PORs 227
34 USAFFE Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53. and 228, 27 Nov 50.
35 Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 27 Nov 50. 37 Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 27 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0093

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 73

portunity to envelop the 25th Division Infantry, assembled in reserve three


from the west. This open flank was only miles behind Wilsons front. But before
one of the problems facing the IX the 2d could move, some of the Chi-
Corps: as the threat developed on the nese who had gotten in rear of Wilsons
west, the 39th and 40th Armies pressed line reached the battalions assembly
the main attack against the 25th and area. The battalion held its own in the
2d Divisions from the north, and the ensuing battle but was unable to move
38th Army started west toward the 2d north. Others from the same enemy
Division to exploit its previous successes group bypassed the 2d and attacked the
against the ROK II Corps. 8th Field Artillery Battalion in its fir-
On the west wing of the main effort, ing position near the village of Ipsok,
the 39th Army attacked south astride the another mile south. Electing to with-
Kuryong River during the first hours draw, the artillerymen first lowered the
of the 27th against the left and center tubes of their 105-mm. howitzers and
of the 25th Division. The 117th Division fired point-blank into the attackers. The
of the 39th moved down the west side howitzer fire along with that of small
of the Kuryong toward the 35th Infan- arms and automatic weapons stalled the
try while the 115th and 116th Divisions Chinese and enabled the battalion to
advanced against Task Force Wilson on disengage and move to new positions
the east side. Light forces leading the four miles to the south without losing
117th drove in the 35ths outposts equipment.40
around 0300, and an hour later two Unlike the 117th Division west of the
regiments assaulted the 35ths main Kuryong, the two divisions on the east
defenses. Supported by mortars and disregarded losses and launched re-
machine guns, the Chinese dented the peated assaults against Task Force Wil-
regimental line but lost heavily-374 son. Judging Wilsons position no
Chinese bodies later were counted in longer tenable and wary of the threat
front of the position-and broke off of envelopment posed by the Chinese
the engagement around 0800.38 in the Taechon area, Kean in mid-
East of the Kuryong, the leading morning of the 27th ordered his divi-
forces of the 115th and 116th Divisions sion to withdraw four miles to an east-
struck Task Force Wilson at the same west line running through Ipsok. To
hour that the 35th Infantrys outposts strengthen his defense, he assigned the
were hit. The initial assault carried 27th Infantry, less the 2d Battalion, to
some Chinese behind the task force a sector of the new line between Task
line, and after first contact the Chinese Force Wilson and the 24th Infantry.41
increased their attack force to two full General Wilson used the 2d Battal-
regiments.39 ion, 27th Infantry, to cover the disen-
In response to the intensified assaults gagement of his task force and by 1830
on the task force, General Kean or- had his units in the new position. By
dered forward the 2d Battalion, 27th that time the 35th and 24th Regiments

38 25th Div PIR 131, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div PORs 67 40 Ibid.; 25th Div PORs 67 and 69, 27 Nov 50; 27th
and 68, 27 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nar, Nov 50. Inf Hist Nar, Nov 50.
39 25th Div WD, Nov 50; 25th Div PIR 131, 27 Nov 41 25th Div WD, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div OI 22, 27 Nov
50. 50.
KWP-EBB-0094

74 EBB AND FLOW

on the flanks had completed their with- mainder of the day, Freeman worked
drawals, and Colonel Michaelis had to reestablish his regiment in approxi-
taken his 27th Infantry to its assigned mately the same position it had held
sector. Having reached the Ipsok line, the previous evening.44
Kean once more had his left flank cov- An hour before midnight on the
ered by the ROK 1st Division, and his 26th, another strong force of Chinese
forces were free, for the moment at attacked the 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry,
least, of the punishing assaults of the near the center of the regimental line
39th Army.42 on the west side of the Chongchon.
On the east wing of the main attack, Supported by fire from mortars, 3.5-
the 40th Army struck at several points inch rocket launchers, and recoilless
along the 2d Division front. Shortly af- rifles, the Chinese loosened the 2d Bat-
ter dark on the 26th, Chinese forces talion from its position and pushed it
came off Chinamans Hat in a two- against the west bank of the river. In
pronged assault on the 23d Infantrys disarray, and at the expense of some
position just east of the Chongchon. weapons and equipment, the battalion
One prong penetrated the northeast- forded the river and entered the 23d
ern corner of Colonel Freemans line Infantrys area about the time Freeman
and reached the regimental command was making his first attempt to regain
post, forcing Freeman and his staff back his command post site. As the battalion
to the 1st Battalion command post a crossed, Colonel Sloane, the regimen-
quarter-mile south. Freeman counter- tal commander, called down artillery
attacked, using Company F, in regi- fire on the area his men had vacated.
mental reserve, and the headquarters The Chinese neither followed the bat-
companies of the regiment and of both talion across the Chongchon nor
forward battalions. He regained the turned their attack against any other of
command post area but was driven out Sloanes units.45
again almost immediately by fire from After crossing the river, the men of
the surrounding high ground.43 the 2d Battalion regained some order
Electing to await first light before at- and reassembled by midafternoon near
tacking again, Freeman pulled all his Kujang-dong. Though the battalion was
forces south to positions around the 1st by no means primed for further action,
Battalion command post. At dawn the Colonel Sloane was obliged to recom-
1st and 2d Battalions returned to the mit it to help protect his left flank,
former regimental headquarters area, which had been made more susceptible
found that the Chinese had withdrawn, to enemy attack by the 25th Divisions
and recovered most of the headquar- withdrawal to Ipsok. By evening of the
ters equipment intact. Through the re- 27th the 2d Battalion again was on the
west side of the Chongchon, this time

42 25th Div POR 68, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div G3 Activ


Rpt, 27 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nar, Nov 50; 24th 44 Ibid.
Inf Unit Rpt 57, 27 Nov 50; 27th Inf Unit Rpt 82, 27 45 2d Div WD, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div POR 342, 27 Nov
Nov 50; 2d Bn, 27th Inf, Unit Jnl, 27 Nov 50. 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, Entry 197, 26 Nov 50, and Entries
43 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 23d Inf S3 Jnl, 26-27 1,3,7, 16, 17, and 22, 27 Nov 50; 2d Bn, 9th Inf, Unit
Nov 50; 2d Div G2 Msg File, Msg 1341, 27 Nov 50. Jnl, 26 and 27 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0095

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 75

at the extreme left of the regimental As Chinese appeared behind the lines
line.46 and as companies were penetrated or
While Sloane and Freeman were able pushed back, Peploe dispatched what-
to concentrate on well-defined enemy ever uncommitted force was available
attacks, Colonel Peploe to their right at a given moment to clear the rear area
became embroiled in a melee in which or plug a gap at the front. Battalions
the Chinese hit the 38th Infantry from gradually lost identity as lettered com-
several directions. The battle developed panies became intermingled. Peploe
in a west-to-east pattern around the used the ROK 3d Regiment for extra
38ths arch of position at Somin-dong, help. Instructions down the chain of
starting after dark on the 26th when command from army had given him
Company C moved west to restore the control of the South Korean unit after
former Company G position at the regi- it had sideslipped westward out of the
mental left. The company had gone ROK II Corps sector. Assisted by the
only part way when it was surrounded 2d Reconnaissance Company, which
and split by Chinese coming from the halted most of the withdrawing South
northwest. Some of the Chinese passed Koreans by blocking the Kujang-dong
by the encircled company, moved east road not far behind the 38ths lines,
between the front and the Kujang-dong Peploe assembled the bulk of the regi-
road, and attacked Companies F and ment and inserted it piecemeal in his
L, still holding the regiments central arc of defenses.49
positions, from the rear. At the same Notwithstanding these additional
time, the remainder of the 3d Battal- troops, Peploe lost ground on both the
ion to the southeast came under intense north and east, and in the afternoon of
and accurate small arms fire from the the 27th he ordered a withdrawal into
east.47 the southwestern portion of the regi-
This action opened a series of con- mental sector. Executing a covered
fused engagements lasting the night withdrawal, the 38th and ROK 3d Regi-
and the daylight hours of the 27th. ments at dusk occupied a perimeter two
Units of the 40th Army launched hard miles in diameter centered midway be-
assaults on the 38th Infantry from the tween Kujang-dong and Somin-dong.
north while forces of the 38th Army The new position allowed Peploes men
came out of the ROK II Corps sector still to cover the Kujang-dong road, and
in strong strikes from the east. Both the withdrawal gave them a respite
attack groups, whose total strength was from attack.50
estimated as high as two divisions, tried, General Keiser meanwhile decided
with some success, to work troops in that the 2d Division could improve its
behind Peploes lines.48 chances of stopping the Chinese by
withdrawing into a shorter and tighter
46Ibid
47 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, 49 EighthArmyPOR412, 26 Nov50; IX CorpsG3
Nov 50. SpotRpt 1757,i6 Nov50; 2d DivPOR342, 27 Nov
48 IX Corps PIR 62, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot 50: 2d Div G3 Jnl. 26 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt,
Rpts 3108 and 3172, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Nov50.
Rpt 1830, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26-27 Nov 50; 50 38th Inf ComdRpt, Nov50; Sit Overlaywith2d
38th Inf. Comd Rpt, Nov 50. DivPOR342, 27 Nov50.
KWP-EBB-0096

76 EBB AND FLOW


line centered on the Chongchon just Kujang-dong. In the I Corps sector,
above Kujang-dong and lying across a General Milburn had drawn up orders
series of hilltops from a point three for a five-mile withdrawal on the 28th
miles west of the river to a point four by the 24th Division and ROK 12th
miles southeast of it. The 23d Infan- Regiment so that: he would have a more
try was to defend the left half of the closely knit position on line with the
line, including the east bank of the remainder of the ROK 1st Division,
Chongchon, while the 38th Infantry which had been pushed back at the I
refused the flank on the right. The 9th Corps right.53
Infantry was to assemble in reserve, its General Walkers attention was di-
bulk at Yongdam-ni five miles below rected in particular to the threat of en-
Kujang-dong and one battalion at Pug- velopment from the east. That the ROK
won another five miles south. Keiser II Corps could establish effective de-
ordered the move to the new line to fenses at Puckchang-ni was a forlorn
begin the following day.51 hope. Although General Yu had recov-
ered straggling troops of the ROK 7th
and 8th Divisions, no organized units
The Threat of Envelopment
of the two divisions had reached the
By nightfall on the 27th there was Pukchang-ni area. Yu had new plans
little question anywhere in the Eighth for establishing a delaying position at
Army that the Chinese were on the Pukchang-ni and a defensive perime-
offensive. The army G-2, Colonel ter three miles south of the town with
Tarkenton, hedged a bit, describing the the 7th and 19th Regiments of the ROK
simultaneous attacks across the army 6th Division. But since Yus corps truly
front and especially the strong daylight was defunct, General Walker revised
attacks against the 38th Infantry as hav- his corps sector assignments on the
ing the appearance of a planned en- evening of the 27th to give General
emy offensive. To Col. John A. Dabney, Coulters IX Corps responsibility for
the army G-3, it was evident that the Yus area.54
UN offensive of 24 November had While widening Coulters sector on
merely anticipated a similar full-scale the east, Walker reduced it on the west
enemy offensive by about two days.52 by attaching the 25th Division to the I
Plans for continuing the Eighth Corps. He marked what had been the
Army offensive were not yet canceled. boundary between the 25th and 2d Di-
But the adjustment of troop disposi- visions as the new boundary between
tions to block further Chinese gains was the I and IX Corps and extended it
the order of the day. In the IX Corps south past Kunu-ri and Sunchon, with
sector, General Kean already had the two towns and the connecting road
pulled the 25th Division to the Ipsok resting in the IX Corps sector. To unify
line and General Keiser had ordered fully the effort to block enemy incur-
the 2d Division to consolidate at sions from the northeast and east, he

53 I Corps Opn Dir 25, 27 Nov 50.


51 2d Div Opn O 11, 27 Nov 50. 54 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; Eighth Army
52 Eighth Army PIR 138, 27 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30039 KGOO, CG Eighth
G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50. Army to C/S ROKA et al., 27 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0097

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 77


attached the 1st Cavalry Division to the of Tokchon. To forestall a meeting
IX Corps and directed General Yu to engagement between the untried
give Coulter his most effective division, Turks and the approaching enemy
or composite . . . equivalent. With these force, Coulter instructed the brigade
adjustments, the IX Corps order of bat- commander, Brig. Gen. Tahsin Yasici,
tle at dark on the 27th included the 2d to place his unit in defenses seven
Division, 1st Cavalry Division, Turkish miles east of Wawon. Misunderstanding
brigade, British 27th Brigade, and the Coulters message, General Yasici
ROK 6th Division.55 turned his forces around and took
General Gay meanwhile had placed them to positions astride the Kunu-ri
two regiments of the 1st Cavalry Divi- road just east of Wawon. This left the
sion east of Sunchon. The 8th Cavalry Turks approximately where they had
was assembled at Sinchang-ni, twelve first assembled, ten miles east of Kunu-
miles east of Sunchon, and 7th Cav- ri, and now eight miles south of the
alry was in position astride the Sunchon perimeter into which Colonel Peploe
road at Kujong-ni, fifteen miles east had drawn his 38th and ROK 3d
and slightly north of Sunchon. Gays Regiments.57
newest orders, received from Walker The position of the Turkish brigade,
just before the division was attached to regardless of Yasicis error, and the
the IX Corps, called for a seven-mile positions of the 1st Cavalry Division
advance on the 28th to the Pukchang- and ROK 6th Division out along the
ni area where the cavalrymen were to Sunchon road provided at least some
unite with the ROK 6th Division in protection against an envelopment by
blocking the road to Sunchon.56 blocking the likely axes of enemy ap-
Northwest of the cavalry division, proach. By morning of 28 November,
across twenty miles of ridges relieved in any case, General Walkers attention
only by a westward-flowing stretch of was diverted to his northern front
the Taedong River, the Turkish bri- where during the night and early morn-
gade blocked the Kunu-ri road from a ing hours his forces again absorbed
position at Wawon. Early on the 27th strong attacks near Taechon, in the
the Turks, accompanied by a platoon Chongchon valley, and at the army
of tanks from the 72d Tank Battalion, east flank.
had started east from Wawon in accor- In the west, the 66th and 39th Armies
dance with Walkers previous orders to teamed on attack southeast and south
clear Tokchon. But General Coulter, between the Taeryong and Kuryong
with Walkers approval, halted this rivers around midnight on the 27th.
move near midday after receiving sev- Each army drove toward Yongsan-
eral reports of an enemy regiment dong, a village centered between the
moving westward from the direction two rivers five miles behind the right
of the ROK 1st Division and the left of

55 Ibid.
56 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 57 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 27
30039 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., NW 50; Rad, IXACT-396, CG IX Corps to Sn Adv
27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30038 KGOO, CG Eighth Army 1st TAFC, 27 Nov 50; Rad, IXACT-390, CG; IX Corps
to CG 1st TAFC, 27 Nov 50.
to CG 1st Cav Div, 27 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl.

21-30 Nov 50: 7th Cav Regt Hist Rpt. Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0098

78 EBB AND FLOW

the 25th Division. Situated at the inter- bling his regiment near the village of
section of roads serving the flank units Yongbyon east: of the Kuryong.58
of the two divisions, Yongsan-dong was The 39th Army also sent forces down
a choice objective. Its seizure not only the east side of the Kuryong against
would cut both routes but also would Task Force Wilson. By dawn Wilson
give the Chinese access to good roads had withdrawn from contact to a posi-
leading to Chongchon River crossings tion immediately northeast of the 35th
some fifteen miles to the south and Infantrys new location. General Kean
southeast near Anju and Kunu-r-i. meanwhile moved the 27th Infantry to
The 66th Army enjoyed rapid success positions in line with and to the right
against the reduced numbers of the of Wilsons force.59
ROK 11th and 15th Regiments. Attack- The total result of the Chinese at-
ing east and south, the army occupied tacks against the I Corps through the
Yongsan-dong and, before easing its at- night of the 27th was a wedge driven
tack near dawn, drove the South Ko- about five miles between the Taeryong
reans one to two miles below the village. and the Kuryong. Any deepening of
The ROK ground loss, as on the day the wedge portended the isolation of
before, uncovered the left flank of the General Milburns forces west of the
25th Division. The flank was exposed Taeryong and the envelopment of
at the same time that the 39th Army those behind the Kuryong.
pushed a strong attack down the west In the IX Corps sector, the 40th and
side of the Kuryong against the 35th 38th Armies repeated the pattern of their
Infantry. previous attacks by launching several
In response to both threats, General regimental assaults against the 2d Divi-
Kean ordered Col. Henry G. Fisher, sion during the night and in the first
commander of the 35th Infantry, to daylight hours of the 28th. West of the
pull his regiment four miles southeast Chongchon, two Chinese regiments
behind the Kuryong. This move would concentrated on the 2d Engineer Com-
face the 35th to the northwest, thus bat Battalion and 1st Battalion of the
would refuse the divisions left flank, 9th Infantry. Both battalions withdrew
and since the new line crossed the road across the Chongchon. East of the
leading southeast from Yongsan-dong, river, three enemy regiments took
would obstruct any Chinese attempt on turns hitting the 38th Infantry from
Kunu-ri. After the Chinese assaults the north and east, gradually forcing
against the 35th subsided around day- Colonel Peploes forces toward Kujang-
light, the regiment started south, battal- dong. As a total effect, the pressure
ions in column, over a route leading
through Yongsan-dong. Unaware that
the Chinese had taken the village, the 58 I Corps PORs 230 and 231, 28 Nov 50; I Corps
PIR 74, 28 Nov 50; I Corps Intel Sum 222, 28 Nov
column was surprised by enemy fire. 50; 25th Div POR 70, 28 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt,
Casualties were not heavy, but a large Nar, Nov 50; 1st Bn, 35th Inf, WD, 28 Nov 50; 2d Bn,
number of vehicles was lost as the 35th Inf. WD, 27-28 Nov 50: 3d Bn. 35th Inf, Nar of
Opns, Nov 50.
battalions fought through, and Colo- 5925th Div POR 70, 28 Nov 50; 27th Inf S3 Jnl,
nel Fisher spent several hours reassem- 27-28 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0099

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 79


from the northwest against the 9th In- At the new line, the 21st Regiment
fantry and from the north and east on refused the west flank from a semi-
the 38th Infantry was folding the wings circular position west of the Taeryong
of the 2d Divisions defense.60 that blocked Route 1 at the left and
Attacks against the 38th Infantry touched the Taeryong at the right just
were still in progress at midmorning opposite the ROK 12th Regiment.
when General Walker radioed with- General Church assembled his remain-
drawal orders to General Milburn and ing forces east of the Taeryong around
General Coulter. Electing to break Pakchon.62
contact long enough to organize more At the I Corps right, General Kean
effective defenses, Walker instructed broke contact with the 39th Army by
Milburn to occupy a bridgehead over pulling the 25th Division some two
the Chongchon from the mouth of miles south. Dissolving Task Force
the river north to Pakchon, then east Wilson, he faced all three regiments to
to the river. Coulter was to defend a the north astride the Kuryong. The
line from Pugwon, on the lower bank 35th Infantry returned to the west side
of the Chongchon five miles above of the river and occupied positions ad-
Kunu-ri, southeast to the village of joining those of the ROK 12th Regi-
Taeul-linear the Eighth Army-X Corps ment. Eastward from the Kuryong to a
boundary. The line cut all likely Chi- point just short of the west bank of the
nese axes of advance, including a road Chongchon opposite Pugwon, the 27th
passing through Taeul-li which might and 24th Regiments barred the road
be used in a deep strike at Pyongyang.61 leading southward from Yongbyon to
The withdrawal was under way by the Chongchon crossing three miles
midafternoon. In the I Corps sector, below their position and to Kunu-ri
General Milburn used the ROK 1st seven miles south.63
Division as cover while the 24th and At nightfall on the 28th, as the I
25th Divisions moved back to the Corps completed its occupation of the
Chongchon bridgehead. General Paik Pakchon-Pugwon sector of the new
employed his 11th and 15th Regiments army line, the South Koreans cover-
in the covering operations while his ing the withdrawal were still for-
12th Regiment moved to a bridgehead ward between the Taeryong River and
sector from the east bank of the Yongsan-dong. The two regiments had
Taeryong to a point four miles due fought off forces of the 66th Army
south of Yongsan-dong. Behind Paiks through most of the day, the 15th Regi-
cover, the 24th Division withdrew easily. ment actually managing to regain the
Yongsan-dong crossroads. General Paik
kept them where they were, instruct-
60 2d Div PIR 70, 28 Nov 50; 1st Bn, 9th Inf, Nar
Diary, Nov 50; 2d Engr Bn, Unit Hist Rpt, Nov 50;
ing them to withdraw to the bridge-
38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50. head after daylight on the 29th.64
61 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 28 Nov 50; Eighth Army
PIR 139, 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30051 KGOO, CG
Eighth Army to CC IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50; I 62 Corps Opn Dirs 26 and 27, 28 Nov 50; I Corps
Corps Opn Dir 26, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn O 5, 28 PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, Nov 50.
Nov 50; 25th Div O1 23, 28 Nov 50; 2d Div Opn O 12, 63 I Corps PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50; 25th Div
28 Nov 50; I Corps POR 231, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, Nov 50.
POR 192, 28 Nov 50. 64 I Corps PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0100

80 EBB AND FLOW

In the IX Corps sector, General 28th because of the time consumed


Coulter directed the 2d Division to de- in moving four regiments down the
lay the Chinese as long as possible as it Chongchon valley road. Much of the
withdrew to positions between Pugwon time the road between Kujang-dong
and the Turkish brigade at Wawon. and Kunu-ri was the scene of a tight
Coulter attached the Turks to General traffic jam.
Keiser to unify control in the Pugwon- The 38th and ROK 3d Regiments led
Wawon sector and, as a final feature the withdrawal. Breaking away from
of the corps withdrawal, moved the Chinese pressing from the north and
reserve British 27th Brigade from east, Colonel Peploe took his forces west
Kunu-ri to Chasan, five miles south of to Kujang-dong, then south to an as-
Sunchon, where it would be centrally sembly about a mile east and slightly
located to assist either the 2d Division south of Kunu-ri. Since it was then
or the 1st Cavalry Division. The cav- 2000, he elected to await daylight be-
alrymen were to advance up the fore occupying his new positions above
Sunchon road, not withdraw, to join Kunu-ri.
the ROK 6th Division in defenses near Behind Peploe, the 9th infantry re-
Pukchang-ni. For the time being, crossed the Chongchon onto the val-
Coulter issued no instructions for ley road and marched south to Pug-won,
placing troops far out to the east at. arriving about 2300. From Pugwon,
Taeul-li.65 Colonel Sloane deployed his 1st Battal-
General Keiser planned to occupy his ion on the west side of the Chongchon
new sector by placing the 9th Infantry opposite the town and to the immedi-
temporarily at Pugwon and the 38th ate right rear of the 24th Infantry, 25th
Infantry and ROK 3d Regiment about Division. Below the river, Sloanes 3d
four miles north and northeast of Battalion occupied high ground a mile
Kunu-ri between the 9th Infantry and south of Pugwon and the 2d Battalion
the Turks at Wawon. The 23d Infan- blocked the valley road from positions
try and the 72d Tank Battalion were to a mile above town.
cover these moves and fight a delaying At the tail of Peploes column and
action as they themselves withdrew. again at the rear of Sloanes forces,
The 23d, once it reached Pugwon, was Colonel Freeman had tacked on a bat-
to relieve the 9th Infantry, and the 9th, talion of the 23d Infantry. In prepara-
now severely reduced by casualties, was tion for relieving the 9th Infantry, these
then to go into division reserve.66 two battalions assembled two miles
Keiser was unable to get all of his below Pugwon. Freemans remaining
units into their new positions on the forces, the 1st Battalion and the 72d
tankers, brought up the division rear,
fighting off Chinese who sensed
65 IX Corps Opn O 5, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 28 Keisers move and began trailing the
Nov 50.
66 Theaccount of the 2d Division operations on 28 slow withdrawal. Company A, Free-
November is based on the following sources: 2d Div mans rear guard, deployed at least five
Opn 0 12, 28 Nov 50; 2d Div WD, Nov 50; Hist, 9th times against enemy assaults. With 40th
Inf. Nov 50; Comd Rpt, 23d Inf, Nov 50; 38th Inf
Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 72d Tk Bn Comd and Unit Hist Army troops close behind, Freemans in-
Rpt, Nov 50. fantry and armored troops passed be-
KWP-EBB-0101

THE
THE BATTLE
BATTLE OF THE
OF CH'ONGCH'ON
THE CHONGCHON 81
hind the 2d Battalion,
Battalion, 9th 9th Infantry,
Infantry, at out at the
the time Yasici
Yasici ordered
ordered the the with-
2330.
2330. Sinnim-ni.6868
drawal to Sinnim-ni.
Keiser
Keiser planned
planned to complete
complete his de- Not long
Not long after midnight, 38th
after midnight, 38th Army
Army
ployment
ployment between
between PugwonPugwon and and Wawon forces
forces reached Sinnim-ni and
reached Sinnim-ni and reopened
reopened
after daylight on
after daylight on thethe 29th, but events
29th, but events their
their assaults against
against the Turks. Hence,
Turks. Hence,
dictated
dictated otherwise.
otherwise. The 40th
The 40th Army
Army both Wawon and
both Wawon and Pugwon,
Pugwon, the anchor
the anchor
forces that had
forces that had trailed
trailed the the division's
divisions points
points of the line
of the line assigned
assigned to to the
the 2d2d
withdrawal
withdrawal beganbegan pushing
pushing the the 2d Bat-
Bat- Division,
Division, werewere gone.
gone. General
General Keiser's
Keisers
talion, 9th Infantry,
talion, 9th Infantry, behindbehind Pugwon
Pugwon alternative would be
alternative to organize
be to organize de- de-
around midnight. At
around midnight. At the
the opposite
opposite end end fenses closer
fenses closer to Kunu-ri,
Kunu-ri, how close close de-
of the division
of the line, the
division line, the Turkish
Turkish bri- bri- pending
pending on the the outcome
outcome of of the continu-
continu-
gade completed
completed a three-mile three-mile with-
with- ing attacks
ing attacks on on both
both flanks.
flanks.
drawal
drawal to the the village of of Sinnim-ni
Sinnim-ni justjust Southeast of
Southeast of the Turks,
Turks, General
General Gay
before midnight following
before midnight following a series series of of moved none none of of his cavalrymen
cavalrymen forward
forward
engagements
engagements with forces
with forces of of the
the 38th
38th the ROK
to the ROK 6th Divisions
Division's position
position three
three
Wawon. 67
Army at Wawon.67 miles below
miles below Pukch'ang-ni.
Pukchang-ni. Although
Although
Though General
Though General Yasici had held held his Gay had
Gay had been instructed to do so on
been instructed on
ground against the
ground against the Chinese,
Chinese, he chose chose the 28th,
the 28th, he elected
elected to wait until the
to withdraw west westtotoSinnim-ni
Sinnim-ni atat dark
dark- 5th Cavalry,
5th Cavalry, then then marching
marching south south out out
a move thatthat did
did not
not conform
conform with or- or- of the Kunu-ri
of Kunu-ri area,area, completed
completed its its move
move
ders for
ders for a new lineline through Wawon. A
through Wawon. into the
into the divisions
division's sector.
sector.
lack of
of communications
communications explained explained this The 5th
The Cavalry had
5th Cavalry had started
started that that
second instance in which
second instance which TurkTurk tactics
tactics morning, moving
morning, moving south over aa road
south over road
were contrary
were contrary to instructions.
instructions. When
When from Kaech'on,
from Kaechon, miles east
five miles east of
General Coulter
General Coulter sent
sent the Turks
Turks toward
toward Kunu-ri.
Kunu-ri. Near Near the the village of Samso-ri,
of Samso-ri,
Tokch'on, the
Tokchon, the brigade
brigade had had direct
direct con-
con- seven miles below
seven below Kaech'on,
Kaechon, about about aa
tact with Coulters
Coulter's headquarters
headquarters by ra- ra- hundred Chinese
hundred Chinese in the bordering
bordering high high
dio and wire. But But similar connections
similar connections ground opened
ground opened small small arms
arms and and ma- ma-
not exist
did not between Keisers
exist between Keiser's head-
head- chine
chine gungun fire
fire on the intelligence
intelligence and and
quarters and the
quarters the Turks
Turks when when thethe latter
latter reconnaissance platoon
reconnaissance leading the
platoon leading the
were attached
were attached to the 2d Division. Division. Nei- regiment. Only
regiment. Only the the platoon
platoon sergeant
sergeant
ther Yasici
ther Yasici nor
nor his advisers
advisers knew
knew of of the
the and three
and three menmen escaped.
escaped. The The 2d 2d Bat-
Bat-
brigade's attachment
brigades attachment to the the 2d Division
Division talion, following
talion, following the the platoon,
platoon, deployed
deployed
until very late
until late on the the 28th,
28th, and their
and their in the
the high
high ground
ground on on both
both sides
sides ofof the
the
and radio contacts
wire and radio contacts with corps were
corps road
road and attacked south
attacked south to clear
clear the
enemy
enemy blockblock but encountered an
but encountered an even
even
67At least
67 least one
one ofof the Wawon engagements
the Wawon engagements proved proved larger force and failed to advance. Re-
larger force and failed to advance. Re-
have been
to have been aa case
case of of mistaken
mistaken identity when 125
identity when 125 forming on the road,
forming road, the
the cavalrymen
cavalrymen
"prisoners" sentsent toto the
the rear
rear by
bythe
theTurks
Turks turned
turned out
bypassed enemy roadblock
prisoners
to be
to be members
members of of the ROK 6th
the ROK 6th and
and 7th
7th Divisions.
Divisions. The
out
The
bypassed the enemy roadblock and and pro-
pro-
South Koreans
South Koreans apparently
apparently movedmoved west west after
after being
being ceeded
ceeded toward
toward Sunch'on. Because of
Sunchon. Because of
squeezed out
squeezed out ofof Tokch'on
Tokchon and blunderedblundered into into the
the this entanglement
entanglement at at Samso-ri, the regi-
Samso-ri, the regi-
Turks either
Turks either ahead
ahead of of or
or amidst
amidst thethe Chinese
Chinese assaults
assaults
on the brigade.
on brigade. SeeSee IXIX Corps
Corps G2 Spot Spot Rpts
Rpts 3252,
3252, 28
Nov 50,50, and
and 3301,
3301, 29 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl,
50; 2d Jnl, 28 Nov
Nov
50; 2d Div
50; Div G2
G2 Jnl,
Jnl, Entry
Entry J-1447,
J-1447, 28
28 Nov 50; 50; Mono,
Mono,
"Turkish U.N.
Turkish U.N. Brigade
Brigade Advisory
Advisory Group,
Group, 2020 Novem-
Novem- 68"Turkish
68 "Turkish U.N.
U.N. Brigade
Brigade Advisory
Advisory Group, 20 Nov-
Group, 20 Nov-
ber 1950-13 December
ber 1950-13 December 1950, 1950," copy
copy inin CMH.
CMH. 13 Dee
Dec 50.
50."
KWP-EBB-0102

82 EBB AND FLOW

ment was still assembling near Sunchon toward the ROK 6th Divisions position
long after dark on the 28th.69 below town. In the hills five miles south-
As a result of Gays decision to wait east of Pukchang-ni they saw what they
for the 5th, the 7th Cavalry, ear- believed to be two thousand enemy
marked to join the South Koreans be- cavalrymen, and they reported another
low Pukchang-ni, stood fast at enemy force to be moving north from
Kujong-ni, seven miles below the ROK Songchon toward the 7th Cavalry at
position. The regiment was now to Kujong-ni. Although a sortie by Gen-
move forward on the 29th. The 5th eral Gays 16th Reconnaissance Com-
Cavalry meanwhile was to organize de- pany revealed no large force in the
fenses north of Sunchon, and the 8th Songchon area, the reconnaissance
Cavalry was to move from Sinchang-ni troops did discover and kill ten enemy
to Songchon and block the areas main soldiers in the town.72
lateral road, which passed through Against this growing threat of a deep
Songchon and reached Pyongyang.70 envelopment, Walker ordered General
Gays delay in reinforcing the ROK Milburn to transfer all but one regi-
6th Division below Pukchang-ni, the ment of the 24th Division to the IX
Turk withdrawal from Wawon, and the Corps and to dispatch it to Sunchon as
loss of Pugwon in the Chongchon val- soon as all I Corps forces reached the
ley all worked against the rather high bridgehead line to which they were then
hopes General Walker held for the line withdrawing. To compensate this re-
he had delineated. While calling for the duction of Milburns forces, Walker
withdrawal to that line, he also had in- alerted the British 29th Brigade for a
structed his forces to prepare for the northward move to Anju and attach-
Eighth Army resumption of offensive ment to the I Corps.73
at early date.71 With a bridgehead over The Turkish brigades engagements
the Chongchon and with all main with 38th Army forces at Wawon made
roads blocked, he hoped that he could it clear that the northern wing of the
turn back the Chinese and then revital- XIII Army Groups enveloping force was
ize his own march to the border. headed for Kunu-ri. From all the evi-
Any such achievement, even of turn- dence reaching the army G-2 on the
ing back the Chinese, began to appear 28th, Colonel Tarkenton judged that
doubtful long before the IX Corps the Chinese would sustain their pres-
problems arose. By midday Walker had sure against Kunu-ri and would attempt
ample evidence of a strong Chinese to envelop the Eighth Army via the
push toward Sunchon. Aerial observ- Sunchon road. He placed in a maybe
ers saw at least four enemy regiments
pass southward through Pukchang-ni
72 Eighth Army PIR 139, 28 Nov 50; Eighth Army
G3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50.
73 Rad, GX 3005 I KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG
69 5th Cav WD, 28 Nov 50; 5th Cav S2-S3 Jnl, 28 IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30053 KGOO,
Nov 50. CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 28 Nov 50;
70 IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts 1962 and 1971, 28 Nov Rad, GX 30061 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CO 29th
50; 1st Cav Div POR 378, 28 Nov 50; 7th Cav Hist Brit Brig, 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30068 KGOO, CG
Rpt, Nov 50; 8th Cav G3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50. Eighth Army to CG I Corps et at., 28 Nov 50; Rad,
71 Rad,GX 3005 1 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG GX 30068 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et
IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50. al., 28 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0103

THE BATTLE OF THE CHONGCHON 83

category a deep enemy strike at Pyong- the 38th Army had turned west to ex-
yang through Songchon. The possibil- ploit the collapse of the ROK II Corps,
ity of these maneuvers was increased Li had ordered the entire army to oc-
by the findings of observers flying over cupy the Samso-ri area and cut off
enemy territory above Tokchon. In UNC forces withdrawing via roads
that area they sighted a continuous leading south out of Kunu-ri. Colonel
train of enemy troops moving south Peploes quick action in turning the
in small groups through gullies, down 38th Infantry to refuse the army flank
ridgelines, and over all roads and and General Walkers employment of
trails.74 The commander of the XIII the Turkish brigade at Wawon appar-
Army Group obviously knew the maxims ently had pulled most of the 38th away.
of offensive operations. Having gained On the 28th, in any event, just two regi-
an advantage over Walker by turning ments of the 113th Division remained
the Eighth Armys east flank, he now under orders to block the roads below
was hurriedly reinforcing his effort in Kunu-ri. But two regiments in a well-
the zone where so far he had achieved set ambuscade could raise havoc with
the greatest success. any withdrawing Eighth Army column,
Tarkentons conclusions were almost and their most likely victim, since it
exactly what the enemy group com- probably would move south from
mander had in mind. Li indeed was Kunu-ri in any future withdrawal, was
shifting the emphasis of his attack from the 2d Division.76
a penetration of the Eighth Army line General Walker, understandably, was
in the Chongchon valley to the exploi- not particularly concerned at the mo-
tation of his gains in the former ROK ment over one roadblock that had trou-
II Corps sector. His 42d Army, in greater bled one regiment. As the situation
strength, was swinging southwest to- stood late on the 28th, the chances that
ward Sunchon, and the bulk of his 38th the Chinese pushing in from the east
Army was now headed for Kunu-ri, could capture Kunu-ri and Sunchon
from the east and northeast.75 were good. Walkers problem and
The 5th Cavalrys engagement with larger interest therefore was to prevent
the roadblock at Samso-ri introduced the Chinese from isolating the bulk of
an important feature of Lis plans. The the Eighth Army by cutting westward
cavalrymen estimated the force they across its rear. The obvious answer was
had encountered at anywhere from a a withdrawal, one deep enough to take
battalion to a regiment, but even the the Eighth Army below the Chinese
top estimate was only half what the Chi- thrusts from the east.
nese intended to emplace there. When

76 5th Cav WD. 28 Nov 50; 5th Cav S2-S3 Jnl, 28


74 Eighth Army PIR 139, 28 Nov 50.
Nov 50; FEC Intel Dig, vol. 1. no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53.
75 FEC Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53.
KWP-EBB-0104

CHAPTER V

The Battle of the Changjin


Reservoir
General Walkers 27 and 28 Novem- airfields, and supply routes in the
ber reports of the Chinese attacks Wonsan-Hungnam area. A primary
on the Eighth Army and General task of the division commander, Maj.
Almonds messages that the X Corps, Gen. Robert H. Soule, was to block
too, had been attacked swept away Gen- three roads reaching the coastal region
eral MacArthurs previous certainty that from the Taebaek Mountains to the
the Chinese would not intervene in west, where North Korean guerrillas es-
strength. We face an entirely new war, timated as high as 25,000 were concen-
MacArthur notified the Joint Chiefs of trated. One battalion of the 15th Infan-
Staff on the morning of the 28th. His try deployed thirty miles inland from
strategic plan for the immediate fu- Wonsan blocked the lateral Pyongyang-
ture was to pass to the defensive.1 Wonsan road. (Map 5) Some thirty
To develop defensive moves, he sum- miles north, troops of the 65th Infan-
moned both Walker and Almond to a try blocked a road from Tokchon that
meeting in Tokyo on the night of the reached the coastal area midway be-
28th. Listening first to Walkers ap- tween Wonsan and Hungnam; another
praisal of the threat to the Eighth thirty miles north, a battalion of the
Army, he turned to Almond for a re- 7th Infantry at Sachang-ni cut a lateral
port of developments during and road permitting access to the Ham-
following the X Corps advance toward hung-Hungnam complex.3
Mupyong-ni the day before.2 In the ROK I Corps zone far to the
northeast of Hungnam, Brig. Gen.
Song Hyo Chan had taken his Capital
X Corps Dispositions, 26 November

On the eve of Almonds Mupyong-ni


attack, the 3d Infantry Division with 3 This section is based on the following sources: Sit
Map, no. 155, Part 1, G3 Sec, CINCFE Comd Rpt, 27
the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment Nov 50; GHQ, FEC, G3 Opns Rpt no. 156, 27 Nov
attached was protecting port facilities, 50; X Corps Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-10 Dec 50; 3d Div
Comd Rpt: Nov 50; 7th Div Comd Rpt, Chosin Reser-
voir, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50: 7th Div Action Rpt, From
1 Telecon, Gen Hickey and Co1 Landrum, 1225, 27 Hyesanjin to Hungnam Outloading, 21 Nov-20 Dec
Nov 50, in GHQ, UNC, files; Rad, GX 30065 KGOO, 50; Max Dolcater, ed., 3d Infantry Division in Korea,
CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 28 Nov 50; Rad, 1953; Appleman, South to the Naktong, pp. 730, 732;
C69953, CINCFE to JCS, 28 Nov 50. Lynn Montross and Nicholas A. Canzona, U.S. Marine
2 Eighth Army WD, Aide-de-Camp Diary, 28 Nov Operations in Korea, 1950-1953, vol. III, The Chosin
50; Interv, Appleman with Gen Almond. Reservoir Campaign (Washington, 1957).
KWP-EBB-0105

MAP 5
KWP-EBB-0106

86
EBB AND FLOW

THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR (NORTH END)

Division five miles beyond Chongjin, Hyesanjin. General Chois 26th Regi-
the industrial center and port sixty-five ment was in Tanchon, near the coast
miles below the USSR border. Having due south of Hapsu, en route to the
met only desultory resistance from the 7th Division zone as a substitute for
North Korean IV Corps, General Song forces of the 7th being shifted to the
intended next to veer inland to Hoer- Changjin Reservoir area to accommo-
yong, reported to be a mobilization cen- date the 1st Marine Divisions advance
ter for new North Korean units, on the on Mupyong-ni.
Manchurian border forty-five miles due In the 7th Divisions zone, the 17th
north. Infantry occupied Hyesanjin on the
Brig. Gen. Choi Suk had sent Yalu and the area ten miles southwest.
the two forward regiments of his 3d The bulk of the 32d Infantry held the
Division out of Hapsu at right angles to Kapsan-Samsu region below the 17th.
each other. Against light, sporadic Division commander Maj. Gen. David
North Korean resistance, the 23d Regi- G. Barr was in the process of moving a
ment had moved six miles north of combat team (the bulk of the 31st
Hapsu toward the border town of Infantry; the 1st Battalion, 32d Infan-
Musan, and the 22d Regiment had try; all but one battery of the 57th Field
traveled fifteen miles west toward Artillery Battalion; and Battery D, 15th
KWP-EBB-0107

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 87

THE HAGARU-RIAREA. East Hill is in the background.

Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weap- The lower half of the long supply
ons Battalion) into his newly added road between Hungnam and the
zone at the Changjin Reservoir. The Changjin Reservoir and a stretch of
1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, commanded narrow-gage railway lay in the area as-
by Lt. Col. Don C. Faith, Jr., already signed to the 3d Division. The north-
had reached the east side of the reser- ern half of the road and the region
voir. With Colonel Faiths battalion was beyond rested in the zone of the 1st
a Marine Corps tactical air control party Marine Division. The 1st Marine Regi-
commanded by Capt. Edward P. Stam- ment, commanded by Col. Lewis B.
ford. Col. Allan D. MacLean, com- Puller, held three key points along the
mander of the 31st Infantry and now supply road. Farthest south, the 1st
commanding the combat team, was still Battalion occupied Chinhung-ni,
moving the bulk of his regiment and Marine railhead and starting point
the artillery units south from var-
ious locations along the Pukchong-
reservoir, General Barr had dispatched his nearest
Hyesanjin road en route via Hamhung unit, the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, then at Hamhung
to the new zone.4 en route to join its parent unit in the Kapsan-Samsu
area. The 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry, stayed on the
4 Prompted by a X Corps warning order on 24 No- Pukchong-Hyesanjin road to help protect the open
vember to relieve Marine forces on the east side of the west side of the divisions supply road.
KWP-EBB-0108

88 EBB AND FI.OW

of the roads twisting ten-mile climb Changjin Reservoir, roads from the
through Funchilin Pass to Kot'o-ri, west, north, and southeast met just out-
where Colonel Puller had established side Yudam-ni. Because enemy forces
regimental headquarters. The 2d Bat- had not defended this rare road junc-
talion manned a perimeter around tion, the Marine division G-2, Col.
Kot'o-ri and a small airstrip above the Bankson T. Holcomb, Jr., believed the
village. The 3d Battalion, less Com- 5th Marines would encounter only weak
pany G still to the south awaiting trans- opposition when they started toward
portation, was in Hagaru-ri, eleven Mup'yong-ni. The absence of enemy
miles north of Kot'o-ri at the lower end patrolling and the failure of ground
of the reservoir. The battalion and a and aerial reconnaissance to reveal any
variety of service and headquarters large enemy concentrations nearby
troops were developing a defense of supported his judgment. Contradicting
the division command post, supply it were reports from civilians of sizable
dumps, hospital facilities, and airstrip enemy concentrations around Yudam-
in the Hagaru-ri area. ni, but these reports were considered
North of Hagaru-ri, the 5th and 7th misinterpretations of North Korean
Marines had extended the divisions Army remnants moving; away from and
holdings up both sides of the reservoir. around the Yudam-ni area.5
The bulk of the 7th Marines, com- The X Corps G-2, Col. James H. Polk,
manded by Col. Homer L. Litzenberg, expected the enemy to resist the attack,
Jr., held Yudam-ni, fourteen miles to especially when the Eighth Army and
the northwest, and the 5th Marines, un- the marines closed on Huich'on and
der Lt. Col. Raymond L. Murray, had Mupyong-ni. But Polks estimate of ini-
gone ten miles north over a road fol- tial opposition was optimistic. Besides
lowing the east bank of the reservoir. remnants of the North Korean 2d and
Orders for the Mup'yong-ni attack had 5th Divisions withdrawing northward off
halted the 5th at this point. Consider- to the west of Yudam-ni, Polk believed
ing Colonel Murrays regiment fresher just two Chinese divisions, the 89th and
than the 7th, division commander Maj. 124th, were anywhere near the town.
Gen. Oliver P. Smith had designated The 126th Division as well as the 124th,
the 5th to open the advance to the west. both of the 42d Army, previously had
Murrays forces consequently had be- been identified in the reservoir area.
gun to shift west to Yudam-ni, the start- But the 126th had sideslipped south-
ing point of the attack. The 2d Battal- westward at least as far as Sach'ang-ni,
ion was in Yudam-ni, having left the as evidenced by a 23 November skir-
area east of the reservoir upon the ar- mish between troops of the 126th and
rival of the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry. the ROK 26th Regiment, then holding
The remainder of Murrays regiment the town.
remained in place awaiting relief by the
balance of Colonel MacLeans combat
team.
5 This section based on X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50;
X Corps Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-10 Dec 50; 1st Marine
The Advance Toward Mup'jong-ni Div Opn O 24-50, 26 Nov 50; 7th Div Opn O 26, 26
Nov 50; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir
Near the southwest corner of the Campaign.
KWP-EBB-0109

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 89

Polk was not sure where the 124th did incoming reports of strong attacks
was located but believed that the divi- against the Eighth Army.
sion likely had moved into defenses Smith ordered the 5th Marines to
north of the reservoir. The 89th Divi- strike first for the village of Yongnim-
sion, whose army affiliation Polk had dong, twenty-seven miles west of
not yet determined, had briefly op- Yudam-ni, where the Marines route of
posed the marines at Hagaru-ri on 23 advance joined a road leading south-
November. He no longer knew the lo- west along the upper reaches of the
cation of the 89th but considered the Ch'ongchon River to Huichon. The
division a probable opponent in the 7th Marines, when passed through,
Mup'yong-ni venture. While allowing were to protect the division supply road
that the 124th and 89th Divisions could between Yudam-ni and Sinhung-ni, a
be reinforced, Polk proposed with- village located in the Toktong Pass mid-
drawal, delaying action, and limited at- way between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri.
tacks as the extent of enemy capabilities. Smith appointed the 1st Marines, in and
He offered no order of probability, but below Hagaru-ri, as division reserve.
he, as well as Colonel Holcomb of the His reconnaissance company, then pull-
Marine division, seemed to consider an ing west flank security duty off the left
enemy withdrawal to be the most likely rear of the division, was to reconnoiter
event. north of Yudam-ni; the 41st Indepen-
General Smith, on the other hand, dent Commando, Royal Marines, only
believed his marines would meet Chi- recently attached to the division, was to
nese in strength west of Yudam-ni, a come forward from Hungnam to pro-
belief that had prompted his decision tect the marines left flank by recosnnoi-
to pass the fresher 5th Regiment tering southwest of Yudam-ni.6
through the 7th in the opening attack. In planning the advance, Smith had
Smiths more cautious attitude had been assumed the full relief of the 5th Ma-
apparent for some time. He had not rines east of the reservoir by noon of
shared the mid-November optimism for the 26th. He apparently expected the
an early UNC victory, and from the entire 7th Division combat team to ar-
start of his divisions advance toward rive by that hour; but General Barr had
the Changjin Reservoir he had doubted called for the relief of the marines by a
the wisdom of stringing forces over a minimum of one infantry battalion, an
long, poor, and unprotected mountain
road.
Supporting Smiths judgment of
probable resistance, three Chinese cap-
6 Earlier, on the night of 12-13 September 1950, the
tured by the 7th Marines on the 26th British company had participated in a landing opera-
asserted that the 58th, 59th, and 60th tion at Kunsan on the west coast of South Korea as
Divisions of the 20th Army were in the part of an attempt to distract North Korean attention
from the coming landing at Inch'on. The unit had
Yudam-ni area and would move south then returned to Japan and been attached to Naval
and southeast from Yudam-ni to cut Forces, Far East, until 20 November when, at its own
the marines supply road. This infor- request to serve with American marines, it returned
to Korea and was attached to the 1st Marine Division.
mation, however, had no effect on plans See Heinl, Victory at High Tide, p. 79, and Montross
for the Mupyong-ni attack. Neither and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, p. 140.
KWP-EBB-0110

90 EBB AND FLOW

order satisfied by the arrival of the 1st grees, Fahrenheit, and a wind off the
Battalion, 32d Infantry. In any event, frozen reservoir intensified the cold, the
the remainder of Colonel MacLeans marines had their attack under way by
forces did not reach the new zone by 0815 on the 27th. (Map 6) On the ridge
noon on the 26th, nor by 0800 on the northwest of the axis road, Company
27th, the scheduled hour of the Ma- H, 7th Marines, met no opposition and
rine advance. The full 5th Marines con- seized the terminal height, Hill 1403,
sequently did not reach Yudam-ni on by midmorning. Below the road, Com-
the 26th, and the plan of attack had to pany G, 7th Marines, moved unop-
be changed. Since Colonel Murray was posed down the southwest ridge and
with his forces east of the reservoir, within thirty minutes occupied the next
Colonel Litzenberg, commanding the commanding height, Hill 1426. In the
7th Marines, took charge of the open- middle, the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines,
ing effort. moved over the road in a column of
Forces available to Litzenberg in- companies, meeting nothing in the first
cluded the bulk of the 7th Marines and three-quarters of a mile except several
the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines. The 7th undefended obstacles across the road.
held a perimeter rimming the valley in The easy march ended there. The
which Yudam-ni was located. The 1st forces both on the road and on the
Battalion and two companies of the 2d southwest ridge came under fire about
occupied high ground north of town the time the pilot of an observer plane
and the terminal heights of two ridges overhead reported Chinese across the
to the south and southeast overlooking entire Marine front. Help from the
the road to Hagaru-ri. The 3d Battal- ground and air supporting arms al-
ion held the terminal hills of a ridge to lowed the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, to
the southwest. Between the latter and move only another quarter mile before
an unoccupied ridge to the northwest intense enemy fire forced the battalion
ran the road to Mupyong-ni. The 2d to discontinue. A similar additional gain
Battalion, 5th Marines, was to attack was all Company G, 7th Marines, could
over this road from an assembly at the manage on the southwest ridge. All
edge of Yudam-ni. told, the days advance netted a mile.
Litzenberg instructed the 2d Battal-
ion, 5th Marines, to seize a pass ten
miles to the west in its opening attack.
The 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, was The IX Army Group Attacks
to make parallel advances along the
ridges on either side of the road, and The 124th Division, contrary to X
Litzenbergs 1st Battalion was to assume Corps and Marine estimates, was not in
the flank security roles originally as- the reservoir area. It had moved south-
signed to the reconnaissance company west into the Eighth Army sector with
and the 41st Commando, neither of its parent army, the 42d. But the 89th
which had reached Yudam-ni. Division was present, and the Chinese
After an uncomfortable night when captured on the 26th had truthfully
the temperature dropped to zero de- identified the 58th, 59th, and 60th Divi-
KWP-EBB-0111

MAP 6
KWP-EBB-0112

92 EBB AND FLOW

sions. These four divisions constituted route. By orders from X Corps head-
the 20th Army.7 quarters, which controlled all move-
Sung Shih-lun, the IX Army Group ment of convoys over the reservoir
commander, launched the 20th and road, the battalion for the time being
27th Armies in attacks on the night of was halted at Hamhung.
the 27th. From the north, the 27th Army Liu Fei, the 20th Army commander,
moved south on the west side of the committed all four of his divisions to
reservoir against Yudam-ni and down the southeastward attack. At Yudam-ni,
the eastern side to seize Hagaru-ri. The all but one regiment of the 89th Divi-
20th struck Yudam-ni from the west sion moved after dark on the 27th to-
and made ever-deepening southeast- ward the marines on the ridge north-
ward swings at the Marine positions and west of the road to Mup'yong-ni. The
supply road below Yudam-ni. 59th Division started a shallow swing be-
Nieh Feng-chin, commander of the low Yudam-ni to cut the fourteen-mile
27th Army, sent his 79th Division toward stretch of road between Yudam-ni and
Yudam-ni and his 80th Division to seize Hagaru-ri. Below the 59th, the 58th Di-
Hagaru-ri. The 80th first had to elimi- vision swung wider to attack Hagaru-ri
nate Colonel MacLeans combat team, and cut the road immediately below the
most of which had gone into position town. The 60th Division took a still
north of Hagaru-ri by dark on the 27th. deeper route through the mountains
(Map 7) The 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, toward Kot'o-ri; and, in the deepest
sat astride the road ten miles north of move, the remaining regiment of the
Hagaru-ri. Four miles south, the 3d 89th Division started over a mountain
Battalion, 31st Infantry, and the 57th track leading south from Yudam-ni to
Field Artillery Battalion held positions Sachang-ni in the sector of the 3d
where the road made a hairpin turn Division.
around a narrow finger of the reser-
voir at the mouth of the P'ungnyuri Yudam-ni
River. MacLeans command post and
Colonel Murray had moved the re-
tank company were in Hudong-ni, a
mainder of the 5th Marines to Yudam-
village another four miles south. The
ni on the 27th as more of Colonel
2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, was still en
MacLeans combat team reached the
eastern side of the reservoir. Murrays
1st and 3d Battalions assembled in the
7 This section and the one following are based on
USAFFE Intel Dig No. 99, 16-31 Jan 53; Order of valley, creating a substantial reserve for
Battle Information, Chinese Communist Third Field the ten companies holding the heights
Army, GHQ, FEC, 1 Mar 51; X Corps Comd Rpt, 27 north, northwest, southwest, and south
Nov-10 Dec 50; X Corps WD, Sum, Nov 50; 7th Div
Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50; Mono, Chosin Reser- of town. This reserve, a fairly tight in-
voir, 1st Bn, 32d Inf, 24-30 Nov 50, 3d Hist Det, fantry line, and the support of forty-
copy in CMH; 3d Div Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Dolcater, eight artillery pieces and two regimen-
3d Infantry Division in Koreas; Captain Russell A.
Gugeler, Combat Actions in Korea (Washington: Com- tal 4.2-inch mortar companies gave the
bat Forces Press, 1954), pp. 62-87; 7th Infantry Division marines a reasonably good defense.
in Korea (Atlanta: Ambert Love Enterprises, n.d.); More precariously situated were Com-
Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign;
MS, Lt. Col. C. P. Miller, Chosin Reservoir, Novem- panies C and F of the 7th Marines,
ber-December 1950, copy in CMH. which had outposted the supply road
KWP-EBB-0113

MAP 7
KWP-EBB-0114

94 EBB AND FLOW

from Hagaru-ri. Each company held an mountains confining the reservoir on


isolated perimeter, Company C on a the west. The division commander com-
spur five miles southeast of Yudam-ni, mitted all three regiments, directing
Company F at Toktong Pass two miles them first to occupy the high ground
farther southeast. immediately above Yudam-ni.
At 2100, assault troops of the 89th Four heights dominated the 79ths
Division reached the three Marine com- initial objective, Hill 1167 next to the
panies defending the northwest ridge reservoir and Hills 1240, 1282, and
at Yudam-ni. (Map 8) Small enemy 1384 stair-stepped to the west. Compa-
groups jabbed lightly at the Marine line nies D and E, 7th Marines, occupied
for a half hour; grenades and mortar the central hills, 1240 and 1282. A pla-
and machine gun fire came next; then toon from Company I, 5th Marines,
bugle calls and whistle blasts; and fi- and an attached platoon of South Ko-
nally a sharp attack on a narrow front rean police held a spur below 1384. The
at the boundary between Companies F 237th Regiment moved against Hill 1384
and E, 5th Marines, the left and center on the west, the 235th toward Hill 1240
companies. The Chinese quickly pene- in the center, and the 236th toward Hill
trated but then found themselves 1167 nearest the reservoir. But the
hemmed in by Marine fire from the 235th and 236th veered too far west and
shoulders of the salient they had climbed toward Hills 1282 and 1240,
created. Losing heavily, they called off respectively, losing an opportunity to
their attack around midnight. Another flank or envelop the Marine defenses
force meanwhile assaulted Company H, via unoccupied Hill 1167.
7th Marines, the rightmost company, Finding 1384 unoccupied, the com-
on Hill 1403. The Chinese knocked the mander of the 237th sent a company
right flank platoon out of position down the spur to the south. The com-
within minutes but delayed further at- pany pushed the two platoons off the
tempts to advance when Marine artil- spur, and its fire forced the headquar-
lery and mortar fire came down on ters and service company of the 3d
them. Battalion, 5th Marines, away from a po-
Refilling their forward ranks, the sition around the battalion command
Chinese renewed their attack at 0300, post in a draw below the spur. Appar-
striking all three Marine companies. ently unaware that they had exposed
They went nowhere against the left and the command post, the Chinese at-
center companies but by dawn forced tempted no further gains. This hiatus
Company H, 7th Marines, off Hill 1403. gave Company G, 5th Marines, of the
This gain offered the Chinese an op- reserve time to organize and launch a
portunity to sweep behind and isolate counterattack which by daylight re-
the other two companies. Hence, gained the spur.
though the Chinese attacks dwindled To the east, repeated frontal assaults
after daylight, the marines were obliged between midnight of the 27th and late
to give up the northwest ridge. morning on the 28th failed to win Hill
In company with the 89ths attack, the 1282 but carried the Chinese to the top
79th Division moved south through the of Hill 1240. High losses so crippled
KWP-EBB-0115

MAP 8
KWP-EBB-0116

96 EBB AND FLOW

the Marine units that reinforcement or arms and mortar fire from Chinese on
replacement was essential if the 79th both sides of the road forced their
Division was to be held out of Yudam-ni. withdrawal. At the other end of the
The 59th Division meanwhile com- road segment, stiff opposition on both
pleted its short sweep to the southeast, sides of the road so slowed the 1st
slicing across the supply road between Battalion, 7th Marines, that dark had
Yudam-ni and the two Marine compa- fallen by the time it reached Company
nies outposting the road and through C. Lest the battalion be trapped in the
the two-milt gap between companies darkness, Colonel Litzenberg ordered
as well. Once across the road, the Chi- it back to Yudam-ni. Hence, only Com-
nese surrounded and assaulted both pany C was retrieved. Company Fs res-
Marine positions but failed to penetrate cue now rested on an order issued
and backed off at dawn. The marines, by General Smith late on the 28th that
still hemmed in and too burdened with the entire 7th Regiment attack south
casualties to attempt to fight their way from Yudam-ni to clear the road to
out of encirclement, could only tighten Hagaru-ri.
their perimeters and await rescue.
Colonels Litzenberg and Murray dis-
East of the Reservoir
patched a rescue force after daylight
on the 28th and meanwhile realigned On the IX Army Groups east flank
their units at Yudam-ni. The realign- the leading forces of the 80th Division
ment, interrupted only by harassing en- moved south toward Hagaru-ri shortly
emy fire, was complete by late evening. after dark on the 27th. Liu Yung, the
The 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, an- division commander, sent some troops
chored the new line at Hill 1426 on the over the road along the east bank of
southwest ridge. The 2d Battalion, 5th the reservoir, the bulk through high
Marines, took position on the same ground farther east. The Chinese fol-
ridge, facing northwest. The 3d Battal- lowing the road were to attack the 1st
ion, 5th Marines, carried the line north- Battalion, 32d Infantry, frontally while
ward across the Yudam-ni valley and the others came westward off the high
eastward into the northern heights to ground against that battalion and
and including Hill 1282. Company B, against the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry,
5th Marines, took over the defense of four miles farther south. Those mov-
Hill 1240 while the remainder of the ing deeper also were to separate and
1st Battalion went into reserve. isolate Colonel MacLeans forces by es-
Efforts to rescue the two isolated tablishing roadblocks above and below
companies came from both ends of the the 3d Battalion.
fourteen-mile stretch of road. From Having heard from the marines that
Hagaru-ri, a company reinforced by three new Chinese divisions were in the
three tanks moved toward Company F reservoir area, Colonel Faith had placed
at Toktong Pass while the 1st Battalion, his 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, in a tight
7th Marines, struck south out of Yu- defense. At Faiths left, Company A
dam-ni toward Company C. The faced north. On the right, Companies
Hagaru-ri troops made only half the C and B held a line curving south to
distance to Toktong Pass before small face the high ground to the east. As
KWP-EBB-0117

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 97

Lius forces approached, however, Faith itzers; but after combining forces
was occupied with plans for starting the around the guns of Battery B, the in-
battalion north toward the border at fantrymen and artillerymen finally
dawn next day. Colonel MacLeans or- halted the Chinese and turned back fur-
der for the advance had reached Faith ther assaults until the Chinese withdrew
around 2100, and at 2200 he had as- at dawn. Afterward, the 3d Battalion
sembled his company commanders at and the artillery, harassed only by mor-
the battalion command post for instruc- tar fire, moved into a tight perimeter
tions. near the lower bank of the ice-covered
Chinese patrols brushed the battal- finger of the reservoir.
ion line while Faith was briefing his Early in the afternoon of the 28th,
officers. As company commanders General Almond flew by helicopter to
scrambled back to their units, an attack Colonel Faiths position. He awarded
hit Company A from the north while Faith and two other men the Silver Star
another from the high ground to the and just before leaving appraised the
east struck at the boundary between Chinese encountered as only remnants
Companies B and C. In assaults that fleeing north and announced that the
lasted the night, the Chinese dented X Corps attack would continue. But his
each company position, seized a knob words apparently were an attempt to
of ground at the boundary between B raise morale, not a true appraisal of
and C, and managed to move around the enemy. On the previous day he
Company A and force the company had visited Yudam-ni, where Marine
mortars out of position. Yet when the commanders informed him that they
Chinese lifted their attacks at dawn, had encountered strong Chinese forces
Faiths position was reasonably sound. at three points of the compass. On the
Through the day Faith reclaimed all 28th, before flying to Faiths position,
ground lost except the knob on the east, he had stopped at Hagaru-ri where
which the Chinese, though struck by General Smith brought him up to date
several combinations of air and ground on the Marine divisions situation, and
attacks, refused to yield. Faiths casual- he had visited Colonel MacLeans com-
ties through the night and day ap- mand post where the combat team
proached sixty. leader briefed him on conditions east
At the lower perimeter, the 3d Battal- of the reservoir. Almond must have
ion, 31st Infantry, and 57th Field Artil- been aware that the strong attacks on
lery Battalion came under attack near the marines and MacLeans men repre-
the same hour as Faiths forces. Compa- sented a southerly surge of fresh Chi-
nies I and K nearest the high ground to nese forces.
the east received the first assaults and When he stopped at Hagaru-ri on
were pressed southwest toward the his return flight to transfer from his
artillery. Those wounded in the close helicopter to an L-17 aircraft, Almond
fighting included the commanders of may have learned from the marines that
both the 3d Battalion and the artillery a Chinese division was marshaling in
battalion. The Chinese next forced the the high ground southwest and south
men of Battery A away from their how- of Hagaru-ri. As the L-17 carried him
KWP-EBB-0118

98 EBB AND FLOW

south to his Hamhung headquarters, The Attacks Widen


he may have seen, as had other aerial
observers, that Chinese had blocked the Fox Hill
road between Hagaru-ri and Kot'o-ri.
A two-inch snowfall hampered oper-
The 1st Marine Division indeed had be-
ations during the night of the 28th. The
come a group of isolated garrisons.
89th and 79th Divisions did not contest
MacLeans combat team was in the
the marines at Yudam-ni during the
same condition. At 1000 on the 28th
night or during the day of the 29th.
Brig. Gen. Henry I. Hodes, the assist-
But forces of the 59th Division renewed
ant commander of the 7th Division
their night assaults on Company F in
who had posted himself in Hagaru-ri,
Toktong Pass. The Marine company
led the 31st Infantrys tank company,
held its ground, now called Fox Hill,
an antitank platoon, a platoon of engi-
but casualties grew to more than a
neers, and members of regimental
hundred.
headquarters north from Hudong-ni.
In considering General Smiths call
The small armored force encountered
for an attack by the 7th Marines to re-
a strong roadblock about a mile above
open the road to Hagaru-ri, Colonels
the village and lost two tanks in an un-
Litzenberg and Murray felt that both
successful effort to reduce it.
the 5th and 7th Marines were needed at
Later in the day Colonel MacLean,
Yudam-ni and therefore substituted a
who earlier had gone by jeep to Colo-
composite battalion built from reserve
nel Faiths position, discovered when
units for the rescue mission. The make-
he attempted to return south that the
shift battalion started south at 0800 on
Chinese had set another roadblock be-
the 29th but moved no more than three
tween Faiths battalion and the 3d Bat-
miles before Chinese in the bordering
talion, 31st Infantry. Unable to pro-
heights opened fire and began an encir-
ceed, MacLean returned to Faiths com-
cling move. When this maneuver was
mand post and radioed a message to
spotted from the air, Litzenberg or-
the 1st Marine Division for relay to X
dered the composite unit back to Yu-
Corps headquarters requesting that the
dam-ni. The road remained closed as a
2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, be sent
result, and the thinned-out company
immediately to clear the road above
on Fox Hill faced another night of
Hagaru-ri. Corps apparently missed the
isolation.
urgency of MacLeans request, perhaps
because that headquarters already had
Task Force Faith
dispatched Company B of the regiment
up the reservoir road to join the com- East of the reservoir, the 80th Divi-
bat team. Corps orders to the 2d Bat- sion resumed its assaults on Colonel
talion, in any event, called for the long MacLeans forces, first against the 3d
move from Hamhung not to begin un- Battalion, 31st Infantry, then against
til the following day. Meanwhile, Colonel Faiths battalion. For twelve
MacLeans forward battalions remained hours beginning around 1800 on the
cut off from Hagaru-ri and from each 28th, Chinese jabbed the lower perim-
other. eter but made no lasting penetra-
KWP-EBB-0119

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 99

tions. High casualties in Companies K through the high ground to the north
and L, however, forced the two units to flank the Chinese.
to combine. While waiting for the maneuvering
To the north, the Chinese first struck force to destroy the roadblock, Faiths
the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, from troops on the road received fire from
the knob of high ground on the east, across the reservoir finger. MacLean,
then opened frontal assaults against convinced that the fire was coming
each of the rifle companies. Company from his own forces, immediately
B on the right lost some ground but started over the ice to stop the shooting.
regained it. Elsewhere, the battalions He was mistaken. Hit at least four times
heavy defensive fire beat back repeated as he crossed, he walked into the hands
Chinese rushes. By 0300 on the 29th, of the Chinese who had crept in along
however, Faiths forces had used most the bank of the far shore, apparently
of their ammunition. MacLean hence in preparation for an attack on the
ordered Faith to move south and join lower perimeter. Once Colonel Faith
the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry. Faith realized what had happened, he formed
was to take cargo off battalion trucks to a skirmish line and led it across the ice.
make room for the hundred wounded Faiths men killed at least sixty Chinese
he now had. and drove off others, but a thorough
As Faiths forces gained respite from search of the area uncovered no trace
assault, but not fire, they fell back to of Colonel MacLean.
assemble on the road. The Chinese did Faiths flanking force meanwhile
not pursue but increased their fire as closed in on the Chinese blocking the
the battalion broke contact. Starting road and scattered them into the hills
south at 0430 with a company stum- to the east. Faiths motor column thus
bling in the darkness over snow-covered was able to proceed, and the last of
high ground on either side as flank se- Faiths men reached the 3d Battalion,
curity for the troops and trucks on the 31st Infantry, by 1230.
road, the battalion covered three-quar- While Faith fought through to the
ters of the way without opposition. At lower perimeter, the bulk of the 31st
daylight, as the leading forces entered Tank Company and a composite com-
the upper half of the road segment pany of riflemen again attempted to
bending around the frozen finger of reach it from Hudong-ni. As on the
the reservoir, they took fire from Chi- previous day, the northward move was
nese located at the tight turn of the stopped, this time by two battalions of
road near the Pungnyuri River cross- Chinese. A stronger effort clearly was
ing. This was the roadblock MacLean required to break through to the iso-
had encountered the previous after- lated force. Now the senior able-bodied
noon. Faith halted the column directly officer present, Colonel Faith assumed
across the narrow expanse of ice from command of the two infantry battal-
the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, ordered ions and the artillery, designating the
machine guns and a recoilless rifle into consolidated units Task Force Faith.
position to return the fire, and dis- Air-dropped rations and ammunition
patched the bulk of two companies (but only forty rounds of artillery am-
KWP-EBB-0120

100 EBB AND FLOW

munition) reached the task force dur- boasts that the division would occupy
ing the afternoon, and Marine aircraft Hagaru-ri on the night of the 28th. The
orbited its position constantly, striking roadblock to the south was discovered
Chinese forces in the surrounding high during the afternoon of the 28th by a
ground with napalm, rockets, and ma- platoon of infantry and three tanks who
chine gun fire. But while fresh supplies were turned back by enemy fire when
and good air support helped, Faith now they attempted to patrol the road to
pinned his hopes of avoiding defeat on Kot'o-ri.
the arrival of the 2d Battalion, 31st Figuring the time it would take the
Infantry. He apparently was not aware Chinese to reach Hagaru-ri after dark,
that the 2d Battalion was held up for Carey predicted that the first assault
lack of transportation at Majon-dong, would come around 2130. On this and
more than thirty miles to the south, he Careys other findings Colonel Ridge
had not realized the extent of the Chi- based his plan of defense. Using his
nese roadblocks between him and the own battalion, which was still short
relief unit, nor had he learned that the Company G, and a hodgepodge of
Chinese attacks had spread during the other Marine and Army units, he fash-
previous night to Hagaru-ri. ioned a four-mile perimeter around the
Changjin River flats in which Hagaru-ri
Hagaru-ri was located.
By evening on the 28th the bulk of To the south and southwest, the most
the 58th Division was concentrated likely area of enemy attack and the site
about five miles southwest of Hagaru-ri. of airstrip construction, Ridge put his
The remainder had crossed the supply 3d Battalion on the lower reverse slopes
road to the south where some troops of the high ground in which the major
blocked the route while others turned Chinese strength was located. He faced
north and assembled in the heights east the remaining troops of the 2d Bat-
of Hagaru-ri. talion, 7th Marines, and a mixture of
Lt. Col. Thomas L. Ridge, com- Marine artillery, service, and headquar-
mander of the 3d Battalion, 1st Ma- ters troops northwest toward Yudam-ni
rines, and officer in charge of the de- and north toward the reservoir. Ridge
fense of Hagaru-ri, was well informed considered East Hill, the marines name
of the location, size, and intent of the for the first mass rising in that direc-
58th, though not of its numerical iden- tion from Hagaru-ri, to be the second
tity. His S-2, 2d Lt. Richard E. Carey, most likely point of enemy attack. He
had had phenomenal success over the intended that Company G, once it ar-
past two days with two Korean agents. rived, would hold the hill. In the mean-
By interrogating civilians coming into time, he manned it with Marine service
Hagaru-ri from the countryside, the units, Company D of the 10th Engi-
agents learned of the approach of the neer Battalion (an Army unit), and de-
Chinese. By making a circuit of the tachments from X Corps headquarters
high ground around Hagaru-ri, they and signal units.
next determined the enemys location Liao Chen-chou, commander of the
and approximate size, and while min- 58th Division, took longer than pre-
gling among Chinese troops they heard dicted to reach the marines. Amid fall-
KWP-EBB-0121

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 101

ing snow, his 172d Regiment attacked makeshift unit with Company G as soon
on a half-mile front against the center as possible. The company, Ridge knew,
of the 3d Battalions line just after 2230. had started north from Kot'o-ri that
Staggered by high losses to the marines morning in convoy with the British
carefully prepared defensive fire, the 41st Commando, an Army infantry
Chinese managed only small penetra- company, and assorted other troops.
tions, and those who broke through But word also had reached Hagaru-ri
were too disorganized to do much that the convoy had come under fire
damage. By 0400 the regiment was and that its commander had requested
beaten, and the marines quickly elimi- a decision from General Smith on
nated the Chinese lingering in rear of whether to continue.
their positions. Incongruous with the
fighting taking place only a short dis-
Task Force Drysdale
tance to the southwest was the engi-
neers continuing work on the airstrip, Encounters with Chinese near Koto-
part of the time under floodlights. ri and at Sachang-ni on the 28th her-
Liao had better luck with his second- alded the arrival of the 60th Division
ary effort, driving off the defenders of and the regiment of the 89th Division in
East Hill in a sharp attack at 0130. their objectives areas. At Sachang-ni,
Company D, 10th Engineers, took the prisoners taken by the 1st Battalion, 7th
brunt of the blow. Of the 77 Ameri- Infantry, during a small skirmish first
cans in the company, 10 were killed, identified the 89th, and strong night
25 wounded, and 9 missing. Among 90 assaults not broken up until after day-
South Koreans attached to the com- break on the 29th indicated the size of
pany, about 50 were casualties, mostly the force. Reinforcements and new
missing. The Chinese, however, either supplies were rushed to the 1st Battal-
had no plans or were too weak to ex- ion, 7th Infantry, lest this enemy regi-
ploit their success and halted their at- ment gain access to Hamhung over the
tack after capturing the height. road protected only by the Sach'ang-ni
By 0630 on the 29th Colonel Ridges position.
forces on the southwestern arc of the The presence of the 60th Division
perimeter had restored the line every- was discovered by Company D, 1st
where it had been punctured during Marines, and division headquarters
the night. Maj. Reginald R. Myers, personnel who patrolled north from
Ridges executive officer, meanwhile as- Kot'o-ri during the afternoon of the
sembled a composite company of Ma- 28th. The patrol engaged Chinese
rine and Army service troops and tried about a mile above town in the ground
to retake East Hill. But inexperience, a bordering the road. The marines
slippery and exhausting climb, and Chi- fought all afternoon without breaking
nese fire stopped the group short. At through but returned to Kot'o-ri with
dusk Major Myers set up defenses on three prisoners from the 179th Regi-
the near military crest of the hill. ment, 60th Division.
Considering enemy control of East This encounter, the experience of the
Hill to be a grave threat to Hagaru-ri, patrol from Hagaru-ri the same after-
Ridge intended to replace Myers noon, and air observer reports indi-
KWP-EBB-0122

102 EBB AND FLOW

cated that Chinese positions along the ing resumed his advance about 1400.
reservoir road extended, with gaps, Heavy small arms and mortar fire
south from the outskirts of Hagaru-ri struck the column almost immediately,
to within a mile of Kot'o-ri. At least and progress was slow as tankers and
parts of two Chinese divisions, the 58th foot troops attempted to shoot their way
and 60th, held the heights on both sides through the resistance. By 1615 the task
of the road, with their strongest posi- force again was stopped after having
tions on the eastern edge. Any force moved only a mile and a half nearer
moving north from Koto-ri would run Hagaru-ri.
a ten-mile gauntlet. Two more platoons of Marine tanks
By evening of the 28th Kot'o-ri was meanwhile moved out of Kot'o-ri un-
fairly full of troops who had been or- der Pullers orders to join Drysdale. But
dered north, principally the 41st Com- even though he was to get additional
mando, Royal Marines; Company G, armor, Drysdale was uncertain whether
1st Marines; and Company B, 31st he should risk moving his men, now
Infantry. In addition, the Marine di- numbering about a thousand, the re-
vision headquarters troops who had maining seven miles to Hagaru-ri. By
failed to get through earlier in the day radio, he posed the question to Gen-
with Company D were still wanted at eral Smith. In view of the considered
General Smiths command post in need for reinforcements at Hagaru-ri,
Hagaru-ri. An Associated Press pho- Smith directed him to continue.
tographer, Frank Noel, also was trying Air-strikes sufficiently dampened
to move north. Colonel Puller formed enemy fire to permit the task force to
a motorized task force from these units, resume its march, but when it entered
placed Lt. Col. Douglas B. Drysdale, a mile-long valley midway between
the commander of the 41st Commando, Kot'o-ri and Hagaru-ri, heavy fire
in charge, and ordered the force to from the ridges to the east again halted
make its way to Hagaru-ri on the fol- the column. As troops jumped from
lowing day. trucks to reduce the resistance, a mor-
Task Force Drysdale started north at tar round set fire to a truck near the
0930 on the 29th, the British marines middle of the column. The Chinese
in the lead, followed by Company G, concentrated small arms and mortar
Company B, and the headquarters fire around the damaged vehicle to
troops. Chinese dug in east of the road prevent its removal and thus obstruct
about a mile and a half above Kot'o-ri the road and split Drysdales column.
offered the first resistance. They were Ahead of the truck, Drysdale with most
eliminated, but a mile farther north, of his commandos, two platoons of
fire from a stronger Chinese force in tanks, Company G, and a few members
the high ground on the east brought of Company B managed to move on.
the task force to a full halt by noontime. Drysdale expected the remainder of
Colonel Drysdale, near that hour, the column to close ranks. But behind
received word from Colonel Puller the burning vehicle, in what Drysdale
that two Marine tank platoons would later dubbed Hell Fire Valley, about
be available at 1300. Drysdale waited sixty commandos, most of Company B,
for the armor, then with the tanks lead- and the division headquarters troops
KWP-EBB-0123

THE BATTLE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR 103

remained pinned down in ditches and firefight most of the men in the three
depressions along the road. clusters farther south managed to es-
Only intermittent fire and one strong cape into the high ground west of the
Chinese position about a mile and a half road. Though pursued, they managed
below Hagaru-ri obstructed Drysdales to reach Koto-ri, bringing the total of
movement north of Hell Fire Valley. men who escaped south to about three
Drysdale was wounded while fighting hundred. At the northern position, only
past the Chinese strongpoint, where- a few British commandos were able to
upon the Company G commander led slip away toward Koto-ri. When pho-
the column the remaining short dis- tographer Frank Noel and two other
tance to its destination. About an hour men jumped into a jeep to make a run
after dark Drysdales four hundred for it, they were captured before they
men entered Hagaru-ri. They were had moved a hundred yards.
surprised, in view of their own day of At 0430 the Chinese sent these cap-
fighting, to find the town quiet and the tives to McLaughlin with a surrender
engineers working under floodlights at demand. Stalling to enable as many
the airstrip to the southwest. men as possible to escape, McLaughlin
The Chinese meanwhile began the finally agreed to surrender himself
reduction of Drysdales forces caught and the forty able-bodied men re-
in Hell Fire Valley. Before dark a force maining. The Chinese allowed him to
sliced west across the road between the place his more seriously wounded men
immobilized troops and the two pla- in a nearby house as the Hell Fire Val-
toons of tanks coming from Kot'o-ri. ley affair ended. Task Force Drysdales
Some of the tail-end armored troops, total casualties exceeded three hun-
receiving considerable fire themselves, dred. About seventy-five trucks were
returned to Kot'o-ri during the night; lost during the day and night.
the remainder went back at dawn.
To the north, near the damaged
The Tokyo Conference
truck, another pre-dark attack isolated
about a hundred forty troops from the Not long after Colonel Drysdale and
rest of the trapped men while the latter the men with him reached Hagaru-ri,
gradually gathered in three clusters as they knew they would soon be making
they sought cover from the fire coming a return trip through Hell Fire Valley.
in from east of the road. Thereafter This decision was one result of General
until midnight the Chinese were con- MacArthurs conference with General
tent to fire on the four separated Walker and General Almond in Tokyo
groups while they looted the trucks on on the night of the 28th.8
the road. Having heard Walkers and Almond
In the early hours of 30 November on what had happened in their respec-
they sent small forces armed with gre- tive sectors, MacArthur judged that the
nades against the northernmost group. Eighth Army was in greater danger
The latter, led by Marine Maj. John N. than the X Corps. But he wanted both
McLaughlin, held off the Chinese but
took high losses and by 0430 expended 8 This section is based on Schnabel, s
most of their ammunition. During this tion, pp. 278-79.
KWP-EBB-0124

104 EBB AND FLOW

commands to step back. Walker was to through the Taebaeks toward Tokchon
make whatever withdrawals were neces- to attack the Chinese pressing Walkers
sary to escape being enveloped. Al- right flank. Almond argued that the
mond was to maintain contact with the road Wright had in mind did not exist
Chinese but also was to pull the X (it did, but it was not made for military
Corps out of its spread-eagle positions traffic) and that the severe winter
and concentrate it in the Hamhung- weather combined with any strong Chi-
Hungnam coastal area. nese force in the gap between com-
MacArthur next asked Almond what mands might destroy the division. Al-
the X Corps could do to help the Eighth mond agreed to the move, however, if
Army. Almond pointed out that the iso- the Eighth Army would supply the 3d
lated Marine and Army troops at the Division after it reached the western
reservoir had to be retrieved before slopes of the Taebaeks. General Walker
anything else could be done. MacAr- offered no such support, and the con-
thur agreed but then restated his ques- ference closed an hour past midnight
tion to ask what Almond could do to without a final decision on the proposed
relieve the threat to Walkers east move. But owing to MacArthurs clear
flank. The answer to this question held interest, such a maneuver would come
MacArthurs primary interest. up again after Walker and Almond re-
General Wright, MacArthurs G-3, turned to Korea on the 29th to get their
suggested that Almond send the 3d disengagements started.
Division west over the road leading
KWP-EBB-0125

CHAPTER VI

Disengagement in the West


General Walker reached his P'yong- alry commander, had his reserve battal-
yang headquarters from the meeting ion collect South Korean troops as they
in Tokyo during the afternoon of the came through his forward line. Refu-
29th. The Eighth Army at the time was gees streamed south with the ROK
making a second short withdrawal, or- forces, and either North Korean guer-
ganized by his staff not long before he rillas or disguised Chinese regulars who
arrived, in response to the threat of en- had joined the civilians harassed the
velopment from the east which over- cavalrymen as they entered the regi-
night and through the morning had mental position. Hand grenades thrown
further enlarged. by the infiltrators killed a company
commander and wounded eight men.2
The problem of refugees was not pe-
The Threat of Envelopment
culiar to the 1st Cavalry Division sector.
Throngs of civilians had begun to move
Toward Sunchon
south across the entire front. Crowds
On the Sunchon road at the army of refugees on the roads threatened to
right, General Gays decision against interfere with the movement of troops
moving the 7th Cavalry up from Ku- and supplies, and drifting columns of
jong-ni to the Pukch'ang-ni area on the civilians everywhere offered the enemy
28th left the initiative to the Chinese. a vehicle for infiltration. Both dangers
Shortly before daylight on the 29th the prompted army orders late on the 28th
125th Division, 42d Army, whose regi- directing that refugees be diverted be-
ments air observers previously saw pass- fore they could enter Eighth Army
ing through Pukch'ang-ni, sent forces lines.3
against the ROK 6th Division three The men of the 7th Cavalry found it
miles below town. (Map 9) The ROK difficult just to halt the early morning
troops immediately withdrew five miles influx in their sector and had only par-
to Walpo-ri, but pursuing Chinese read- tially restored order by 0630 when lead-
ily flanked the new position, and the ing forces of the 125th Division opened
South Koreans scattered rearward to- fire from high ground to the northeast.
ward the 7th Cavalry two miles below Exchanges of small arms fire contin-
them.1
Col. William A. Harris, the 7th Cav-
2 7th Cav Hist Rpt, Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 29
Nov 50: 1st Cavalry Division. Korea, June 1950 to Janu-
ary 1952 (Atlanta: Albert Love Enterprises, n.d.).
1 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 29 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot 3 Rad, GX 30074 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG
Rpt 2109, 29 Nov 50; 7th Cav Hist Rpt, Nov 50. IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0126
KWP-EBB-0127

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 107

ued until artillery concentrations si- deployed along the Sunchon-Sin-


lenced the Chinese two hours later. chang-ni-Songchon line.5
ROK troops and refugees continued to
enter the regiments line during the At Kunu-ri
firelight. Panic spread through an ap- On the eastern side of the river in
proaching ROK artillery column when the Chongchon valley, the forces of
its lead vehicle stalled about a quarter the 40th Army who, beginning about
mile north of the cavalrymen. Instead midnight on the 28th, had pushed the
of shoving the obstructing truck out of 2d Battalion of the 9th Infantry below
the way, the ROK artillerymen simply Pugwon, were joined in the town after
abandoned guns and trucks and ran daylight by sister forces that had
toward the regimental position. The come down the opposite side of the
motor officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Chongchon. The latter forces had
Cavalry, and six of his men later went turned the right flank of the 24th In-
forward and recovered eight howitzers fantry, 25th Division, then had moved
and sixteen vehicles.4 their main strength southeast across the
At midmorning, after the troopers river into Pugwon.6
finally gathered all South Korean forces Ahead of this juncture, Colonel
and cleared their position of refugees, Sloane withdrew the 2d and 3d Battal-
General Gay ordered the 7th Cavalry ions of the 9th Infantry around 0600,
to withdraw to Sinchang-ni, three miles first taking them behind defenses hur-
south, unoccupied since the 8th Cav- riedly established by the 23d Infantry
alry had left for Songchon. The regi- astride the valley road below Pugwon,
ment and the ROK 6th Division pulled then moving them to an assembly two
back during the afternoon, the 7th miles southwest of Kunu-ri. Sloanes 1st
Cavalry taking position astride the Battalion, which late on the 28th had
Sunchon road just above Sinchang-ni, taken position at the right rear of the
the South Koreans occupying adjacent 24th Infantry on the west side of the
high ground on the west. Acting on Chongchon, rejoined the regiment at
Gays previous instructions, the 5th Cav- the assembly area late on the 29th after
alry meanwhile organized defenses a full day of operations with the 25th
astride the Taedong River two miles Division. The 40th Army, after joining
north of Sunchon, aligned with but not assault forces at Pugwon, meanwhile
physically adjoining the ROK 6th Divi- prepared to attack Kunu-ri on a wide
sion to its right; the 8th Cavalry, en front, spreading units from Pugwon
route to Songchon, placed its leading southeastward over Piho-san Ridge
battalion in the new area by nightfall. four miles above Kunu-ri. This ridge,
The Chinese on the Sunchon road did under General Keisers plan for de-
not pursue the 7th Cavalrys withdrawal fending the Pugwon-Wawon sector, was
and remained out of contact while to have been occupied by the 38th and
Gays division and the South Koreans ROK 3d Regiments.7

5 Ibid.
4 7th Cav Hist Rpt, Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 29 6 25th Div Hist, Nov 50; 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50.
Nov 50; 1st Cavalry Division, Korea, June 1950 to Janu- 7 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50;
ary 1952. 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0128

108 EBB AND FLOW


On the right flank of the 2d Division of the 3d, blocking a valley approach to
sector, the 38th Army assaults opened Kunu-ri.9
against the Turkish brigade at Sinnim- Immediately east, the 38th Infantrys
ni during the first hours of the 29th new line slanted southeast over lesser
were still in progress at daylight. Be- hills below Piho-san Ridge to the
cause neither wire nor radio communi- Tokchon-Kunu-ri road at the north-
cations existed between the Turk for- eastern edge of Kaechon. The attached
ward units and brigade headquarters ROK 3d Regiment held the left sector
in Kaechon, three miles west of directly below Piho-san. The 2d and 3d
Sinnim-ni, General Yasici knew noth- Battalions, facing northeast and east,
ing of the attack until his artillery bat- carried the remainder of the line to the
talion pulled back to Kaechon. Accord- boundary with the Turks at Kaechon.
ing to the artillery commander, the Colonel Peploe kept his command post
three infantry battalions were sur- and 1st Battalion in the assembly area
rounded. Yasici delayed countermeas- established the previous night a mile
ures until daylight, then dispatched an east of Kunu-ri.10
infantry company from his replacement The Turks were expected to anchor
battalion and the platoon of tanks at- the 2d Divisions right flank. Some were
tached from the 72d Tank Battalion to to occupy a bit of high ground at the
clear the road and deliver instructions eastern edge of Kaechon. The rest
for a withdrawal to Kaechon. The task were to move below the Kaechon River
force reached Sinnim-ni easily, and the to refuse the flank and block a valley
infantry battalions withdrew without where the road from Sunchon, pre-
interference. But Chinese forces moved viously cut by the Chinese at Samso-ri
west with the withdrawal, marching farther south, made its exit before
over the ridges below the Kaechon crossing river to enter Kaechon. But
River, which coursed westward just regardless of repeated urgings from the
south of and parallel to the Tokchon- American advisers, General Yasici
Kunu-ri road.8 failed to place troops below the river.
In response to the nighttime and At noontime two Turk companies occu-
morning changes in the 2d Division pied the small hill just east of Kaechon
sector-the lose of Pugwon, the enemys town. The remainder of the brigade
occupation of Piho-san Ridge, and the was assembled inside town with senti-
Turk withdrawal to Kaechon-Gen- nels posted along the outer limits.11
era1 Keiser and his forward unit com-
manders worked out a new defense line At the Bridgehead
by noon on the 29th. At the left, two
Unlike the enemy efforts toward
battalions of the 23d Infantry blocked
Sunchon and Kunu-ri, the Chinese
the Chongchon valley road in depth,
above the Chongchon made no con-
the 2d holding a forward position two
certed daylight attack against the I
miles below Pugwon, the 3d astride the
Corps. The 24th Division had no con-
road two miles north of Kunu-ri. The
1st Battalion was a mile and a half east
9 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
1038th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
8Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 Nov- 11 TurkishU.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 Nov-
13 Dec 50. 13 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0129

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 109


tact at all as General Church started his The Second Disengagement
forces toward Sunchon, as ordered by
General Walker the day before. The Kunu-ri Abandoned
only enemy action in the ROK 1st Divi-
sions sector was small arms and artil- Early in the afternoon of the 29th,
lery fire placed on General Paiks delay- before General Keiser learned of the
ing forces in and west of Yongsan-dong army order to withdraw south of Kunu-
before they pulled back to the bridge- ri, the 40th and 38th Armies converged
head during the morning. Eastward in on his arch of positions north and east
the 25th Divisions sector, the 39th Army of the town. (Map 10) Just north of the
launched local assaults on the 27th In- Turks at Kaechon, 38th Army forces
fantry in the division center about the moving west along and above the
same time that 40th Army forces turned Tokchon-Kunu-ri road attacked the
the 24th Infantrys right flank. But 3d Battalion, 38th Infantry, quickly
these attacks posed no serious threat to overrunning its right flank position.
the corps bridgehead.12 Sensing the start of a strong enemy
The real danger lay below the river. effort, Brig. Gen. J. Sladen Bradley, the
By noon on the 29th only two battal- 2d Divisions assistant commander, ra-
ions of the 23d Infantry stood before dioed orders to Colonel Peploe for re-
the 40th Army forces on the Chongchon lay to General Yasici to attack and rees-
valley road. Should these be eliminated, tablish the lost position. But Bradleys
a follow-up Chinese thrust down the order brought no more results than the
twenty-mile stretch of road between earlier recommendations of Yasicis ad-
Kunu-ri and Sinanju would trap Gen- visers that the Turks take position south
eral Milburns forces above the of the Kaechon River. t4
Chongchon. Shortly afterwards, mortar fire struck
To respond to this danger and to the Turks inside Kaechon, and the 38th
tighten the defense against the two Army forces who had moved west below
arms of the Chinese enveloping ma- the Kaechon River came out of the un-
neuver, Colonel Dabney, the army G-3, guarded valley south of town. Though
radioed instructions about an hour past taken under fire from across the river
noon for a withdrawal to a line that by Yasicis tanks, the Chinese slanted
followed the lower bank of the northwest toward a hill mass rising
Chongchon upstream almost to just north of the river a mile behind
Kunu-ri, then curved southeast to join Kaechon, where they could block the
the 1st Cavalry Divisions new line from road to Kunu-ri at the western half of a
Sunchon through Sinchang-ni to pass. Yasici promptly withdrew and
Songchon. The bridgehead and Kunu- soon filled the road from Kaechon
ri thus would be abandoned, and the westward through the pass with a dou-
Eighth Armys east flank position would ble column of troops and vehicles.15
become longer than the front.13 To assist the 2d and 3d Battalions of

12 I Corps Intel Sums 226 and 227, 29 Nov 50; I 14 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50;
Corps PORs 233 and 234, 29 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 Nov-13
Nov 50; 25th Div WD, Nov 50. Dec 50."
13 Rad, GX 30085 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I 15 "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 Nov-
Corps et al., 29 Nov 50. 13 Dec 50."
KWP-EBB-0130

MAP 10
KWP-EBB-0131

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 111


the 38th Infantry, both now engaged Chinese fire. Both the equipment and
in a firefight with Chinese to their front techniques of the Fifth Air Force were
and both just as much in danger of extremely limited for providing close
being enveloped as the Turks, Colonel air support at night and in bad weather.
Peploe ordered his reserve 1st Bat- Although General Stratemeyer and
talion, less Company C, to move up on General Partridge had tried almost
the regimental right. But when the bat- from the beginning of the war to ob-
talion mounted trucks and started east tain sufficient equipment and develop
over the road toward Kaechon, it effective procedures for furnishing
found the way blocked by the oncom- such support, they now had only the
ing Turk traffic. Peploe drew the sty- 1st Shoran Beacon Unit, whose opera-
mied battalion back to a blocking posi- tions so far had been unsatisfactory,
tion astride the road a mile east of and three AN/MPQ-2 radar detach-
Kunu-ri and instructed his forward bat- ments. The successful, if out-of-the-
talions to make their way behind this ordinary, B-26 strike carefully brought
position as best they could. Forces of in on the pass after dark permitted the
the 40th Army meanwhile struck south Turks and Peploes troops again to
of Piho-san Ridge against the ROK 3d move west. Peploe reorganized most of
Regiment. Peploe pulled the 3d back his men behind his covering positions
to a position a little over a mile north- before midnight, but the Turkish bri-
east of Kunu-ri and tied its right flank gade was in disorder, with units disor-
to the left of his 1st Battalion to ganized, key leaders missing, and
strengthen the cover for his forces with- Turks scattered in clumps all along the
drawing from the east.16 way from the pass through Peploes
While Peploe organized the cover- position and Kunu-ri to the 2d Divi-
ing position, his 2d and 3d Battalions sion command post six miles south of
disengaged and filed out of the hills Kunu-ri.18
above Kaechon onto the Kunu-ri road Amidst this melee east of Kunu-ri,
with the Turks. The Chinese swinging General Keiser issued instructions, in-
in from the southeast by that time held stigated by the newest directive from
the hill mass overlooking the pass from army, for the 2d Divisions withdrawal
the south and soon halted the westward below the town. Partially covered by the
flow of traffic with a heavy volume of ROK 3d Regiment and 38th Infantry
fire. Taking cover north of the road, northeast and east of town, Colonel
Americans and Turks in the pass area Freeman was to move first, pulling his
returned fire until long past dark. But 23d Infantry out of position north of
the Chinese fire continued to block all Kunu-ri and taking it south of the
movement except for some tanks and Kaechon River below town. Here, be-
vehicles carrying wounded that man- tween the Kaechon and the parallel
aged to move around the pass over a Chotong River about a mile farther
trail to the north.17 south, a low ridge reached north-
A B-26 strike finally dampened the westward athwart the Kunu-ri-Sinanju

16 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.


17 Ibid.; "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 18 Ibid Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea,
20 Nov-13 Dec 50." 1950-1953, pp. 328-29, 377-78.
KWP-EBB-0132

112 EBB AND FLOW

stretch of the Chongchon valley road. In pulling out of position north of


Defenses along this height would block Kunu-ri, Colonel Freeman kept his 3d
the road and would provide excellent Battalion astride the Chongchon val-
observation and fields of fire across the ley road two miles above town as cover
river flats toward Kunu-ri.19 while he moved the remainder of the
After Freeman was in position, 23d Regiment during the early evening
Peploe was to withdraw to a position hours to the new position south of the
on the low ridge east of the 23d. But Kaechon River. The covering battalion,
since Peploes route passed through the after being hit hard by Chinese coming
southern outskirts of Kunu-ri before down the valley road, withdrew at 2200.
turning south over the Kaechon, Company L and a platoon from the 72d
Peploe anticipated being cut off if Chi- Tank Battalion dropped off at the
nese stormed into Kunu-ri on the heels northern edge of Kunu-ri while the re-
of Freemans withdrawal. Against this mainder of the battalion continued to
possibility, he arranged for Freeman to the new regimental line.22
leave a rifle company and a platoon of A Chinese battalion caught up with
tanks in Kunu-ri to cover the with- Freemans force at the upper edge of
drawal of the 38th and ROK 3d Kunu-ri around midnight. The infan-
Regiments.20 trymen and tankers threw back four
The disintegration of the Turkish strong assaults before pulling south and
brigade spoiled General Keisers plan so gave Colonel Peploe the time and
to employ the Turks below Kunu-ri protection needed to move vehicles,
along the northern six miles of the divi- casualties, and then his main strength
sion supply road. Located along this through the lower edge of town and
road segment, which followed gener- south behind the 23d Infantry. Peploes
ally the Kunu-ri-Sunchon rail line, rear guard, the 1st Battalion of the
were all the division artillery and, at ROK 3d Regiment, received fire from
the most southerly point, the division Chinese following the withdrawal from
headquarters. Keiser had intended that the east and northeast but broke away
the Turks deploy east of this stretch of in the darkness near 0400 and with-
road. But his order giving the brigade drew cross-country.23
this assignment was not even acknowl- Through the remainder of the night
edged. While confused Turkish troops Peploe gradually collected the some-
straggled into and south of Kunu-ri, what scattered units of the 38th Infan-
General Yasici headed out over the try a mile southwest of Freemans posi-
road to Sinanju on a roundabout ride tion but was unable to locate the main
to Sunchon where he hoped eventu- body of the ROK 3d Regiment. He had
ally to reassemble the brigade. Keisers instructed the South Koreans to take
supply road, command post, and artil- position to the immediate right of the
lery base meanwhile remained wide 23d. Instead, they had gathered in
open to attack from the east.21 small groups along the 2d Division
supply road not far from division head-
19 2d
Div G3 Jnl, Entry 72, 29 Nov 50.
quarters. They intended, according to
20 Ibid.; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
21 Ltr, Lt Col Maurice C. Holden to Maj Roy E.
Appleman, 26 Feb 52; "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advi- 22 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
sory Group, 20 Nov-13 Dec 50." 23 Ibid.; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0133

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 113

orders from their own regimental had been established inside Kunu-ri at
commander, to continue south to an city hall. The attack came while the bat-
assembly in Sunchon.24 talion commander was talking by phone
with the regimental commander, Colo-
In the Bridgehead nel Corley, to arrange a withdrawal
southwest of Kunu-ri to tie in with the
Late in the afternoon of the 29th
23d Infantrys new main position be-
General Milburn ordered the I Corps
low the Kaechon River. Battalion com-
to abandon its bridgehead in a two-step
munications with both regiment and the
withdrawal. The ROK 1st and 25th Di-
frontline companies went out soon,
visions first were to fall back after dark
thereafter, and the battalion head-
to a line running from a western an-
quarters group withdrew, with some
chor three miles above the Chongchon
difficulty, to the regimental command
northeast to the mouth of the Kuryong
post five miles southwest of Kunu-ri.
River, then along the lower bank of the
Colonel Corley and the battalion com-
Chongchon to the 2d Divisions left
mander then arranged air support and
flank below Pugwon. The two divisions
placed guides along the Kunu-ri - Anju
were to pull completely behind the
road in an effort to help Companies I,
Chongchon at daylight on the 30th.
K, and L move south past Chinese, who
This second move would be covered by
meanwhile had swept to behind them
the 5th Regimental Combat Team, now
from the east. The three companies fi-
detached from the 24th Division and
nally got out at 1630 on the 30th at a
under corps control, from positions im-
cost of 1 killed, 30 wounded, and 109
mediately north and northeast of the
missing.26
river -- crossings in the Sinanju-Anju
area.25
Attack at Sinchang-ni
Milburns forces occupied the first
phase line before midnight. At the far At the army right, the respite gained
right, the 3d Battalion of the 24th by the 7th Cavalry when it disengaged
Infantry, which had tied the 25th Divi- at Kujong-ni on the Sunchon road dur-
sions position to that of the 2d Divi- ing the afternoon of the 29th lasted not
sion about 2100, was left with an open quite to midnight. At 2230, heavy small
east flank an hour later when the 3d arms, machine gun, and mortar fire
Battalion of the 23d Infantry withdrew swept the 7ths new position above
after being hit by the Chinese coming Sinchang-ni; a half hour later, Chinese
down the Chongchon valley road. following the road wedged between the
Near midnight, when the Chinese bat- two forward battalions. Heavy defen-
talion opened assaults on Colonel sive mortar and artillery fire threw back
Freemans blocking force at the north- the assault, but not before a hundred
ern edge of Kunu-ri, part of the enemy fifty Chinese slipped through the open-
unit also attacked the command post of ing in the cavalry line and attacked the
the 3d Battalion, 24th Infantry, which command posts of both battalions.

26 I Corps PORs 234 and 235, 29 Nov 50; 24th Div


24 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50. WD, Nov 50; 25th Div Hist, Nov 50; 24th Inf WD,
25 I Corps Opn Dir 28, 29 Nov 50. Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0134

114 EBB AND FLOW

Some of the attackers made it all the While the 19th Regimental Combat
way into Sinchang-ni.27 Team was moving the first four miles
From below Sinchang-ni, a rifle down the diagonal road below Anju,
company, two tanks, and a motorized Church received aerial observer reports
section of heavy machine guns of the that the road ahead of the team was
reserve battalion counterattacked at blocked in two places. He instructed
0200 and cleared the forward head- Colonel Moore to destroy the blocks
quarters areas. Near 0230 the Chinese with part of his force and to shift the
began to pull out of contact, electing remainder westward to take Route 1
only to harass the cavalrymen with mor- south to Sukchon, then a lateral road
tar fire through the remainder of the east to Sunchon. Leaving the intelli-
night. The 7th Cavalry suffered 38 gence and reconnaissance platoon, an
killed, 107 wounded, and 11 missing infantry company, and a tank company
during the engagement. Known enemy to deal with the roadblocks, Moore took
losses were 350 killed and 10 captured. the rest of his combat team over the
One prisoner identified the assault unit new route, assembling it near Sunchon
as the 37th Regiment of the 125th Divi- shortly after dark. Colonel Stephens
sion, whose mission, he asserted, had combat team also used Route 1 and the
been to open the road preliminary to lateral road, taking up the better part
an attack on Sunchon by a larger of the night to reach the Sunchon
force.28 assembly.30
Moores task force meanwhile en-
Trouble on the Lines of Communication countered the first roadblock about
1400, after moving three miles farther
On the Anju-Sunchon Road
down the diagonal road, and drove the
By morning of the 30th the 24th Chinese away with only small arms fire.
Division, less the 5th Regimental Com- Another three miles southeast, the
bat Team, was available to help block force spotted Chinese in high ground
any attempt to seize Sunchon. General overlooking the road near an irrigation
Church had started his forces out of reservoir. Tank fire, mortar fire, and
the I Corps sector near noon on the an air strike killed several Chinese and
29th. Col. Ned D. Moores 19th Infan- scattered the remainder. The task force
try and its combat team attachments then continued to Sunchon, reaching
moved first, motoring from Pakchon the assembly area at 2300.31
to Anju and then down a diagonal road
leading southeast toward Sunchon. On the Kunu-ri-Sunchon Road
Col. Richard W. Stephens 21st Regi-
The Chinese on the diagonal road
mental Combat Team followed late in
evidently had moved in the van of the
the afternoon after being relieved at its
enemys westward push toward Kunu-
position at the I Corps left by South
ri. While they proved no real hindrance
Korean Troops.29
to the 24th Divisions move to Sunchon,
27 7th Cav Hist Rpt, Nov 50. it became clear that forces following
28 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 29 and 30 Nov 50; 7th Cav
Hist Rpt, Nov 50.
29 24th Div WD, Nov 50; I Corps POR 234, 29 Nov 30 24th Div WD, Nov 50.
50. 31 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0135

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 115

them had established a much stronger around noontime. Keiser then called
block farther east on the 2d Divisions for a rifle company from the 38th In-
supply road between Kunu-ri and fantry. Colonel Peploe sent Company
Sunchon. C, now no more than seventy-five men
Before daylight on the 29th, Turk who, accompanied by a tank platoon
soldiers from a convoy carrying sup- from the 72d Tank Battalion, in mid-
plies to the brigade stopped at the 2d afternoon joined the reconnaissance
Division command post six miles below force at the pass. This combination also
Kunu-ri to report that they had encoun- was unable to eliminate the fire block,
tered a roadblock while traveling north and near dusk Keiser ordered the
from Sunchon. At 0900 a patrol from force to withdraw into positions around
the division military police company division headquarters. The Chinese
moved south to investigate, came un- unit in the ass was now believed to be
der fire about four miles below divi- a battalion.34
sion headquarters, and lost one man General Coulter meanwhile started
killed and three wounded in attempt- part of his reserve north toward the
ing to define the enemy position.32 roadblock. Earlier in the morning he
General Keiser next ordered his had ordered Brig. B. A. Coad, com-
reconnaissance company to clear the mander of the British 27th Brigade, to
obstruction, evidently only a fire block send a battalion to Samso-ri to elimi-
centered in a pass four miles south just nate the Chinese encountered there the
above the village and railroad station previous day by the 5th Cavalry. After
of Yongwon. Keiser apparently did not learning of the 2d Divisions predica-
know at the time that a platoon of tanks, ment about 0830, he redirected the
attached from the 72d Tank Battalion British against the newer roadblock.
to the British 27th Brigade but not mov- The Middlesex Battalion, motorized for
ing with the brigade from Kunu-ri to its mission, headed toward its new desti-
Chasan on the 28th, had just headed nation shortly after 1000 and in the re-
south over the blocked road. Only the maining daylight assembled seven miles
protection of armor allowed this pla- south of the blocked pass.35
toon to proceed through the pass un- Coulter informed General Keiser that
der intense fire from what appeared to the British battalion would move to-
be two enemy companies in the sur- ward the roadblock from the south at
rounding high ground.33 daylight on the 30th and instructed him
The reconnaissance company to mount in concert a vigorous attack
reached the pass at midmorning but, from the north. The 2d Division com-
despite fire support from a battery of mander needed little prompting. To his
the 503d Field Artillery Battalion, front, the 40th Army was pressing the
stalled before the Chinese position

34 Ltr Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; 2d Div


32 Ltr, Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; 2d Div G2-G3 Jnl, Entries J-1459, J-1457, and J-1475, 29
G2-G3 Jnl, Entry J-1456, 29 Nov 50; 2d Div WD, Nov Nov 50; 2d Div Arty WD, Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot
50. Rpt 2114, 29 Nov 50.
33 Ltr, Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; 72d Tk Bn 35 Rad IXACT-402, CG IX Corps to CG 27th Brit
Comd and Unit Hist Rpt, Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Brig, 29 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts 2101 and
Rpt 2107, 29 Nov 50. 2110, 29 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0136

116 EBB AND FLOW

single battalion of the 23d Infantry still The Sukchon-Sunchon-Songchon Line


north of Kunu-ri; to his right, the 38th
Army had partially enveloped the 38th Having returned to Korea from To-
Infantry and the Turkish brigade; and kyo with instructions from General
MacArthur to prevent the envelopment
in the immediate rear area, all of his
artillery and division headquarters were of the Eighth Army, General Walker
vulnerable to attack from the east. (See late on the 29th called a general with-
Map 10.) In all likelihood, further with- drawal to a line twenty miles south of
drawals would become necessary, and Kunu-ri and thirty miles above Pyong-
the road south, if it was to be used, had yang whose general trace connected
first to be opened.36 the towns of Sukchon, Sunchon, and
Keiser alerted the 9th Infantry, still Songchon. The twenty-mile retirement
assembled two miles southwest of would take his northernmost forces-
Kunu-ri, for the next attack on the the ROK 1st, 25th, and 2d Divisions-
roadblock. When Colonel Sloane re- out of the path of the Chinese closing
ported to division headquarters for in- in on Kunu-ri from the east and north,
structions around 2000, he advised and the resulting consolidation of forces
General Keiser that operations over the would permit a more closely knit de-
past four days had reduced the 9th In- fense with which to meet the deeper
fantry to less than half strength and Chinese thrust down the Tokchon-
that an attack could be mounted with Sunchon road and any similar effort
only the four hundred to five hundred over the Songchon-Pyongyang route.
men remaining in the 2d and 3d Bat- Walker instructed the I Corps to face
talions. (The 1st Battalion was then still north along the Sukchon-Sunchon
with the 25th Division.) Keiser told segment of the new line, the IX Corps
Sloane to employ all of these men and to occupy the slightly larger sector
to hit the roadblock at daylight on the curving to the southeast between
30th.37 Sunchon and Songchon.39
The Middlesex Battalion, according
to final plans worked out between The I Corps Withdrawal
Keiser and Coulter, would be in posi- General Milburns move to the rear
tion just south of the pass by 0800 but was uncomplicated since the first phase
would not attack unless Keiser so of his earlier withdrawal out of the
requested. His signal for an attack Chongchon bridgehead had taken the
would be radioed to the British. Last, I Corps out of contact except on the
Keiser worked out a no-fire line so that extreme right near Kunu-ri. Milburn
Sloanes artillery support would not assigned the ROK 1st Division to the
strike the British unit. left half of the Sukchon-Sunchon
sector, the 25th Division to the right.
Both divisions were to withdraw at day-
light on the 30th under cover provided
36 Ltr, Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52
37 Ibid.; 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; Marshall, The River by Col. John L. Throckmortons 5th
and the Gauntlet, p. 269.
38 IX Corps G3 Spot Rpt 2164, 30 Nov 50; Ltr, 39 Rad, GX 30090 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CGI
Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52. Corps et al., 29 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0137

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 117

Regimental Combat Team. Throck- withdrawal over the Kunu-ri-Sunchon


mortons team was to remain in the road.41
Anju area to protect fords and two Throckmorton therefore continued
bridges over the Chongchon until the to man his covering position past mid-
divisions had cleared the river, then was night. By the time his combat team fi-
to move into corps reserve at Yongyu, nally reached its corps reserve assem-
eight miles south of Sukchon.40 bly at Yongyu on 1 December, the ROK
Milburns forces peeled off from the 1st and 25th Divisions had left their
left, moving west and south over the temporary assembly areas to occupy
Kunu-ri-Sinanju-Sukchon route. The their assigned sectors of the new army
ROK 1st Division started at 0600 and line.
moved slowly but without incident to-
ward an assembly near Sukchon. The The 2d Division Plan
25th Division began moving an hour
In establishing division sectors along
later toward an assembly nearer
the IX Corps new defense line, Gen-
Sunchon. By 1430 all I Corps troops
eral Coulter attached the British 27th
who had been above the Chongchon
Brigade to the 1st Cavalry Division and
were below the river. Less than an hour instructed General Gay to organize po-
later 5th Regimental Combat Team
sitions from Songchon northwestward
troops blew one Anju bridge and about
to a point six miles short of Sunchon.
1800 destroyed the other. Milburn then The 2d Division was to occupy these
instructed Colonel Throckmorton to last six miles once it could disengage
start his withdrawal to Yongyu. But and withdraw from the Kunu-ri area.42
while most I Corps forces by then were In anticipation of such a withdrawal,
moving down the Sinanju-Sukchon General Keiser and his G-3, Lt. Col.
segment of Route 1 by truck or afoot, Maurice C. Holden, on the 29th had
troops were still coming into Throck- considered the alternative of taking the
mortons line from the direction of
2d Division south over the Kunu-ri-
Kunu-ri. Some were from the 3d Bat-
Sinanju-Sukchon route through the I
talion, 24th Infantry, which until late
Corps sector. This possibility was
afternoon had been blocked off by en- raised when General Milburn tele-
emy troops behind its position north-
phoned Keiser during the afternoon to
west of Kunu-ri. Others were from inquire about the 2d Divisions situa-
Company B, 89th Tank Battalion;
tion and at that time offered the use of
Company F, 27th Infantry; and the
the I Corps roads. Colonel Holden and
25th Reconnaissance Company which
the division provost marshal, Lt. Col.
had protected General Keans with-
Henry C. Becker, took immediate ad-
drawal from the area nearer Kunu-ri
vantage of Milburns offer to move vari-
not occupied by any of Throckmortons
troops. The remainder were from the
23d Regimental Combat Team, which 41 I Corps WD, Nar, Nov 50; I Corps WD, 30 Nov
50: 25th Div O1 24, 30 Nov 50: 5th RCT Unit Rpt 109,
had been covering the 2d Divisions 1 Dec 50; 5th RCT S3 Jnl, 30 Nov 50; 24th Inf WD,
Nov 50; 89th Med Tk Bn Unit Rpt, Nov 50; 25th Div
40 Rad, CGI Corps to CG 25th Div et al., 30 Nov 50; Recon Co WD, Nov 50.
I Corps POR 236, 30 Nov 50; I Corps WD, Nar, Nov 42 IX Corps Opn O 6(confirms fragmentary orders
50; 25th Div Hist, Nov 50; 24th Inf WD, Nov 50. already issued), 30 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0138

118 EBB AND FLOW

ous service units and a large number of ing Coulters withdrawal instructions,
southbound supply vehicles that had Keiser and his staff worked out the
collected on the blocked supply road. divisions order of movement. As pre-
A division headquarters advance party viously planned, the 2d and 3d Battal-
joined the column of trucks as it turned ions of the 9th Infantry were to attack
back north to get on the road to Sinanju to open the road at daylight. When the
at a junction just behind the position of road was clear, the remainder of the
the 23d Infantry. Colonel Gerald G. division was to withdraw in increments:
Epley, the chief of staff, apparently the division and division artillery head-
judged this to be the only use of the quarters first, then the engineer bat-
road intended by General Milburn: as talion, the remainder of the 9th Infan-
the service train started over the I try with its direct support artillery and
Corps route, he refused a division artil- the bulk of the divisions antiaircraft
lery request to base withdrawal plans artillery attached, the two general sup-
on that axis on grounds that it was not port artillery battalions, the various
available to the 2d Division.43 pieces of the Turkish brigade, the 38th
Colonel Holden attempted to make Infantry and its direct support artillery,
it available around 2000 when he ra- the ROK 3d Regiment, and finally the
dioed the IX Corps G-3 and asked him rear guard composed of the 23d In-
to clear the 2d Divisions unlimited use fantry, 15th Field Artillery Battalion,
of the Kunu-ri-Sinanju-Sukchon route 72d Tank Battalion, Battery B of the
with General Milburn. But although the Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weap-
G-3 reported that he obtained the re- ons 82d Battalion, and 2d Chemical
quested clearance with the provision Mortar Battalion.45
that Keisers forces work in on the All of General Keisers plans so far
road as they can, Colonel Holden la- were based on the assumption that the
ter denied having received it. The Kunu-ri-Sunchon road was blocked
question of permission, in any event, only at the pass four miles south of the
was soon replaced by doubt that the division command post and that the 9th
roads use was possible. Before 2100, Infantry would have no particular diffi-
Colonel Becker, the provost marshal, culty clearing it. This assumption was
reported that Chinese had cut the challenged during the night when a
Kunu-ri-Anju segment. The road actu- Chinese patrol attacked and took a hill-
ally was still open, but Keiser sought no top from a squad of military police on
confirmation of the report and, upon the perimeter protecting Keisers head-
receipt of the IX Corps order about quarters and when mortar, machine
0100 on the 30th, based his withdrawal gun, and small arms fire fell for about
plan on the use of the blocked road to an hour on both the division headquar-
the south.44 ters area and the nearby position of the
In the hour and a half after receiv- 503d Field Artillery Battalion. But while
all of this heralded the westward ap-
proach of 38th Army forces north of the
43 Ltr, Holden to Applemen, 26 Feb 52; 2d Div Arty
WD, Entry 58, Nov 50.
44 2d Div WD, G3 Activ Rpt, Nov 50; IX Corps G3
Spot Rpt 2140, 29 Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Appleman, 45 The order of march is given in 2d Div Arty POR
26 Feb 52; 2d Div Arty WD, Entry 61, Nov 50. 98, 1 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0139

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 119


pass area, it gave General Keiser no fire could be dropped on the Chinese-
definite evidence that the Chinese had held height, Sloane got his vehicles out
enlarged the fire block. He responded of range and deployed for assault. The
to the nighttime activity by moving the 2d Battalion and Company I climbed
38th Infantry east and south from its the ridge west of the road while the
location behind the 23d Infantry to an remainder of the 3d Battalion moved
assembly near the exposed 15th, 38th, over lower ground on the east. The Chi-
and 503d Field Artillery Battalions nese gunners on the western height
north of the division command post. pulled away as Sloanes forces climbed
Otherwise, his plans to clear the known toward them, but small arms, machine
block to the south using the 9th In- gun, and mortar fire from the next
fantry, then to dispatch the remainder height south swept and stopped both
of his division to Sunchon, remained battalions after their initial rush.48
in effect.46 When Sloanes assault foundered,
General Keiser sent the ROK 3d Regi-
The Roadblock Below Kunu-ri ment to assist. Sloane used the South
Koreans to relieve his forces west of
To reach the blocked pass four miles
the road. Once the ROK forces passed
south of the 2d Division command post
through, he intended to place all of his
around daylight on the 30th, the 2d
own troops east of the withdrawal route
Battalion of the 9th Infantry followed
and again attack south.49
in column by the mortar company and
Against the possibility that Sloanes
the 3d Battalion with a platoon of regi-
renewed effort would not open the
mental tanks attached, left the regimen-
road, Keiser instructed the 38th Infan-
tal assembly southwest of Kunu-ri at
try and all division artillery except the
0330. Colonel Sloane intended to
units attached to the 23d Infantry to
march down the supply road two miles
move to the division headquarters
beyond the division command post,
area. Only combat equipment was to
then deploy a battalion on either
be brought; kitchens, maintenance
side of the road and advance over the
equipment, personal baggage, and all
bordering ridges. (See Map 10.) But at
other nonessential impedimenta were
0630, no more than a half mile south
of division headquarters, the leading to be left behind. Colonel Peploes
forces, previously scheduled to march
2d Battalion received small arms and
near the tail of the divisional column,
machine gun fire from the high ground
were now earmarked to lead the way
to the southwest. This fire was the first
certain indication that the 38th Army south. Thus stripped and poised,
had extended the fire block north of Keiser could if necessary fight his way
the pass.47 to Sunchon.50
While the mortar company pulled
48 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; Marshall, The River and the
back slightly to positions from which Gauntlet, pp. 270-72.
49 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Appleman,
46 Ltr Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; 2d Div WD, 26 Feb 52; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, pp.
Nov 50; Gugeler, Combat Actions in Korea, p.57; 38th
Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50. 50 38thInf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 2d Div Arty WD,
47 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; Marshall, The River and the Entry 63, 30 Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Appleman, 26
Gauntlet, p. 270. Feb 52.
KWP-EBB-0140

120 EBB AND FLOW

Apparently unable to raise the Brit- the 23d Infantry just below the
ish by radio, Keiser sent a request Kaechon River. Although near-
through IX Corps headquarters for the continuous air strikes on Kunu-ri and
Middlesex Battalion to strike north into its vicinity so far had helped materially
the pass area. About the same time, in holding off the enemy, the Chinese
Colonel Sloane dispatched his platoon strength across the river from the regi-
of tanks south to contact the British ment was growing. Freeman also had
unit. Sloanes tanks, like the platoon observed enemy troops moving around
from the 72d Tank Battalion the previ- his right flank toward Keisers units to
ous day, weathered enemy fire without the south.53
loss and reached the British below the The combination of conditions above
pass about 1030. The Middlesex Battal- and below Keiser pushed him to the
ion already had tried to clear the pass, decision to run his forces through the
had been stopped by strong mortar and roadblock. Whereas speculation had
machine gun fire, and had then taken continued, especially among artillery
position near Yongwon to cover 2d Di- units, on a withdrawal over the Kunu-
vision forces when they came through ri-Sinanju-Sukchon route, the latest
the pass. Sloanes tankers remained reports from Freeman discouraged that
with the British to add their guns to choice as the way out. To get on that
the cover.51 route, almost all of Keisers forces first
Near the time that Sloanes tanks would have to move north to the road
reached the British, the ROK 3d Regi- junction just behind the 23d Infantry
ment passed through Sloanes 2d Bat- which now appeared in immediate
talion. Supported by an air strike of danger of seizure by the Chinese ac-
rockets and napalm and by .50-caliber cumulating in Kunu-ri. In view of that
machine gun fire from a platoon of possibility, the earlier report that the
tanks from the 72d Tank Battalion Kunu-ri-Anju road segment had been
(previously with the Turks) on the road, cut, and General Coulters orders to
the South Koreans drove a small group the 2d Division to withdraw over the
of Chinese off the first hill south, then Kunu-ri-Sunchon road, General Keiser
failed in two assaults to carry the ridge dismissed any further consideration of
beyond. Altogether, the ROK regi- using the I Corps route.54
ment gained just under three-quarters There were, on the other hand, at
of a mile.52 least two prospects that favored run-
By noon Sloanes forces and the ning the roadblock. Although Sloane
South Koreans had gained no more had failed to clear the ridges below divi-
ground. Equally disturbing to General sion headquarters, the Chinese had not
Keiser, Colonel Freeman notified him exhibited any heavy firepower. The
that Chinese were beginning to press near enemy position also appeared to
be shallow. His forces, Keiser reasoned,
51 IX Corps G3 Spot Rpt 2174, 30 Nov 50; 9th Inf
Hist, Nov 50; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, p.
309. 53 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to
52 9th Int Hist, Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Appleman, App leman, 26 Feb 52.
26 Feb 52; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, pp. 54 Ltr,Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; 2d Div Arty
273, 276-79. WD, Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0141

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 121

probably could rush past it and then Peploes 2d Battalion riding trucks and
face only the problem of negotiating regimental tanks passed through the
the pass farther south. Even the latter 9th Infantry about 1300. The lead tank
problem might already have been bearing three officers and eighteen
solved. Having no communication with men in addition to the crew received
the Middlesex Battalion, Keiser as- intermittent bursts of machine gun fire,
sumed that the British were attacking but no one was hit. The men aboard
northward. Hence, the pass might be the tank sprayed return fire into the
clear and a linkup with the British occur heights commanding the road as they
not far down the road.55 sped over the first mile and a half, then
Before signaling the start of the run encountered a barricade. Apparently
south, Keiser reversed previous instruc- between the time that Sloanes tanks
tions that only necessary battle gear be moved south during the morning and
taken. Near noon his assistant, General Peploes forces started an hour past
Bradley, passed the word to all units to noon, the Chinese had obstructed the
bring out all serviceable vehicles and road with an M39 carrier, an M4 tank,
equipment. Keiser evidently believed and a 2-ton truck lost by Keisers
the Chinese opposition below him could forces on the 29th. Although the time
be handled without stripping to bare taken to shove the obstructions off the
combat essentials, and for a speedy trip road was brief, the delay started a chain
to Sunchon he could use all transporta- reaction of halts to the rear that fixed a
tion available. Keisers final order of stop, wait, and go pattern to the entire
march kept the 38th Infantry in the withdrawal.57
lead, followed by division headquarters The leading tank and its passengers
and division artillery headquarters, next received and returned fire as before
all artillery battalions except the 15th while negotiating the next two and a
with Freemans regiment, then the en- half miles, including the quarter-mile
gineer battalion, and finally the rear- length of the pass. Another quarter
guard 23d Regimental Combat Team. mile beyond the pass, a second barri-
All other forces-the 9th Infantry, cade of trucks and assorted equipment
Company C of the 72d Tank Battalion, lay across the road, but the driver kept
the ROK 3d Regiment, and troops of his tank at full speed and rammed
the Turkish brigade-were expected to through it. Around the next turn of
work into the column ahead of the rear the road he passed behind the outposts
guard, those on foot hitching a ride of the Middlesex Battalion about
wherever they could. The order to all 1400.58
units was to keep moving.56 The tanks successful one-hour run
Keiser instructed Colonel Peploe to prompted a message from the British
move about 1245. Since Peploe already that when recorded at army headquar-
had organized the 38th Infantry for the ters pronounced the "MSR between
ride south, there was little delay in
starting. At the head of the column, 57 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 9th Inf Hist, Nov
50; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, pp. 289-94.
55 Ltr Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; Marshall, 58 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Eighth Army G3
The River and the Gauntlet, pp. 280-81. Jnl, 30 Nov 50; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet,
56 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div Arty WD, Nov 50. pp. 286-87.
KWP-EBB-0142

122 EBB AND FLOW

Kunu-ri and Sunchon open as of some South Korean and Turkish troops
1400. But the scene along the road scattered among them, managed to
behind the lead vehicle belied this opti- move in spurts and get through the pass
mism. As Peploes 2d Battalion with the a little before 1500. By the time the tail
3d Battalion and regimental headquar- of Peploes serial got through, the Chi-
ters group immediately behind moved nese in the pass area had greatly in-
over the four-mile stretch below divi- creased their fire and were moving
sion headquarters, the two regiments guns in an effort to block the quarter-
of the 113th Division in the bordering mile cut completely.60
heights began strengthening their elon- Coming next into the pass were the
gated fire block. The heaviest fire fell 2d Battalion and mortar company of
in the pass, but the Chinese also maneu- the 9th Infantry. Colonel Sloane dis-
vered to bring down small arms, ma- patched these two units onto the road
chine gun, and mortar fire on much of about 1330 behind Peploes lead serial,
the road above the defile. The Chinese keeping the 3d Battalion deployed
placed perhaps thirty or forty machine against the Chinese near the divisions
guns and about ten mortars in action. point of departure. Part of the ROK
Most of the direct fire was delivered 3d Regiment and some Turks were
broadside, and much of it plunged onto mixed in. On the heels of the 9th Infan-
the road from long range. Peploes col- try troops came General Keisers head-
umn nevertheless began to lose men quarters troops and the reconnaissance
and vehicles, especially while at a halt; company who had begun to move im-
as more trucks were disabled, the fre- mediately after learning that Peploes
quency of the halts increased.59 first troops had gone through the pass.
At each halt, riders leapt from tanks Right behind were the division artillery
and trucks for the roadside ditches. headquarters, the bulk of the 82d Anti-
Some fired into the heights, others only aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons
sought cover. When able to move again, Battalion, the 1st Battalion of the 38th
drivers often left passengers behind. Of Infantry, and the division military po-
those left afoot by the destruction of lice company. Besides the division rear
their transportation or by a driver who guard, the division engineers, four ar-
failed to wait, the able-bodied straggled tillery battalions, and the rest of the 9th
south, some managing to catch another Infantry had yet to take to the road.61
ride. Wounded were picked up by The ride south toward the pass was
troops following when there was room every bit as harrowing for this group as
in their vehicles; for lack of space or it had been for Peploes men. Moving
notice, other casualties were left where through the defile was even more pain-
they had fallen. This scrambling grad- ful. As Sloanes leading troops entered
ually broke down tactical unity and the pass, the Chinese loosed efilading
troop control. But despite disorganiza- machine gun fire from both ends of
tion and casualties, Peploes forces, with
60 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Marshall, The River
59 2d Div G2-G3 Jnl, Entry J-1490, 30 NOV 50; 2d and the Gauntlet, pp. 288-90, 306-07.
Div Arty WD, Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 30 Nov 61 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Appleman,
50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Marshall, The River 26 Feb 52; 2d Div Arty WD, Nov 50; Marshall, The
and the Gauntlet, pp. 287-88. River and the Gauntlet, pp. 318, 326.
KWP-EBB-0143

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 123


the cut as well as plunging fire from troops out cross-country. But by then
the embankments on either side. At the air strikes were beginning to have
least twenty disabled trucks already clut- an effect. Mosquito control pilots re-
tered the roadside when the first of ported that it was impossible to miss
Sloanes forces attempted to negotiate the Chinese clustered in the heights on
the pass, and as the enemy fire began either side of the road, and to make
taking an additional toll of vehicles, the sure of hitting their targets, pilots flew
wreckage in the roadway became a bar- in so low that the men in the pass ex-
rier impassable to trucks to the rear. pected the planes to crash. Machine gun
Troops amidst and immediately behind bullets from the aircraft struck the
the obstructions tried to move afoot rocky embankments less than seventy-
through the pass, but the machine gun five yards above the men in the cut,
fire as well as small arms fire and hand and burning napalm spilled onto the
grenades pitched down on them from road to set several vehicles afire. As the
above forced them to cover among the air strikes dampened the Chinese fire,
wrecked trucks. For the first time, Keiser sent two light tanks from his re-
movement through the pass came to a connaissance company to bulldoze a
complete stop.62 path through the wrecked vehicles in
Doubling the column then stretch- the pass. The column of troops and
ing two miles to the rear, General trucks could move south again, al-
Keiser and General Bradley came south though they continued to receive some
to the pass shortly before 1530. They fire from the surrounding heights.
needed no long study to see that fur- Darkness fell and forced away the sup-
ther movement depended first on sup- porting planes before the last of this
pressing the fire being poured into the portion of the division column entered
defile. While ground troops in and near the pass, but the column moved stead-
the cut were making such an attempt, ily toward safety.64
strong air attacks seemed the only real As the last of the military police com-
solution.63 pany and a few troops of the 38th In-
Fighter-bombers responding to an fantry at the end of this section de-
earlier call for air support from Keiser scended from the quieted pass, some
began pounding the ground bordering fire ranged in on their left flank. Just
the pass about the time the two gener- below the pass, where the road jogged
als completed their reconnaissance and west, crossed a stream, then turned
returned to their command vehicles south again a short distance beyond,
now just north of the pass. Near 1630, was the small village of Karhyon-dong.
after movement through the pass had After receiving the strong air attacks in
been blocked for more than an hour, the pass heights, part of the Chinese
Keiser conferred with his G-3, Colonel blocking force took cover in Karhyon-
Holden, and momentarily considered
abandoning all vehicles and taking his
64 Eighth Army G3 Briefing Rpt, 1 Dec 50; Eighth
Army G3 Jnl, Entry 2147, 30 Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to
Appleman, 26 Feb 52; Futrell, The United States Air
62 Marshall,The River and the Gauntlet, pp. 310-311, Force in Korea, 1950-1953, pp. 237-38; Marshall, The
318. River and the Gauntlet, pp. 318-19, 326-27, 331-32; 2d
63 Ibid., p. 320. Div G2 Jnl, Entry 1490, 30 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0144

124 EBB AND FLOW

dong and trained a few automatic weap- the slowness. The battalion suffered 1
ons and mortars to the northwest. This killed and 16 wounded and lost 1 how-
fire would be the heaviest faced in the itzer, 22 vehicles, and 11 trailers.66
pass area by the last section of Keisers The 37th Field Artillery Battalion,
column, which included four artillery next in column, suffered more than
battalions, the division engineers, and double the 17ths losses. By the time
the remainder of the 9th Infantry. the 105s of the 37th cleared the ford
Whereas the 23d Regimental Combat west of Karhyon-dong, the battalion
Team originally was scheduled to bring had lost 35 men killed, wounded, or
up the rear over the Kunu-ri-Sunchon missing, and had left 10 howitzers, 53
road, the long delay caused by the Chi- vehicles, and 39 trailers strewn along
nese fire block to the south coupled the road to the rear. But, like the 17th,
with enemy pressure from the north the 37th was still intact.67
had prompted Colonel Freeman to To the rear, the story was different.
choose another way out; by dusk his Whereas the 503d and 38th Field Artil-
forces already were moving over the lery Battalions, 2d Engineer Combat
Kunu-ri-Sinanju-Sukchon route.65 Battalion, and remainder of the 9th In-
The 17th Field Artillery Battalion, fantry had started down the road be-
the only S-inch howitzer unit in Korea, hind the 37th, only a trickle of troops
led the last section of Keisers column. and trucks would come through the
After passing through sporadic ma- pass. Although some of the Chinese
chine gun fire, the battalion halted in had climbed down from the bordering
midafternoon just below the village of heights to firing positions nearer the
Wa-dong, a little over two miles north road, none so far had made an assault
of the pass. Following one stiff ex- on the division column. But after dark,
change of fire with nearby Chinese just below the divisions point of depar-
forces, the 17th started to move again ture, strong Chinese forces opened
at dark. The battalion negotiated the attacks against the two remaining artil-
pass without trouble, but, on descend- lery battalions and the engineers. Vehi-
ing and turning west to ford the stream cles knocked out during the assaults
west of Karhyon-dong, a howitzer blocked the road in considerable depth,
tipped over and rolled into a deep and enemy fire during and following
gulley. When an artilleryman went into the assaults defeated all attempts to re-
the gulley to destroy the gun, lights move the obstructions. Only a few
turned on to help him see attracted troops near the head of the 503d Field
mortar fire from Karhyon-dong. Har- Artillery Battalion managed to break
assed by continued fire, the remaining away and continue down the road. The
tractors and howitzers crossed the others, including the remainder of the
stream slowly and one at a time. It was 9th Infantry caught at the very end of
midnight when the battalion got out of the division column, abandoned all
the fire, but losses were light in spite of
66 17th FA Bn WD, Nov 50; Ltr, Holden to Apple-
65 Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, p. 340; Ltr, man, 26 Feb 52; Gugeler, Combat Actions in Korea, pp.
Holden to Appleman, 26 Feb 52; Ltr, Col Paul L. 58-60; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, pp. 342-44.
Freeman to CG, 2d Inf Div, 9 Dec 50, sub: With- 67 37th FA Bn WD, Nov 50; Marshall, The River and
drawal of the 23d Infantry From KUNU-RI. the Gauntlet, p. 347.
KWP-EBB-0145

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 125

AN 8-INCH HOWITZER AND CREW

guns, equipment, and remaining vehi- Sunchon road before dark and was
cles and left the road to make their way deeply concerned over the pressure
to Sunchon cross-country. Not all being exerted against his forces by the
succeeded in getting past the Chinese Chinese concentrated in and around
around them. Of those who did, the Kunu-ri. Twice, at 1430 and an hour
last straggler would not reach safety for later, Freeman reported to division
some days to come.68 headquarters-although by feeble and
In view of this debacle, Colonel Free- interrupted radio contact-that the
man had made a wise choice in electing 23ds situation was becoming increas-
to withdraw over the Kunu-ri-Sinanju- ingly precarious. He made the earlier
Sukchon route. By early afternoon he report to General Bradley and at that
was convinced of the improbability time proposed that he be allowed at
that the 23d Regimental Combat Team least two hours before darkness or
could withdraw via the Kunu-ri- when in Freemans judgment the situa-
tion became critical to withdraw the
68Comd Rpt, 503d FA Bn, Nov 50; Comd Rpt, 38th combat team using the I Corps roads.
FA Bn, Nov 50; Hist Rpt, 2d Engr C Bn, Nov 50; 9th
Inf Hist, Nov 50; Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet,
Although the weak radio signal caused
pp. 347-61. some confusion at division headquar-
KWP-EBB-0146

126 EBB AND FLOW

ters as to Freemans exact plan, Gen- mite grenades in the already damaged
eral Bradley at 1600 authorized him to tubes, the artillerymen boarded their
put the plan into effect.69 trucks and joined the withdrawal. A
In preparation, Freeman invited the noticeable and prolonged lull in enemy
commander of the 38th Field Artillery fire followed the heavy artillery bom-
Battalion and the officer in charge of bardment, and forward observers
the rearmost troops of the 9th Infantry, watched the Chinese hurriedly dig in
both nearby and not yet able to move to the front of the infantry positions
south over the Kunu-ri-Sunchon road, being vacated. Colonel Freeman cred-
to join in withdrawing through the I ited the artillery action with having
Corps sector. Both declined. Therefore, made a safe withdrawal possible. Un-
only the combat teams attachments- der continued air cover, his leading
Battery B of the 82d Antiaircraft Artil- troops made their way behind the 5th
lery Automatic Weapons Battalion, the Regimental Combat Teams position
72d Tank Battalion less Company C, near Anju by sunset; by dark his last
and the 15th Field Artillery Battalion- troops-from the 3d Battalion and 72d
would accompany Freemans infantry. Tank Battalion-were clear of the
With the agreement of the commander rearguard position; and just before
of the 15th Field Artillery Battalion, midnight, the combat team closed in
Freeman decided not to take the howit- an assembly area near Sukchon.71
zers out. For one reason, the fewer A count rendered on 1 December
towed pieces on the road, the less listed 2d Division battle casualties at
chance there would be of having the 4,940 for the last half of November. Of
column blocked by an accident at a these, 90 percent, or about 4,500, had
sharp turn or defile. Second, he been incurred since the 25th. Officer
wanted the guns in action up to the casualties alone numbered 237 and
moment of withdrawal to discourage touched most grades and branches.
any pursuit by the Chinese then press- These losses represented one-third of
ing his position.70 the divisions actual strength of 15,000
In the hour and a half before sunset on 15 November, and when reconciled
Freeman spotted all available transpor- with non-battle casualties, replace-
tation on the road behind his rearguard ments, and returnees, left the divi-
position, then began peeling troops sion 8,662 men short of authorized
from the front a battalion at a time, strength.72 Equipment losses were
beginning with the easternmost. The equally heavy. In addition to hundreds
15th Field Artillery Battalion mean- of trucks and trailers, the major losses
while began a phenomenal shoot, fir- included 64 artillery pieces, almost all
ing all ammunition on hand in just over of the 2d Engineer Combat Battalions
twenty minutes at deep and close-in equipment, and between 20 and 40 per-
targets. After gunners exploded ther-
71 Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, p. 329; Ltr,
69 Ltr, Col Freeman to CG, 2d Div, 9 Dec 50; Ltr, Col Freeman to CG, 2d Div, 9 Dec 50; 23d Inf Comd
Maj Gen J. S. Bradley to Maj Roy E. Appleman, Rpt, Nov 50; Comd and Unit Hist Rpt, 72d Tk Bn,
2 Apr 52. Nov 50.
70 Marshall, The River and the Gauntlet, p. 328; Ltr, 72 2d Div Pers Per Rpt no. 12, 1 Dec 50. This report
Col Freeman to CG, 2d Div, 9 Dec 50. shows the following breakdown:
KWP-EBB-0147

DISENGAGEMENT IN THE WEST 127

Battle Actual cent of the signal equipment carried by


Auth Casualties Strength the various division units.73
Unit Strength 15-30 Nov50 1 Dec50 Although this early tally of losses was
9th Inf 3793 1267 1406 not wholly certifiable, the figures clearly
23d Inf 3793 485 2244 showed the 2d Division no longer effec-
38th Inf 3793 1075 1762
DivArty 3695 1461 1970 tive. While the 1st Cavalry Division
72d Tk Bn 681 19 576 stretched itself thinner to cover the
2d EngrBn 977 561 266 sector of the new army line originally
2d MedBn 341 329
2d MPCo 187 13 142 assigned to the 2d Division, General
2d ReconCo 171 27 115 Keiser on 1 December began moving
2d QMCo 252 232 his depleted division to Chunghwa,
702d Ord Co 321 283
DivBand 70 89 about ten miles south of Pyongyang,
2d Rep1Co 34 51 for rehabilitation.74
DivHq Co 190 15 166
DivHq 233 3 249
2d SigCo 369 10 363
MedDetDivHq 14 13
CIC Det 17 13
73 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div Arty WD, Nov 50.
Total 18,931 4,940 10,269 74 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0148

CHAPTER VII

Concentration at Hungnam
By 30 November the changing pulled the Eighth Army out of the
ground situation had in turn altered path of the Chinese enveloping maneu-
the course of UNC air and naval opera- ver and reduced the likelihood that his
tions. General Partridge, whose Fifth forces would have to be sea lifted from
Air Force within its own arena now some isolated beachhead deep in north-
faced a growing challenge from MIG-15 ern Korea. Nor was General Almond
jet aircraft over northwestern Korea, then planning any sea evacuation of
had received a sharp increase in close the X Corps. Almonds purpose, as
support requirements. Admiral Ewen, General MacArthur had instructed,
whose Task Force 77 planes previously was to pull his far-flung forces into
had been held to interdiction and defenses around Hamhung and
armed reconnaissance, also had begun Hungnam, a task that had its own com-
to send close support sorties into both plications without regard for what
the Eighth Army and X Corps sectors.1 might come next. His ROK I Corps had
To meet any increased demand for to backtrack some three hundred miles
aircraft carriers and gunfire support, along the coast, 7th Division forces at
Admiral Joy not only had recalled ships Hyesanjin faced a 200-mile withdrawal
of the line previously redeployed out through the mountains, and the Ma-
of the theater but had ordered those rine and Army forces in the Changjin
under way to their first Korean assign- Reservoir area could expect to fight
ments to sail at maximum safe speed. their way out at least as far as Koto-ri,
He also had deployed Task Force 90, probably farther.
dividing Admiral Doyles amphibious
force into one group on each side of
New X Corps Orders
the peninsula, so as to be able to evacu-
ate the Eighth Army from western Almond had begun work on plans to
beaches and the X Corps from the east carry out MacArthurs instructions, in-
coast.2 cluding a westward move to assist the
Joys deployment of Task Force 90, Eighth Army, while flying back to Ko-
for the time being at least, was only rea from the Tokyo conference on the
precautionary. General Walker had afternoon of the 29th. His staff com-
pleted the plans that night.3
1 F u t r e l l , The U n i t e dStatesAir Force in Korea, 1950-
1 9 5 3 , pp. 230-38; Field, United States Naval Operations,
Korea, pp. 265-68. 3 This section is based on X Corps Special Report
2 Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. on Chosin Reservoir, 27 Nov-10 Dec 50; X Corps WD,
265-66, 268-69. Sum, Nov 50; 7th Div Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50;
KWP-EBB-0149

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 129


Almonds 30 November order plac- Tokchon. Almonds written order di-
ing these plans in effect left something rected Soule to attack with strong Task
further to be done with the ROK I Force . . . and assist Eighth Army. But
Corps. For the time being Almond di- in a conference with Soule and 65th
rected its commander, Brig. Gen. Kim Infantry commander Col. William W.
Paik II, only to protect the X Corps Harris during the morning of the 30th,
right flank and secure the east coast Almond reduced the mission to a re-
road as he brought his forces south. connaissance in force by a reinforced
The 7th Division forces in and battalion from Harris regiment.
around Hyesanjin were to fall back on The separated garrisons around the
Hamhung. General Barr was to pro- Changjin Reservoir had to be consoli-
tect the corps northern and northeast- dated before any withdrawal from that
ern flank, establishing an especially sector could begin. Toward that end,
strong position around Sinhung, twenty Almond late on the 29th had placed all
miles north of Hamhung, to block roads forces in the reservoir area, including
leading south out of the area to be those at Koto-ri, under the control of
vacated. Barr also was to place a regi- the 1st Marine Division. To protect fur-
ment and his tank battalion in corps ther the vital road junction and sup-
reserve. plies at Hagaru-ri, he had ordered
Among several assignments given the General Smith to pull in a regiment
3d Division, General Soules forces were from Yudam-ni. He also had instructed
to protect the Changjin Reservoir road Smith to gain contact with Task Force
from Sudong south to Hamhung and Faith, then to work out a coordinated
to continue to block the road coming defense based on Hagaru-ri, and,
east from Sachang-ni. Almond de- finally, to open and secure the eleven
tached the 1st Korean Marine Corps miles of road between Hagaru-ri and
Regiment and one infantry battalion Koto-ri.
from Soules division and placed them Almonds order on the 30th enlarged
under corps control. These two units, these instructions. General Smith now
designated Task Force C and com- was to pull in both Marine regiments
manded by Brig. Gen. A. D. Mead, the from Yudam-ni and was to find some
assistant 3d Division commander, were way to bring Task Force Faith back to
to protect Wonsan and the Wonsan Hagaru-ri. He also was to secure a
airfield. Except for one other bat- larger segment of the reservoir road
talion, Soule was to concentrate the from Hagaru-ri south twenty-two miles
remainder of his division between to the village of Sudong.
Chigyong and Yonpo, about four During the afternoon of the 30th Al-
miles southwest of Hamhung and mond met with Generals Smith, Barr,
Hungnam. The excluded battalion was and Hodes at Hagaru-ri to urge speed
to head west over the road leading to in falling back on Hamhung. Except
for the Task Force Drysdale melee in
Mono, Chosin Reservoir, 3d Hist Det; 3d Div Comd Hell Fire Valley, the reservoir area had
Rpt, Nov 50; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Res- been relatively quiet the previous night.
ervoir Campaign; Interv, Appleman with General
Almond; X Corps OI 19, 29 Nov 50; X Corps Opn O But the respite from strong attack likely
8, 30 Nov 50. would be brief, and the Chinese were
KWP-EBB-0150

130 EBB AND FLOW


becoming active along the reservoir casualty-ridden task force to fight its
road at and below Koto-ri. Just after way out.
dark on the 29th a Chinese force had
struck but failed to penetrate the Koto-
ri perimeter, and on the 30th the ma- Shaping the Hamhung-Hungnam
rines at Chinhung-ni discovered and Defense
drove off a Chinese battalion in the
heights west of town. Almond conse- To protect Hamhung and Hungnam
quently wanted Smith to accelerate the while the distant X Corps forces made
movement of the Yudam-ni forces to their way south, General Almond had
Hagaru-ri, and he directed both Smith moved forces of the 3d Division into
and Barr to come up with a plan and the port complex. He lost his protec-
timetable for extricating Task Force tion on 1 December when General
Faith. He authorized Smith to destroy MacArthur took control of the 3d
all equipment whose removal would de- Division and ordered Almond to as-
lay his consolidation and withdrawal, semble it in Wonsan preparatory-
promising him any needed resupply by presumably-to sending it westward to
air. assist the Eighth Army. Almond com-
Despite the requirement for speed, plied (dissolving General Meads Task
neither Smith nor Barr saw any quick Force C in the process) but on the 3d
way of consolidating forces at Hagaru- sent to Tokyo staff members who ap-
ri, especially of retrieving Task Force pealed and obtained a rescission of
Faith. Almond personally had ordered MacArthurs action. Upon regaining
the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, to move the 3d Division, Almond canceled the
northward immediately from Majon- westward reconnaissance previously as-
dong to help extricate the task force. signed to the 65th Infantry, a pointless
But in view of Task Force Drysdales venture now that the Eighth Army had
experience, the infantry battalion most withdrawn to the Sukchon-Sunchon-
certainly faced serious trouble in Songchon line. Except for establishing
running the gauntlet above Koto-ri. another task force that he kept under
Forces from Hagaru-ri could hardly be his own control, Almond returned the
spared for a rescue mission lest Chi- division to the Hamhung-Hungnam
nese, known still to be concentrated in area. The task force along with a Ma-
strength around the town, hit the rine shore party group was to protect
weakened garrison and capture the vi- Wonsan and outload the supplies and
tal base. The two division commanders equipment stockpiled there, where-
agreed that a relief force could be upon the port was to be abandoned.4
sent to Task Force Faith only after For the 3d Division, the changes in
the Yudam-ni marines returned to orders over the first three days of De-
Hagaru-ri, and the latter faced the task
of fighting over fourteen miles of 4 X Corps Opn O 8, 30 Nov 50; X Corps OI 20, 1
mountain road while bringing out hun- Dec 50; X Corps OI 21, 1 Dec 50; TLCN 558, FEC-X
Corps, 3 Dec 50; X Corps OI 24, 3 Dec 50; X Corps
dreds of casualties. The alternative, Special Report on Chosin Reservoir. 27 Nov-10 Dec
none too attractive, was to order the 50.
KWP-EBB-0151

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 131

cember were confusing, especially for Barrs block at the right was tem-
the troops of subordinate units who porary. General Almonds plan for
without knowing why shuttled like yo- ringing Hamhung and Hungnam now
yos to, from, and back to the Hamhung- called for the ROK I Corps to hold the
Hungnam complex. But by nightfall on northeast sector, including the coastal
the 4th General Soule concentrated the road. But the nearest ROK I Corps
bulk of his division in the Hamhung- troops were still a hundred miles up
Hungnam area. With the 1st Korean the coast at Songjin, the rearmost an-
Marine Corps Regiment attached, he other forty miles north in Kilchu. To
deployed on the 5th to defend a sector assist the Korean withdrawal, General
anchored below Yonpo airfield south- Almond arranged on the 5th through
west of Hungnam and arching north- Admiral Doyle to send five ships to
west through Chigyong southwest of Songjin to pick up the tail-end ROK 3d
Hamhung to the village of Oro-ri on Division. The ROK I Corps headquar-
the Changjin Reservoir road eight miles ters and the leading Capital Division
northwest of Hamhung.5 meanwhile continued to withdraw
By dark on the 5th the greater part overland.7
of the 7th Division also reached the
Hamhung-Hungnam area. To assist the
Concentration at Hagaru-ri
7ths evacuation of Hyesanjin, the at-
tached 26th ROK Regiment had taken On 1 December, as General Almond
covering positions astride the main began to shape the defense of Ham-
Hyesanjin-Pukchong withdrawal route hung and Hungnam, the marines at
about midway between the terminal Yudam-ni and Colonel Faiths forces
towns. But General Barrs forces came east of the Changjin Reservoir started
south without enemy contact. They back toward Hagaru-ri. General Smith,
demolished bridges and cratered the now commanding all forces in the res-
road behind them as far as the South ervoir area, had given the two regi-
Korean position and in continuing their ments at Yudam-ni their withdrawal
withdrawal prepared similar demoli- order the previous evening following
tions to be exploded by the South his afternoon conference with Almond.
Koreans bringing up the rear. Barrs Smith placed neither Colonel Litzen-
forces, after completing their with- berg nor Colonel Murray in charge but
drawal, put up defenses north and merely directed both to Expedite . . .
northeast of Hamhung adjacent to movement RCT-5 and RCT-7 to
those of the 3d Division. The leftmost Hagaru prepared for further with-
position was not far east of Oro-ri, drawal south. Destroy any supplies
astride the road leading south from the which must be abandoned during this
Pujon Reservoir; the rightmost blocked withdrawal."8
the coastal road.6

5 3d Div Comd Rpt, Dec 50; Dolcater, 3d Infantry


Division in Korea, pp. 88-9 1; X Corps Opn O 9, 5 Dec 7 X Corps Opn O 9, 5 Dec 50; Eighth Army Comd
50. Rpt, Dec 50, Briefing for CC, 6 Dec 50; Field, United
6Action Rpt, 7th Div, 21 Nov to 20 Dec 50, From States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 285-89.
Hyesanjin to Hungnam Outloading; X Corps Comd 8 Msg, CC 1st Marine Div to COs 5th and 7th
Rpt, Dec 50; X Corps Opn O 9, 5 Dec 50. Marines, 1920, 30 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0152

132 EBB AND FLOW

Smith sent withdrawal instructions to aircraft came on station. (Map II) The
Task Force Faith at 1100 on the 1st. By 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, now com-
that time Smith had dropped all plans manded by its former executive officer,
for sending a rescue force to Faith, Maj. Crosby I. Miller, led the way.
whose forces had taken strong assaults Then came the 57th Field Artillery
around their lakeshore perimeter dur- Battalion, the heavy mortar company
ing the night of the 30th. Although they of the 31st Infantry, and at the tail of
had defeated these attacks, it was doubt- the column the 3d Battalion, 31st
ful they could withstand more. Hence, Infantry. Battery D of the 15th Antiair-
Smith judged, waiting to dispatch rein- craft Artillery Automatic Weapons Bat-
forcements to Faith until the Yudam-ni talion interspersed its .50-caliber and
troops returned to Hagaru-ri would be 40-mm. guns among the other units.
too late. Nor could he use the 2d Bat- Faith kept his column short, taking only
talion, 31st Infantry, ordered forward twenty-two vehicles to carry his six
from Majon-dong by General Almond hundred wounded. Before moving,
the day before, since that battalion was his troops destroyed the remaining
only at Koto-ri and had had to fight to vehicles, excess supplies, and the 105-
get that far forward. The two previous mm. howitzers of the field artillery
failures of the 31st Infantrys rear battalion. 10
troops to reach Faith from Hudong-ni The leading battalion moved one ri-
even when accompanied by tanks fle company down the road, the other
proved them too weak for a rescue two in column over the high ground
mission. In fact, they had been recalled east of the road as flank security. Faiths
to Hagaru-ri on the 30th lest they be column received fire almost from the
destroyed by the Chinese below Faiths minute it started, and four pilots over-
position. Finally, Smiths previous judg- head made the rough start rougher
ment that none of the Hagaru-ri troops when they miscalculated their runs and
could be spared seemed even more dropped napalm on the leading troops.
sound by morning of the 1st after the Several men burned to death, and the
forces defending the base again had two front companies became disorga-
beaten back several night assaults at the nized while scattering to escape their
southwestern arc of the perimeter and own air support. 11
at East Hill. Smiths only course was to After some delay while Colonel Faith
arrange ample close air support and steadied his force, the column pushed
order Colonel Faith to fight his way past small groups of Chinese along the
south.9 road until midafternoon when the lead
troops came upon a destroyed bridge
Task Force Faith two miles below the point of departure.
After a crude bypass was constructed,
Colonel Faith started south at 1300
a half-track towed each truck across.
on the 1st, right after his supporting

9 7th Div Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50, Chosin 10 7th Div Comd Rpt. 27 Nov-12 Dec 50, Chosin
Reservoir; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reser- Reservoir; Gugeler, Combat Actions in Korea, pp. 77-78.
voir Campaign, pp. 240-43; Gugeler, Combat Actions in See also, MS, Lt. Col. C. P. Miller, Chosin Reservoir,
Korea, pp. 75-76; Field, United States Naval Operations, November-December 1950.
Korea. p. 277. 11Gugler, Combat Actions in Korea, p78.
KWP-EBB-0153

1Y
KWP-EBB-0154

134 EBB AND FLOW

AREA ALONG EAST SIDE OF THE CHANGJIN RESERVOIR occupied by Task Force
Faith (viewed from the southeast).

Small arms fire ranged in during the saddle and descended to the southwest.
crossing, but by late afternoon the last As Faith moved east over the half-mile
vehicle was south of the stream. A few stretch leading to the saddle, small arms
of Faiths men meanwhile left the and machine gun fire from the sharp
column, walked westward to the reser- turn and the high ground on either side
voir, and started south over the ice to- struck the column head on and broad-
ward Hagaru-ri. The napalm episode, side, damaging some of the trucks and
the near-constant enemy fire, and the halting all of them. Moving along the
delay at the bridge had begun to test stalled column, Faith got an attack
Faiths ability to retain control of his started, first to clear the 1221 mass di-
column. 12 rectly above him from where heavy fire
Just below the bridge, the road south was raking his column, then to elimi-
climbed into the lower northern slopes nate the remainder of the Chinese
of Hill 1221 for a quarter mile, turned blocking force by an enveloping move
east for half a mile for a more gentle via Hill 1221 and an assault from the
ascent, then made a hairpin turn at a rear. 13

13 7th Div Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50, Chosin


12 Ibid., pp. 80-82. Reservoir; Gugeler, Combat Actionsin Korea, pp. 8l-82.
KWP-EBB-0155

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 135

Faith pushed a conglomeration up voir or down the road to find their own
Hill 1221. The first seventy-five to a ways south.16
hundred men cleared the peak, a half Almost all of the trucks had flat tires,
mile west of the hairpin turn in the and several were beyond repair. Jones
road. Because they believed some of men eventually got about fifteen to run,
the Chinese holding the high ground not enough to carry all of the casualties.
farther east had come in behind them, Jones made the difficult decision to
these troops then moved west to the leave guards with the wounded for
reservoir and south on the ice toward whom there was no room on the trucks
Hagaru-ri. 14 and to continue south in the hope that
Behind the initial assault, Faith the marines at Hagaru-ri, once in-
climbed 1221 with a hundred men; be- formed of the abandoned men, could
hind him Maj. Robert E. Jones, the S-2 somehow retrieve them. 17
of the 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, Not much beyond a half mile south
started up with two hundred more. Just of the hairpin turn, two burned-out
before dark Major Jones joined Faith, tanks lost earlier by the 31st Infantry
who by then had moved down the troops based at Hudong-ni partially
southeastern slopes of 1221 to a point blocked the road and slowed Jones
on the road perhaps a quarter mile column as the trucks squeezed by.
south of the hairpin turn. Here Faith Otherwise, the column, except for over-
put troops on both sides of the road taking several knots of men who had
and attacked north. Faith himself fell started south on their own, moved with-
seriously wounded by grenade frag- out incident until 2100 when it reached
ments before his assault force reached the northern end of Hudong-ni, half-
the road turn, but his troops fought way to Hagaru-ri. Here, fire from Chi-
through the Chinese position and nese inside the village applied the
opened the road so that the trucks again final disintegrant to the withdrawing
could move south.15 column. Major Jones and about half the
Jones took charge of what was left of able-bodied and walking wounded left
the column. The dispersion of troops the road and moved west to follow a
during the effort to open the road, plus narrow-gage rail line near the reser-
casualties that included leaders from voir shore. These men followed the
platoon to task force level, had now tracks for perhaps a mile before ma-
nearly completed the disintegration be- chine gun fire forced most of them onto
gun when the first troops trickled off the reservoir ice. Back on the road, an
toward the reservoir. Besides the seri- artillery officer led seventy men into
ously wounded, Jones had no more Hudong-ni but was pushed out. For
than two hundred men to take south. about an hour the troops still with the
The others, in small groups and indi- trucks stood fast, then elected to run
vidually, had wandered off to the reser- the vehicles through the village. Chi-
nese fire killed the drivers of the first
three trucks and raked the remaining
14 Ibid.; Action Rpt, 7th Div, 21 Nov to 20 Dec 50,
From Hyesanjin to Hungnam Outloading; Mono, 16 7th Div Comd Rpt, 27 Nov-12 Dec 50, Chosin
Martin Blumenson, Chosin Reservoir, copy in CMH. Reservoir; Gugeler, Combat Actions in Korea, p. 82.
15 Ibid. 17 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0156

136 EBB AND FLOW

MARINES BEGIN WITHDRAWAL FROM YUDAM-NI

troops and vehicles. Everyone who of the wounded and released them. Af-
could, scattered. Most of the men ter the first survivors reached Hagaru-
headed for the reservoir. By midnight ri, motorized Marine parties searched
only the dead and seriously wounded the reservoir and brought back others.
remained at Hudong-ni. Among them A company-size task force of Army
was Colonel Faith, who sat dead of his troops and tanks also attempted to
wounds in the cab of a 21/2-ton truck. move up the road toward Hudong-ni
Survivors straggled into Hagaru-ri but turned back after meeting strong
for the next three days, almost all of resistance. A few more than 1,000 of
them coming off the frozen reservoir. about 2,500 troops who originally com-
The Chinese seemed to consider those posed Task Force Faith eventually got
who reached the ice as out of the game back to Hagaru-ri. Just 385 of the survi-
and molested them little. At Hudong-ni vors were able-bodied. They received
the Chinese administered aid to some new equipment from 1st Marine Divi-
sion stocks and with the other Army
troops in Hagaru-ri became a provi-
18 Ibid. Colonel Faith was posthumously awarded sional battalion attached to the 7th Ma-
the Medal of Honor. rine Regiment after the 5th and 7th
KWP-EBB-0157

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 137

Marines completed their withdrawal climbs and descents exhausted the men,
from Yudam-ni. 19 and a minus 16 Fahrenheit tempera-
ture numbed them, especially when
Withdrawal From Yudam-ni they stopped to rest. But after pushing
Chinese forces off two mountaintops,
When Colonels Litzenberg and Mur-
the cross-country force reached Fox
ray received General Smiths order to
Hill about 1130 on 2 December and a
withdraw from Yudam-ni, they already
short time later secured the heights
were regrouping their regiments un-
overlooking Toktong Pass.
der Smiths previous order for one regi-
The marines on the road needed a
ment to clear the supply road and
day longer to fight their way to the pass,
rescue the marines on Fox Hill. By
reaching it about 1300 on the 3d. After
midmorning of 1 December all of Lit-
a brief rest, and again in single column,
zenbergs and Murrays forces were
they continued over the road toward
concentrated astride the road about two
Hagaru-ri. Largely because of excellent
miles below town.20 (See Map 11.)
air support, no serious opposition de-
The two colonels planned to move
veloped on the last leg of the with-
down the road toward Hagaru-ri as a
drawal, although eight 155-mm. howit-
single column during the day of the
zers and the prime movers had to be
1st, leaving a rear guard to barricade
abandoned when the latter ran out of
the front entrance to their position
fuel. Marine aircraft later destroyed
while the main body unlocked the rear
them. At 1630 on the 3d, British com-
door. The key was judged to be
mandos accompanied by tanks came
Toktong Pass. The two commanders in-
out of Hagaru-ri to clear a short stretch
tended to send one battalion cross-
of the withdrawal route, and about two
country east of the road after dusk to
and a half hours later the leading ma-
relieve the Fox Hill troops and secure
rines marched in cadence into the
the pass before the main column
Hagaru-ri perimeter. The rear guard
arrived.
entered at 1400 the next day. Between
The leading marines started south at
the two regiments were some fifteen
0900 and by 1930 were four miles be-
hundred casualties.
low Yudam-ni, having wedged aside
Chinese forces holding heights flank-
ing the road. An hour and a half later
the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, started Withdrawal From the Reservoir
through the mountains toward Fox Hill
and Toktong Pass. Darkness and snow The Hagaru-ri perimeter had been
cover made maintaining direction quiet for four days by the time the last
through the rugged terrain difficult; troops from Yudam-ni arrived. After
failing to take the base during the night
of 30 November, the 58th Division had
made no more attempts to force its way
19 Blumenson, Chosin Reservoir; Gugeler, Combat in. About fifteen hundred dead Chi-
Operations in Korea, p. 85; Montross and Canzona, The nese counted so far by the marines
Chosin Reservoir Campaign, pp. 244-45, 288.
20 This subsection is based on Montross and along with information from prisoners,
Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, pp. 249-75. indicated that the enemy division
KWP-EBB-0158

138 EBB AND FLOW

C-47 AIRCRAFT BEGAN EVACUATING CASUALTIES from the Hugaru-ri airstrip on


1 December.

needed reinforcement and new figure, General Smith on the 1st au-
supplies .21 thorized a trial landing by larger air-
During those four days and on the craft on the airstrip southwest of town
5th, the evacuation of casualties was a even though it was only 40 percent
major activity at Hagaru-ri. As of the complete, the runway measuring 50 by
1st some six hundred casualties already 2,900 feet. A C-47 landed successfully
taxed the base medical facilities, a total that afternoon, and by dark on the 5th
that would enlarge considerably upon some forty-three hundred casualties
the arrival of the Yudam-ni force and had been airlifted south.22
the survivors of Task Force Faith. Evac- General Almond on 2 December
uation so far had been by helicopter had ordered General Smith to leave
and light plane with the highest daily Hagaru-ri as soon as the evacuation of
total reaching no more than sixty casualties permitted. Since few casual-
casualties. With a view to increasing this ties remained after the airlifts of the

21 Ibid., pp. 242, 278. 22 Ibid., pp. 245-46, 278-79.


KWP-EBB-0159

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 139

5th and his forces from Yudam-ni had the withdrawal as far as Koto-ri and
had a day of rest, Smith ordered the set the scheme for moving all the way
withdrawal to begin the following to Hamhung. In the overall plan, the
morning.23 forces at Hagaru-ri were to pass south
General Tunner, commander of the through those at Koto-ri and continue
Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo withdrawing with the Koto-ri contin-
Command, flew into Hagaru-ri on the gent bringing up the rear. On the first
5th with an offer to lift Smiths troops leg the 7th Marines, with the battalion
out-at the expense of Marine equip- formed from Task Force Faith survi-
ment. But although Tunner believed vors and the other Army troops at
he could fly ten thousand Marine and Hagaru-ri attached, would lead the
Army troops out of Hagaru-ri, and al- way to Koto-ri. The 5th Marines, the
though a withdrawal by air might have 3d Battalion of the 1st Marines, and the
minimized troop losses, Smith refused British commandos would be the rear
the offer in favor of moving overland guard and would man the Hagaru-ri
so that he could take out the bulk of his perimeter until Colonel Litzenbergs
equipment, including about a thousand forces were clear. Smith divided the re-
vehicles. General Almond had been maining division troops and vehicles
briefed by Smith on 2 and 4 December, into two trains, attaching one to each of
and, although he earlier had author- the Marine regiments for the with-
ized Smith to destroy equipment, he drawal.26
apparently was satisfied with Smiths To insure constant artillery support,
intention. 24 the Marine batteries at Hagaru-ri were
To assist the overland withdrawal, to leapfrog south, about half the guns
Smith since the 1st had flown in over always in firing position. Marine artil-
five hundred replacements on the lery at Koto-ri was to provide additional
planes coming for casualties and had support. Overhead, a daytime umbrella
brought in supplies at least sufficient of twenty-four planes was to cover the
to move as far at Koto-ri, where resup- entire length of the withdrawing col-
ply would be available. When room on umn while other aircraft searched the
the planes permitted, he sent out valu- ridges east and west of the road. Night
able but unneeded equipment; before hecklers were to come on station to in-
leaving Hagaru-ri, he ordered the de- sure round-the-clock support.27
struction of all items that had to be left Once his Hagaru-ri forces were well
behind.25 started, General Smith intended to take
Smiths 5 December order detailed his staff by air to Koto-ri, where he
would complete the detailed planning
for the remainder of the withdrawal.
23 Ibid., p. 399; X Corps OI 22, 2 Dec 50; 1st Ma-
He already had taken steps to meet two
rine Div Opn O 25-50, 5 Dec 50. problems connected with the next
24 X Corps Special Report on Chosin Reservoir, 27 phase. By the 6th his intelligence indi-
Nov-10 Dec 50; Field, United States Naval Operations,
Korea, p. 280; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Res-
ervoir Campaign, pp. 281, 307.
25 Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Cam- 26 Ibid., pp. 283-88, 300.
paign, pp. 280-82, 285. 27 Ibid., pp. 286-87.
KWP-EBB-0160

140 EBB AND FLOW

cated that at least two 26th Army divi- the 6th.29 Soule also ordered the 2d
sions, the 76th and 77th, had moved Battalion, 65th Infantry, and the 999th
south into the mountains east of the Armored Field Artillery Battalion for-
Changjin Reservoir road between ward to cover Task Force Dogs advance
Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri. They appar- and to protect the reservoir road from
ently had relieved the 20th Armys 60th positions in and north of Majon-dong.30
Division near Koto-ri, and the 60th in Smiths second problem was a six-
turn had moved farther south to block teen-foot chasm in the road three and
the reservoir road in and around a half miles south of Koto-ri. Here,
Funchilin Pass. On the other side of where the road had been cut into the
the withdrawal route, the bulk and per- side of a steep slope at the northern
haps all of the 20th Armys 89th Division end of Funchilin Pass, water from the
now appeared to be southwest of Koto- Changjin Reservoir poured in warmer
ri. Forces of the 89th had followed the weather from a pipeline north of the
withdrawal of 3d Division troops from road into four penstocks that carried
Sachang-ni when the latter were pulled the torrent down the mountainside to
back to Hamhung, and the Chinese a power plant. A gatehouse covered the
were reported to be moving east on upper ends of the penstocks, and where
Chinhung-ni and Majon-dong.28 the roadway crossed the penstocks im-
Because Smith believed the Chinese mediately below the gatehouse now lay
might offer their strongest resistance only the rubble of the original concrete
along the winding road between Koto- bridge, the remains of a wooden cross-
ri and Chinhung-ni, he wanted to move ing, and the broken sections of an M-2
the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, north steel treadway bridge. Since the begin-
from Chinhung-ni to clear those ten ning of their offensive the Chinese had
twisting miles ahead of the withdrawal successively destroyed all three, knock-
from the north. To do this and at the ing down the treadway spans on either
same time protect Chinhung-ni, Smith 4 or 5 December.31
on the 5th asked General Almond to
furnish a relief force for the Chinhung-
ni garrison. Almond turned to the 3d
Division for the needed troops, direct-
29 Task Force Dog included the 3d Battalion, 7th
ing General Soule to shape a motor- Infantry; 92d Armored Field Artillery Battalion (self-
ized force around a battalion of in- propelled); Company A, 73d Engineer Combat Bat-
talion; a platoon of Company A, 10th Engineer Com-
fantry, a battalion of artillery, and a
bat Battalion; 3d Platoon, 3d Reconnaissance
complement of engineers. Commanded Company; 52d Transportation Truck Battalion; a de-
by assistant division commander tachment from division headquarters; a detachment
General Mead and designated Task from the 3d Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weap-
ons Battalion (self-propelled); a bomb disposal detach-
Force Dog, this group was to assemble ment; a tactical air control party; and a detachment
in Majon-dong prepared to move for- from the 3d Signal Company.
ward on six hours notice after 0600 on 30 X Corps Special Rpt on the Chosin Reservoir, 27
Nov to 10 Dec 50; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin
Reservoir Campaign, pp. 308-09; X Corps OI 26, 5 Dec
50; 3d Div Comd Rpt, Dec 50; Dolcater, The 3d Divi-
28TLCN 668, FEC-X Corps, 3 Dec 50; Montross sion in Korea, p. 92.
and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, pp. 31 Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Cam-
285-313. paign, pp. 309-11.
KWP-EBB-0161

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 141

Because the gatehouse and the sheer hundred killed before they subsided
slope prevented the construction of a near dawn on the 7th.33
bypass on either side of the gap, new From the moment they started south
bridging had to be installed before the 7th Marines met resistance, particu-
Smiths trucks, tanks, and guns could larly just below Hagaru-ri and in Hell
proceed below Koto-ri. Smiths engi- Fire Valley. (See Map 12.) But the air
neer officer, Lt. Col. John H. Partridge, umbrella, artillery and tank fire, and
surveyed the site from the air on 6 coordinated assaults by the foot troops
December, then made an unusual re- against Chinese strongpoints-permitted
quest of corps for an airdrop of eight steady if slow progress. Behind the lead
2,500-lb. treadway bridge sections at battalion, which reached Koto-ri about
Koto-ri, where Army engineers had the time the East Hill battle closed, the
two Brockway trucks designed to put remainder of Colonel Litzenbergs
them in place. After an unsuccessful force completed its withdrawal before
trial drop at Yonpo airfield in which 1700 on the 7th.
several small parachutes were attached By midmorning of the 7th, all of the
to the test span, a special crew of Army rear guard except a detachment of
parachute riggers flown in from Japan engineers, a tank platoon, and the 2d
attached two larger chutes to each sec- Battalion of the 5th Marines had left
tion, and on 7 December eight of Gen- Hagaru-ri. These last troops set fire to
eral Tunners C-119s delivered the the Marine ration dump, which on the
bridging to Koto-ri. One span fell in day before had been smashed and satu-
Chinese territory, and another was rated with fuel oil, and touched off ex-
damaged; but only four of the remain- plosives to destroy all other abandoned
der would actually be needed to bridge supplies. As the last of the rear guard
the gap. Plywood center sections also withdrew just past noon, small groups
were dropped so that the bridge could of Chinese entered Hagaru-ri and be-
carry all types of vehicles.32 gan picking over the debris.
Hundreds of refugees who had col-
lected in and around Hagaru-ri fol-
From the Reservoir to Koto-ri lowed the rear guard, risking their lives
to cross bridges before Marine engi-
Since some of the Chinese positions
on East Hill dominated the Marine neers destroyed them. Aside from this
withdrawal route, General Smiths rear interference with demolitions, the rear
guard attacked the height on the morn- guard withdrew easily. Chinese opposi-
ing of 6 December as the 7th Marines tion amounted only to small arms fire
moved out of Hagaru-ri. The assault as far as Hell Fire Valley and a few
cleared the hill but also prompted hard mortar rounds in the valley itself. Once
counterattacks from ground farther below this point, Colonel Murrays
east that cost the Chinese over twelve forces met almost no resistance and en-
tered Koto-ri before midnight. As the
first stage of the withdrawal closed

32 X Corps Special Rpt on the Chosin Reservoir, 27


Nov to 10 Dec 50; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin 33 This subsection is based on Montross and Can-
Reservoir Campaign, p. 311. zona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, pp. 286-303.
KWP-EBB-0162

142 EBB AND FLOW

SITE OF THE DESTROYED BRIDGE SOUTH OF KOT'O-RI

about thirty-eight hours after it began, before Pullers force left Koto-ri to
Marine battle casualties totaled 103 b ring up the rear during the last phase
dead, 493 wounded, and 7 missing. of the withdrawal.34
General Smith and his staff had
From Koto-ri to the Coast flown to Koto-ri during the afternoon
of the 6th to complete plans for with-
To permit the rapid evacuation of
drawing the remaining distance to the
casualties incurred during the move
coast. Late that night he asked General
from Hagaru-ri, Colonel Puller, the
commander of the Koto-ri garrison, on Almond to move Task Force Dog to
Chinhung-ni by the following after-
6 December had set his engineers to
noon. Smith now intended that the 1st
lengthening the Koto-ri airstrip to ac-
Battalion, 1st Marines, would move
commodate C-47s. The strip was long
northward through Funchilin Pass at
enough by morning of the 8th, al-
0800 on the 8th, the same time that the
though a heavy snowstorm on that date
canceled all but one flight. On the fol-
lowing two days the larger aircraft, ob-
servation planes, and helicopters took 34 Ibid., pp. 3O6-35, 356, 382; 3d Div Comd Rpt,
out all of the casualties, the last shortly Dec 50; X Corps OI 26, 5 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0163

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 143

THE CHASM LATER BRIDGED WITH AIRDROPPEDTREADWAY SPANS

leading force started south from Koto- hold Koto-ri until all other troops had
ri. The southern force was to clear the left, then bring up the rear as far as
road and a ridge commanding the pass Hill 1081. From that point the 1st Bat-
on the east as far as and including Hill talion, 1st Marines, was to take rear-
1081, three miles north. From Koto-ri, guard duty until it passed through Task
the 7th Marines and a battalion of the Force Dog at Chinhung-ni.
5th were to move over the road and To assist the withdrawal behind Task
the bordering heights as far as and in- Force Dog, Smith asked corps to assem-
cluding the penstocks that had to be ble freight cars at Majon-dong to take
bridged a short distance above Hill some of his forces to Hamhung over
1081. Once the withdrawal route was the narrow-gage rail line. He also
clear and the penstocks were spanned, asked for as many trucks as could be
the divisions trains and then the trains furnished. When Smiths units passed
and troops of the 7th and 5th Marines through Task Force Dog, the trucks
were to continue south in that order. were to come forward from Majon-
Colonel Pullers 1st Marine Regiment dong as far as Chinhung-ni to carry
(less the 1st Battalion), the 2d Battalion the troops either to the Majon-dong
of the 31st Infantry, and the forty tanks railhead or all the way to Hamhung.
of the several armored units were to After receiving General Almonds or-
KWP-EBB-0164

MAP 12
KWP-EBB-0165

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 145

der to dispatch Task Force Dog, Gen- trol from the 7th Marines reached 1081
eral Soule first moved the 999th Ar- to make first contact with the southern
mored Field Artillery Battalion to force.
Majon-dong on the morning of the 7th. Behind this scene Colonel Partridge,
Under the fire support of this battalion, the Marine engineer, accompanied by
Soule next sent the 2d Battalion, 65th both Army and Marine troops, the
Infantry, forward to secure high Brockway trucks, an the treadway sec-
ground west of the road between tions, reached the bridge site right
Majon-dong and the village of Sudong after the penstock area was cleared.
to protect Task Force Dogs movement. Three hours later the bridge was in
Task Force Dog left Majon-dong an place, and near 1800 the Marine divi-
hour before noon and without encoun- sion trains began to cross.
tering opposition reached Chinhung-ni Only a few vehicles had used the
about three hours later. The 2d Bat- bridge before a tractor broke through
talion, 65th Infantry, except Company and destroyed the plywood center
G, then moved back to protect Majon- panels. Colonel Partridges adjustment
dong. of the spacing of the steel treadway sec-
Task Force Dogs prompt arrival per- tions to accommodate the treads of all
mitted General Smith to start the sec- vehicles prevented further difficulty at
ond phase of withdrawal on time and the crossing. Led by the 1st Battalion
as conceived. But the snowstorm on the of the 7th Marines, the trains, the re-
8th kept his close air support on the mainder of the 7th Regiment, the bulk
ground and, in combination with mod- of the Marine artillery, and the 5th
erate to strong Chinese resistance, Marines, with refugees interspersed,
slowed the forces approaching each passed over the span during the night
other. The 7th Marines, with the Army of the 9th and the following day. Re-
provisional battalion still attached, and ceiving only a few scattered shots en
the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, cleared route, the leading battalion reached
the road and bordering high ground Chinhung-ni at 0245 on the 10th, the
south within a mile of the penstock 5th Marines about the same time on
bridge site by nightfall; at the same the 11th.
time, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, sup- The last troops left Koto-ri at midaf-
ported by Task Force Dogs artillery ternoon on the 10th. Behind them
and accompanied by General Meads came the bulk of the refugees. Task
engineers and self-propelled antiair- Force Dogs artillery fired on the town
craft guns, moved north into Funchilin after it was vacated, and no serious op-
Pass within a half mile of Hill 1081. position developed as the last units
The sky cleared before morning of started toward the penstock bridge. But
the 9th. With good support from the progress was slow. By 0100 on the 11th
air again available, the 7th Marines tanks and a platoon of the Marine
pushed to the bridge site about. a half divisions reconnaissance company at
hour past noon. The marines from the the tail end of the column were still
south meanwhile fought a stiff battle more than a mile above the treadway
for Hill 1081, capturing the height span. Frozen brakes halted the ninth
around 1500. Shortly afterward a pa- tank from the rear at that point, and as
KWP-EBB-0166

146 EBB AND FLOW

TASK FORCE DOG ARTILLERY IN CHINHUNG-NI FIRING POSITION

tankers worked to free the vehicle, Chi- reconnaissance troops reached their
nese troops among the refugees and in position. The rearmost troops never-
the nearby high ground opened fire. theless reached Chinhung-ni safely dur-
The last seven tanks, the crews of the ing the morning of the 11th.
last two, and three men from the recon- By the time these rear forces passed
naissance platoon were lost in the me- behind Task Force Dog, the deepest
lee that followed. Chinese effort to obstruct the with-
After the remaining tanks and recon- drawal already had been encountered
naissance troops passed over the pen- at Sudong. Between late afternoon on
stocks, Marine engineers demolished the 10th and dawn on the 11th, Chi-
the treadway bridge. Denied the use of nese forces struck Company G, 65th
the crossing, the trailing refugees got Infantry, three times in the heights
past the gap by walking through the west of town, and during the second
gatehouse north of the road. The ma- attempt, launched about an hour past
rines on Hill 1081 were scheduled to midnight, opened fire from houses in-
bring up the rear after all Koto-ri side Sudong and swarmed onto the
forces passed by but mistakenly took to road as the regimental train of the 1st
the road before the last tanks and Marines started through town. Lt. Col.
KWP-EBB-0167

CONCENTRATION AT HUNGNAM 147

TABLE 3-X CORPS BATTLE CASUALTIES, 27 NOVEMBER-10 DECEMBER 1950

John U. D. Page, the X Corps artillery No further fighting took place while
officer, who had moved down from the men from Koto-ri completed their
Kot'o-ri with Colonel Pullers train, and withdrawal behind Task Force Dog.
Pfc. Marvin L. Wasson, a Marine driver, The last of them left Chinhung-ni near
made a two-man assault against some 1300 on the 11th and cleared Majon-
twenty Chinese during the battle, kill- dong by 1730. Freight cars and trucks
ing about sixteen. But Page himself was carried all but the tank column to
killed and Wasson was wounded.35 Lt. the Hamhung-Hungnam perimeter by
Col. Waldron C. Winston, commander 2100; the slower-moving armor closed
of Task Force Dogs 52d Transporta- a half hour before midnight. Task
tion Truck Battalion, then organized a Force Dog, bringing up the rear from
stronger counterattack using both Chinhung-ni, reached Majon-dong at
Marine and Army troops and finally 2000. Here the task force disbanded
cleared the road and bordering build- and its units along with the other 3d
ings by daybreak. Division forces involved in supporting
the withdrawal from the reservoir
moved back to help defend Hamhung
35Colonel Page was posthumously awarded the Navy and Hungnam.
Cross, and also the Medal of Honor in 1956 after
Congress passed a special bill to allow the award so
The Marine divisions battle casual-
many years past the event. ties during the move from Koto-ri to
KWP-EBB-0168

148 EBB AND FLOW

the coast numbered 75 dead, 256 high Chinese casualties, both battle and
wounded, and 16 missing.36 These non-battle, had rendered militarily
brought the divisions battle losses for non-effective a large part of the 9th
the entire 6-11 December period to 178 CCF Army Group.37
dead, 749 wounded, and 23 missing. On 10 December General Smith and
The marines also had suffered 1,534 members of his staff had flown out of
non-battle casualties, a very large per- Koto-ri to Hungnam. Until that date
centage of whom were frostbite cases. Smiths next assignment had been to
Marine losses thus totaled 2,484, or put his division in position on the
just over 20 percent of the 11,686 ma- southwestern end of the Hamhung-
rines involved in the withdrawal from Hungnam perimeter. But on arriving
Hagaru-ri. (Table 1) at the coast Smith learned that develop-
Between 27 November and 11 De- ments and decisions in the Eighth Army
cember the Marine and Army troops sector, in Tokyo, and in Washington
in the reservoir area had met all three over the first eight days of December
armies, the 20th, 26th and 27th, of the had changed the plans not only for the
IX Army Group and had engaged eight 1st Marine Division but for the entire
of the twelve divisions constituting these X Corps; on the 11th he received a new
armies. They had exacted an especially corps order that proved Admiral Joys
large toll on the 20th and 27th. From late November deployment of Task
evidence gained later through captured Force 90 to have been a well-conceived
documents and prisoner interrogations, and timely precaution.

36 No breakdown is available for losses sustained 37 Marine Corps Board Study, II-C-125, quoted in
among the 2,353 Army troops, 125 Royal Marine Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reservoir Campaign,
Commandos, or 40 ROK police. p. 356.
KWP-EBB-0169

CHAPTER VIII

Redeployment South
The Eighth Army Leaves North Korea other reserves were the 187th Airborne
Regimental Combat Team and its at-
The Chinese did not pursue the tached Filipino and Thai battalions then
Eighth Armys twenty-mile withdrawal guarding forward army supply installa-
from the Chongchon to the Sukchon- tions; the Netherlands battalion, which
Sunchon-Songchon line. Only light en- had just completed its processing at the
emy patrolling occurred along the new U.N. Reception Center; and an infan-
line on 1 December, mostly at its east- try battalion from France, which had
ern end where there had been no deep just debarked at Pusan.2
withdrawal the day before. General By Walkers comparison of forces, the
Walker nevertheless believed that the injured Eighth Army could not now set
Chinese would soon close the gap, re- a successful, static defense. Considering
sume their frontal assaults, and again delaying action to be the only course
send forces against his east flank.1 open, a course in which he should not
Walker now estimated the Chinese risk becoming heavily engaged and in
opposing him to number at least six which he should anticipate moving out
armies with eighteen divisions and of Korea, Walker began to select delay-
165,000 men. Of his own forward units, ing lines behind him. He intended
only the 1st Cavalry; 24th, 25th, and to move south from one to the next
ROK 1st Divisions; and the two British well before his forces could be fixed,
brigades were intact. The ROK 6th Di- flanked, or enveloped.3
vision could be employed as a division Though the XIII Army Group re-
but its regiments were tattered; about mained out of contact on 2 December,
half the ROK 7th and 8th Divisions Walker received agent and aerial ob-
had reassembled but were far less able server reports that Chinese were mov-
than their strengths indicated; and both ing into the region east of Songchon
the 2d Division and Turkish brigade and that either they or North Korean
needed substantial refurbishing before guerrillas infesting that area had es-
they could again function as units. Of tablished blocking positions below
his reserves, the four ROK divisions the Pyongyang-Wonsan road from
operating against guerrillas in central
and southern Korea were too untrained
to be trustworthy on the line. His only
2 Ibid.; Eighth Army PIR 142, 1 Dec 50; Sawyer,
KMAG in Peace and War, p. 146; Appleman, South to
the Naktong, pp. 618, 667.
1 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth 3 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth
Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50. Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0170

150 EBB AND FLOW

Songchon eastward twenty-five miles chon line on 2 December, Maj. Gen.


to Yangdok. They could be trying to Doyle O. Hickey, acting chief of staff
secure a portion of the lateral route in of the Far East Command and United
advance of a drive toward either or both Nations Command, arrived with word
coasts, and should the drive go west from General MacArthur that, in effect,
into Pyongyang, they could trap the allowed Walker to leave behind any
Eighth Army above the city. In view of equipment and other materiel that he
the latter possibility, Walker elected to chose as long as they were destroyed.6
withdraw before the thrust material- Walker, however, planned not to drop
ized. Pyongyang was to be abandoned.4 behind Pyongyang until the army and
Walkers use of relatively slight intel- air force supply points in the city
ligence information in deciding to with- had been emptied and the port of
draw below Pyongyang reflected the Chinnampo cleared. To provide time
general attitude of the Eighth Army. for the removal he ordered a half step
According to some accounts, Walkers to the rear, sending his forces south
forces had become afflicted with bug- toward a semicircular line still twenty
out fever, a term usually used to de- miles above Pyongyang. (Map 13)
scribe a tendency to withdraw without While service troops rushed to evacu-
fighting and even to disregard orders.5 ate supplies and equipment from the
Because it implied cowardice and dere- North Korean capital and port, line
liction of duty, the term was unwar- units reached the temporary line late
ranted. Yet the hard attacks and high on the 3d with no enemy interference
casualties of the past week and the ap- beyond being harassed by North Ko-
parent Chinese strength had shaken the rean guerrillas on the east flank.7
Eighth Armys confidence. This same Walker meanwhile pushed reserves
doubt had some influence on Walkers eastward onto Route 33, the next
decision to give up Pyongyang and Pyongyang-Seoul road inland from
would manifest itself again in other de- Route 1, to protect his east flank and to
cisions to withdraw. But the principal guarantee an additional withdrawal
reason for withdrawing had been, was, route below the North Korean capital.
and would continue to be the constant He deployed the 24th Division at
threat of envelopment from the east. Yul-li, twenty-five miles southeast of
Pyongyang, and the partially restored
Pyongyang Abandoned ROK II Corps at Singye in the Yesong
River valley another thirty miles to the
As Walker started his withdrawal
southeast. South and east of Singye,
from the Sukchon-Sunchon-Song-
units of the ROK 2d and 5th Divisions
previously had occupied Sibyon-ni and
Yonchon on Route 33, Pochon on
4 Ibid.; Eighth Army PIR 142, 1 Dec 50; Eighth
Army PIR 143, 2 Dec 50. Route 3, and Chunchon on Route 17
5 For example, British historian David Rees, in Korea;
The Limited War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1964),
on page 171 entitled a section covering the Eighth 6 General Almond officially remained the chief of
Armys withdrawal The Big Bug-Out and on page staff.
176 stated, At the Front throughout December the 7 Interv, Appleman with Hickey, 10 Oct 51; Eighth
moral collapse of the Eighth Army was complete, as Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Rad, GX 30141 KGOO, CG
bug-out fever raged everywhere. Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 2 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0171

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 151

EIGHTH ARMY TROOPS WITHDRAWING SOUTH from Sunchon toward Pyongyang.

in the Pukhan River valley during anti- as Hwachon, more than fifty miles east
guerrilla operations. Route 33 thus was of Munsan-ni, in case it became neces-
protected at important road junctions, sary to employ 2d Division troops in
and Walker at least had the semblance those areas guarded by South Korean
of an east flank screen all the way from units of doubtful ability. Walker at-
Pyongyang to Seoul.8 tached the Turkish brigade to the
Walker moved the damaged 2d Divi- 2d Division. Hurt less by casualties
sion from Chunghwa into army re- than by disorganization and equip-
serve at Munsan-ni on the Imjin River ment losses, the Turks had collected
twenty-two miles north of Seoul, where bit by bit at several locations, mostly at
General Keiser, with priority on re- Pyongyang. On 2 December, after Gen-
placements, was to rebuild his unit. But eral Yasici had recovered some thirty-
while Keisers immediate and main task five hundred of his original five thou-
was to revive the 2d Division, Walker sand men, Walker ordered the brigade
wanted him also to reconnoiter as far to Kaesong, fifteen miles north of
Munsan-ni, to complete refurbishing
8 Ibid.; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50. under General Keisers supervision as
KWP-EBB-0172

ryl\
4
KWP-EBB-0173

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 153

more of its members were located and eastward through Singye, then east-
returned.9 ward through Ichon in the Imjin River
Walker held the 187th Airborne valley. The latter withdrawal would set
Regimental Combat Team and its at- Walkers rightmost units athwart the
tachments in the Pyongyang area to Yesong valley in fair position to delay
protect his supply routes and installa- an enemy strike through it and would
tions. In preparation for the coming eliminate concern for the army left
withdrawal south of the city, the air- flank, which, after the initial withdrawal
borne troops also were to keep civilians below Pyongyang, would open on the
from moving over four ponton bridges large Hwanghae peninsula southwest
spanning the Taedong River, two in- of Kyomipo.11
side Pyongyang and another pair three In withdrawing south of Pyongyang,
miles east of the city, and to take what- the IX Corps, now with the 24th Divi-
ever other precautions were necessary sion attached, was to move on Route
to insure an uninterrupted flow of mili- 33, occupy the right sector of the new
tary traffic over the crossings.10 army front, and reinforce the weak
On 3 December, after receiving more ROK II Corps in protecting the army
reports of sizable enemy movements east flank in the Yesong valley. The I
and concentrations east and northeast Corps was to withdraw to the west sec-
of the Eighth Army position, Walker tor of the new line over Route 1 and,
anticipated not only a westward enemy while passing through Pyongyang, de-
push into Pyongyang but also a deeper stroy any abandoned materiel found
thrust southwest through the Yesong within the city.12
valley and across the army withdrawal General Milburns demolition assign-
routes in the vicinity of Singye. In- ment was likely to be sizable. Aside
duced to haste by this possibility, he from organizational and individual
ordered his line units to drop fifteen equipment lost by the line units, the
miles behind Pyongyang beginning on only notable materiel losses since the
the morning of the 4th, to a line curv- Chinese opened their offensive had
ing eastward from Kyomipo on the been fourteen hundred tons of ammu-
lower bank of the Taedong to a point nition stored at Sinanju and five hun-
short of Koksan in a subsidiary valley dred tons at Kunu-ri. But now Walkers
of the upper Yesong River. Walker forces were about to give up the locale
warned them to be ready to withdraw of the Eighth Armys main forward
another fifty miles on the west and stockpiles, and although the smaller
twenty miles on the east to a line run- stores at Chinnampo might be evacu-
ning from Haeju on the coast north- ated, it was less likely that the larger
quantities brought into Pyongyang
9 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth
over the past several weeks could be
Army G1 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, completely removed on such short
Dec 50; Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20
Nov-13 Dec 50; Rad, GX 30139 KGOO, CG Eighth
Army to CG 2d Div, 2 Dec 50; Rad, GX 30142 KGOO, 11 Eighth Army PIRs 143, 2 Dec 50, and 144, 3 Dec
CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 2 Dec 50. 50; Rad, CG 30162 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I
10 EighthArmy G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Rad, GX 30146 Corps et al., 3 Dec 50.
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 2 Dec 12 Rad,
GX 30162 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I
50. Corps et al., 3 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0174

154 EBB AND FLOW

ALL BRIDGES OVER THE TAEDONG RIVER AT P'YONGYANG WERE DESTROYED


after the Eighth Army withdrew south of the city.

notice. The improbability of clearing within twenty-four hours. Much of the


the Pyongyang stocks was increased by city was afire by 0730 on 5 December
the necessity to give priority on loco- when the rear guards destroyed the
motives to trains carrying casualties last bridges over the Taedong and set
and service units, by heavy demands off final demolitions in the section of
on trucks for troop movements as well Pyongyang below the river. Colonel
as for hauling materiel from supply Stebbins, Walkers G-4 who supervised
point to railroad yard, and by the the removal of materiel from Chin-
problems of loading and switching nampo and Pyongyang, would have
trains in congested yards that earlier preferred a slower move by seventy-
had been severely damaged by UNC air two or even forty-eight hours. Given
bombardment.13 that additional time, Stebbins believed,
With almost no enemy contact, Wal- the service troops could have removed
kers forces moved south of Pyongyang most of the eight to ten thousand tons
of supplies and equipment that now
13 Eighth Army G4 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army, lay abandoned and broken up or burn-
Logistical Problems and Their Solutions. ing inside Pyongyang. More time also
KWP-EBB-0175

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 155

could have prevented such oversights at Pyongyang, had had to be destroyed


as leaving at least fifteen operable M-46 for lack of time to remove them.15
tanks abroad flatcars in the railroad The men and materiel sea lifted from
yards in the southwestern part of the Chinnampo were landed either at
city. Fifth Air Force planes struck these Inchon (port personnel, rations, and
overlooked tanks on 6 December, but petroleum products) or Pusan (patients,
differing pilot claims left obscure the prisoners, and remaining supplies).
amount of damage done.14 Most of the stock evacuated from
Although Chinnampo was exposed Pyongyang was shipped to depots at
after early morning of the 5th, evacua- Kaesong and around Seoul. Some was
tion of the port continued until eve- kept forward aboard the railcars on
ning without harassment from enemy which it had been loaded to institute a
forces. Pressed only by time and the mobile system of meeting day-to-day re-
wide range of the Yellow Sea tides, the quirements of the line units. These
port troops from 2 through 5 Decem- daily needs, mostly rations and petro-
ber loaded LSTs, transports of the Jap- leum products, were to be issued from
anese merchant marine, a squadron of the cars at railheads whose locations
U.S. Navy troop and cargo transports, could be changed as rapidly as the line
and at least a hundred Korean sail- units withdrew. This system would re-
boats. Aboard these craft went casual- duce the likelihood of further materiel
ties, prisoners, and materiel sent from losses.16
Pyongyang; the supplies and equip- The trace of the new army position
ment on the ground around the port; vaguely resembled a question mark.
the port service units themselves; and I and IX Corps defenses between
some thirty thousand refugees (most of Kyomipo and Yul-li formed the upper
them on the sailboats). Four American arc, IX Corps positions on the east flank
destroyers took station off Chinnampo, from Yul-li southeastward to Singye
and aircraft from the British carrier shaped the shank, and clumps of army
Theseus appeared overhead on the 5th reserves below Singye supplied several
to protect the final outloading. That dots. The figure traced was appropri-
morning the port commander received ate since Walker now had been out of
word from Colonel Stebbins to get the meaningful contact with enemy forces
last ships under way on the favorable for five days, had no clear idea of the
tide at 1700. The last three ships location or movement of the main Chi-
pulled away from the docks near that nese body, and could only speculate on
hour. Demolition crews set off their what the XIII Army Group commander
last explosives, and shortly afterward could or intended to do next.17
the last men ashore drove an amphibi-
ous truck out to a waiting ship. Some 15 EighthArmy G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army
two thousand tons of supplies and a G4 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army, Logistical Prob-
lems and Their Solutions; Field, United States Naval
few items of port equipment, small Operations, Korea, pp. 272-74.
amounts by comparison with the losses 16 EighthArmy G4 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Mono, Eighth
Army, Activities of the 3d Transportation Military
Railway Service-The Withdrawal From Pyongyang,
14 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth copy in CMH.
Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army, Logistical 17 EighthArmy Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth
Problems and Their Solutions. Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0176

156 EBB AND FLOW

In an attempt to fill the intelligence But what now worried Walker most
gap deriving from the withdrawals and were the whereabouts and intentions
the Chinese slowness to follow, Walker of the Chinese he previously had sus-
on the 5th ordered General Milburn pected were maneuvering into attack
and General Coulter to send strong re- position just beyond his east flank. Be-
connaissance patrols, including tanks, cause his forces at no time since 30 No-
north as far as the Taedong River. But vember had captured or even sighted a
only the 1st Cavalry Division reported Chinese soldier during the sporadic en-
any noteworthy deep patrolling, on 6 counters along the army right, he was
December when two battalions sortied beginning to believe that all enemy
northeast up the Yesong valley and into troops immediately east of him were
Kokson, where they fought a minor North Korean. Chinese forces, then,
skirmish with North Korean troops, possibly were moving south, not into
and on 7 December when two compa- position for a close-in envelopment but
nies made another, but uneventful, visit around the Eighth Army some distance
to the town.18 to the east through the X Corps rear
Most of Walkers information contin- area. Since General Almonds forces
ued to come from agents and aerial were concentrating at Hamhung and
observers. The latter reported on the Hungnam far to the northeast, any such
6th that enemy troops were moving into march by the Chinese would be unop-
Chinnampo and south across the Tae- posed, and if the Chinese moved
dong estuary by ferry to the Hwanghae through the open area in strength, they
peninsula. Agents on the same day veri- possibly could occupy all of South Ko-
fied the presence of Chinese troops in rea with little or no difficulty. Walker
Pyongyang and reported that North anyway granted the Chinese this capa-
Korean regulars were joining North bility and against the possibility of such
Korean guerrillas to the east and right a sweep took steps on 6 December to
rear of the Eighth Army. To escape deploy troops across the entire penin-
the trouble these reports portended, sula. He planned no static defense. His
Walker instructed his forward units to concept of fighting a delaying action
withdraw on 8 December to the Haeju- without becoming heavily engaged re-
Singye-Ichon line and to extend that mained unchanged except that he now
line east to Kumhwa. The west flank would delay from preselected lines
would again be anchored on the sea, stretching coast to coast.20
and Walkers forces would be able to As a preliminary, Walker obtained
present a front instead of a flank to the General MacArthurs agreement to
North Korean units reported gathering erase the southern segment of the
on the east.19 Eighth Army-X Corps boundary so
that the Eighth Armys sector spanned
the peninsula below the 39th parallel,
18 Rad,
GX 29613 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I
Corps and CG IX Corps, 5 Dec 50; Rad, GX 29660
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps, 5 Dec 50; PIR 147, 6 Dec 50; Rad, GX 29685 KGOO, CG Eighth
Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 6 and 7 Dec 50. Army to CG I Corps et al., 6 Dec 50; Rad, GX 29706
19 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 6 Dec
Army G3 Jnl, 5 Dec 50; Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Dec 50.
50; Eighth Army G2 Brief, 6 Dec 50; Eighth Army 20 EighthArmy G3 Jnl, 5 and 6 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0177

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 157


more generally south of a line between Chiefs of Staff that the United Nations
Pyongyang and Wonsan. He also ar- Command was too weak to make a suc-
ranged air and naval surveillance of the cessful stand when he informed them
east coast south of the X Corps posi- on 28 November that he was passing to
tion to detect enemy coastal movements the defensive. The Joint Chiefs fully
while he was extending his line. He approved MacArthurs adoption of de-
chose coast-to-coast positions running fensive tactics but were not convinced
from the mouth of the Yesong River, that a successful static defense was
almost forty miles behind Haeju, north- impossible. They suggested that Mac-
eastward through Sibyon-ni, south- Arthur place the Eighth Army in a con-
eastward through Chorwon and tinuous line across Korea between
Hwachon, then eastward to Yangyang Pyongyang and Wonsan. MacArthur
on the Sea of Japan. This line, later objected, claiming such a line was too
designated line A, was roughly a hun- long for the forces available and that
dred fifty miles long and at its most the logistical problems posed by the
northerly point reached just twenty high, road-poor mountains then sepa-
miles above the 38th parallel. Walker rating the Eighth Army and X Corps
ordered five South Korean divisions- were too great. By concentrating the
the two of the ROK II Corps and three X Corps in the Hamhung area,
others then in central and southern Ko- MacArthur countered, he was creating
rea-to occupy the eastern half of the a geographic threat to enemy lines of
line and to start moving into position communication that made it tactically
immediately. The I and IX Corps, unsound for Chinese forces to move
scheduled eventually to man the west- south through the opening between
ern portion of line A, remained for the Walker and Almond. In any event, he
time being under orders to withdraw predicted, the Chinese already arrayed
only as far as the Haeju-Kumhwa line.21 against the Eighth Army would compel
it to take a series of steps to the rear.22
CINCUNC Order Number 5 The Joint Chiefs of Staff disagreed
that the X Corps concentration at
The apprehensions evident in
Hamhung would produce the effect
Walkers appraisals and plans were
MacArthur anticipated. In their judg-
apparent in Tokyo as well. General
ment, the Chinese already had demon-
MacArthur, although his main inten-
strated a proficiency for moving strong
tion may have been to coax reinforce-
forces through difficult mountains, and
ment, already had notified the Joint
the concentration of the X Corps on
the east coast combined with the pre-
21 Rads, GX 29621 KGOO and GX 29661 KGOO, dicted further withdrawals of the
CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 5 Dec 50; Briefing for
Eighth Army would only widen the
CG, in Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 6 Dec 50; Rad, CTF 95 to
CTG 95.7, 070206 Dec 50; Rad GX 29684 KGOO, opening through which the Chinese
CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA, 6 Dec 50; Rad, GX could move. They again urged MacAr-
29685 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al.,
6 Dec 50; Rad, GX 29706 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to
C/S ROKA et al., 6 Dec 50; Rad, GX 29733 KGOO, 22 Rad,C 69953, CINCFE to JCS, 28 Nov 50; Rad,
CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 7 Dec 50; ICS 97592, ICS to CINCFE, 29 Nov 50; Rad, C 50095,
Rad, GX 29794 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I CINCUNC to DA for JCS, 30 Nov 50; Rad, C 50105,
Corps et al., 8 Dec 50. CINCFE to DA, 30 Nov 50.
KWP-EBB-0178

158 EBB AND FLOW

thur to consolidate the Eighth Army the Eighth Army. General Collins, while
and X Corps sufficiently to prevent touring Korea between 4 and 6 Decem-
large enemy forces from passing ber, heard General Walker and Gen-
between the two commands or out- eral Almond on the best beachheads
flanking either of them. But MacArthur and on how best to handle their respec-
defended his view of a Pyongyang- tive commands. Almond believed that
Wonsan line, pointing out that he and he could hold Hungnam indefinitely
Walker already had agreed that Pyong- and wanted to stay there out of cer-
yang could not be held and that the tainty that by doing so he could divert
Eighth Army probably would be forced substantial Chinese strength from the
south at least as far as Seoul. Turning Eighth Army front. Walker, on the
his reasoning in support of a request other hand, believed the preservation
for ground reinforcements of the of the Eighth Army required a deep
greatest magnitude, he emphasized on withdrawal. Walker attempted to fore-
3 December that his present strength stall any order to defend Seoul, insisting
would allow him at most to prolong his that tying his forces to the ROK capital
resistance to the Chinese by making suc- would only allow the Chinese to encir-
cessive withdrawals or by taking up cle the Eighth Army and force a slow,
beachhead bastion positions and that costly evacuation through Inchon. He
a failure to receive reinforcements por- favored pulling back to Pusan, where
tended the eventual destruction of his once before he had broken an enemy
command.23 offensive and where now, if reinforced
The response to MacArthurs esti- by the X Corps, the Eighth Army might
mate was as gloomy as his predictions. hold out indefinitely.25
Prompted by earlier dismal reports to MacArthurs G-3, General Wright,
visit the Far East for a firsthand ap- meanwhile recommended Pusan as the
praisal, Army Chief of Staff General best beachhead for both the Eighth
Collins informed MacArthur on 4 Army and X Corps on grounds that
December that no reinforcement in should UNC forces be compelled to
strength, at least in the near future, was leave Korea, they should leave the dis-
possible. The remaining Joint Chiefs tinct impression of having delayed the
meanwhile replied from Washington enemy as long and as well as possible.
that preservation of the U.N. Com- Wright also pointed out that defend-
mand was now the guiding consider- ing successive Lines into the southeast-
ation and that they concurred in the ern tip of the peninsula would afford
consolidation of MacArthurs forces UNC air forces the greatest opportu-
into beachheads.24 nity to hurt the Chinese; further, if a
Beachhead sites that in varying de- withdrawal from Korea became neces-
grees could facilitate a withdrawal from sary during the remaining winter
Korea were Hungnam and Wonsan for months, MacArthurs command could
the X Corps, Inchon and Pusan for escape extreme weather conditions at
Pusan; finally, an evacuation at any time
23 Rad, JCS 97772, JCS to CINCFE, 1 Dec 50; Rad,
C 50332, CINCUNC to DA for JCS, 3 Dec 50. 25 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 283; Ltr, Lt Gen
24 Chief
of Staff, FEC, Memo for Gen Collins, 4 Dec Edward M. Almond (Ret) to Col C. H. Schilling, 21
50; Rad, JCS 97917, JCS to CINCFE, 4 Dec 50. May 1965, copy in CMH.
KWP-EBB-0179

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 159

could be effected faster through the Pu- accommodate supply movements.27


san facilities than through any other Earlier pessimistic reports to Washing-
port. To permit the longest delaying ton notwithstanding, MacArthur appar-
action possible and to enable an evacua- ently believed that the Eighth Army and
tion from the best port, Wright recom- the X Corps combined could man this
mended that the X Corps be sea lifted line; indeed, he expected Walker to
from Hungnam as soon as possible and make an ardent effort to hold it.
landed in southeastern Korea, that the Through correspondence and inter-
X Corps then join the Eighth Army and views, MacArthur meanwhile had re-
pass to Walkers command, and there- sponded publicly to charges appearing
after that the U.N. Command withdraw in a substantial segment of the press
through successive positions, if neces- that he was responsible for the reverse
sary to the Pusan area.26 his forces were suffering at the hands
On 7 December in Tokyo, Generals of the Chinese. In defense of his strat-
MacArthur, Collins, and Stratemeyer, egy and tactics, he insisted that his com-
Admirals Joy and Struble, and Lt. Gen. mand could not have fought more effi-
Lemuel C. Shepherd, the commander ciently given the restrictions placed
of all Marine forces in the Pacific, con- upon it by the policy of limiting hostili-
sidered the various views generated ties to Korea. This criticism of adminis-
during the week past and agreed on tration policy rankled President Tru-
plans that embodied in largest part the man, particularly because MacArthur
recommendations of General Wright. voiced it publicly and frequently
MacArthur set these plans in effect on enough to lead many people abroad
the 8th in CINCUNC (Commander in to believe that our government would
Chief, United Nations Command) Or- change its policy. 28 Truman issued in-
der Number 5. He listed nine lines to structions on 5 December by which he
be defended by the Eighth Army, the intended to insure that information
southernmost based on the Naktong made public by an executive branch of-
River in the general trace of the old ficial was accurate and fully in accord
Pusan Perimeter. But he insisted that with the policies of the United States
Walker not surrender Seoul until and Government.29 Specifically applicable
unless an enemy maneuver unquestion- to General MacArthur, Officials over-
ably was about to block the Eighth seas, including military commanders,
Armys further withdrawal to the were to clear all but routine statements
south. Related to this stipulation, four with their departments, and to refrain
lines lay above Seoul, the last of which, from direct communication on military
resting on the Imjin River in the west or foreign policy with newspapers, mag-
and extending eastward to the, coast,
was MacArthurs first delineation of po- United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 288;
27 Field,
sitions across the entire peninsula. Here Rad, CX 50635, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army et al., 7
the peninsula was somewhat narrower Dec 50; Rad, CX 50801 (CINCUNC Opn O No. 5),
CINCUNC to CG Eighth Army et al., 8 Dec 50. The
than in the Pyongyang-Wonsan re- JCS formally approved MacArthurs plan on 9 Dec 50
gion and offered a road net that could per Rad, JCS 98400, DEPTAR (JCS) to CINCFE, 9
Dec 50.
28 Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, p. 383.
26 Memo, FEC G3 for FEC C/S, 6 Dec 50. 29 MacArthur Hearings, p. 3536.
KWP-EBB-0180

160 EBB AND FLOW

azines or other publicity media in the mand change he had ordered three
United States.30 The Joint Chiefs of days before.
Staff forwarded the presidents instruc- When MacArthur reached Walkers
tions to MacArthur on 6 December. headquarters (having first stopped in
northeastern Korea to confer with Gen-
eral Almond), he was able to see not
Withdrawal to Line B
only the Eighth Army plan for with-
On 7 December General MacArthur drawing to line B but also Walkers
had radioed a warning to both Walker plans in case the Eighth Army again
and Almond of the next days order was squeezed into the southeastern cor-
for successive withdrawals, the defense ner of the peninsula. Reviving an un-
of Seoul short of becoming entrapped, used plan developed by the Eighth
and the assignment of the X Corps to Army staff in September, Walker rees-
the Eighth Army. So guided, Walker tablished not only the Naktong River
on the 8th laid out line B, which dupli- defenses but also three lines between
cated line A eastward from Hwachon the old perimeter and Pusan, each arch-
but in the opposite direction fell off to ing between the south coast and east
the southwest to trace the lower bank coast around the port. Nearer Pusan,
of the Imjin and Han rivers, some the Davidson line curved northeast-
twenty miles behind the Yesong River. ward sixty-eight miles from a south
This line was at least twenty miles coast anchor at Masan; next south-
shorter than line A, fairly coincided east, the Raider line stretched forty-
with the northernmost coast-to-coast eight miles from the south coast resort
line designated by MacArthur, and now town of Chinhae; and just outside the
became the line toward which Walker port, the Pusan line arched twenty-eight
began to move his forces for the de- miles from the mouth of the Naktong.
fense of Seoul.31 Walker instructed General Garvin to
On 11 December MacArthur made fortify these lines using Korean labor
his first visit to Korea since he had and all other means and manpower
watched the start of what was hoped available within Garvins 2d Logistical
would be the Eighth Armys final ad- Command.32
vance. He was now on the peninsula On the day following MacArthurs
for a firsthand view of the Eighth visit Walker established two more let-
Army and X Corps after their setbacks tered lines. Line C followed the lower
at the hands of the Chinese and for bank of the Han River just below Seoul,
personal conferences with Walker and curved northeast to Hongchon, thirty
Almond on the steps the two line com- miles below Hwachon, then reached al-
manders had taken or planned to take most due east to the coast at Wonpo-ri,
in carrying out the maneuvers and com- fifteen miles behind Yangyang. Line D,

30 Ibid. 32 Rad, GX 29857 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CG


31 Rad, CX 50635, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army et 2d Log Comd and C/S ROKA, 9 Dec 50; Ltr, CG
al., 7 Dec 50; Rad, CX 50801 (CINCUNC Opn O no. Eighth Army to CG 2d Log Comd, 11 Dec 50, sub:
5), CINCUNC to CG Eighth Army et al., 8 Dec 50; Construction of the Naktong River Defense Line and
Rad, GX 29794 KGOO, CC Eighth Army to CG I Completion of Construction of the Davidson and
Corps et al., 8 Dec 50. Raider Lines; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0181

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 161


next south, ran from a west coast an- from North Korean troops in the cen-
chor forty-five miles below Seoul north- tral region slowed the South Koreans;
east through the towns of Pyongtaek, and general confusion among the
Ansong, Changhowon-ni, and Wonju sketchily trained ROK units caused fur-
to Wonpo-ri, the same east coast an- ther delay. But by 23 December Gen-
chor as for line C. These lines were eral Walker managed to get the ROK
to be occupied if and when enemy III Corps up from southern Korea
pressure forced the Eighth Army to and, with three divisions, emplaced in
give up Seoul but before any deep a central sector adjoining the IX Corps
withdrawal as far as the Naktong was on the east. The South Korean front
required.33 lay below line B, almost exactly on the
Amid this contingency planning and 38th parallel, with its center located
through 22 December Walker gradually about eight miles north of Chunchon.
pulled his forward units south and In more rugged ground next east, the
pushed ROK forces north into posi- ROK II Corps occupied a narrow one-
tions generally along line B. The I and division front astride Route 24, which
IX Corps, withdrawing over Routes 1 passed southwestward through the
and 33, bounded in three-day intervals Hongchon River valley. The corps thus
through the Haeju-Kumhwa line and blocked what otherwise could provide
line A toward sectors along the western enemy forces easy access south through
third of line B. The withdrawal was un- central Korea over Route 29 and to lat-
contested except for minor encounters eral routes leading west to the Seoul
with North Korean troops on the IX area.35
Corps east flank, but thousands of ref- By 20 December the ROK I Corps
ugees moving with and trailing the two had been sea lifted in increments out
corps had to be turned off the main of northeastern Korea, landed at Pu-
roads lest they block the withdrawal san and near Samchok close to the east
routes. By 23 December both corps oc- coast anchor of line B, and transferred
cupied stable positions in their new to Eighth Army control. Walker imme-
sectors. The I Corps, with two divisions diately committed the additional corps
and a brigade, stood athwart Route 1 to defend the eastern end of the army
along the lower banks of the Han and line. By the 23d the ROK I Corps, with
the Imjin; the IX Corps, with two divi- two divisions, occupied scattered posi-
sions, blocked Routes 33 and 3 right at tions blocking several mountain tracks
the 38th paralle1.34 and the east coast road.36
Spreading ROK forces along the re- Regardless of his success in stretch-
mainder of the line proved more frus- ing forces across the peninsula, Walker
trating. Transportation requirements lacked confidence in the line he had
exceeded available trucks: resistance built. His defenses were shallow and
there were gaps. He mainly mistrusted

33 Rad, GX 35046 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I


Corps et al., 12 Dec 50.
34 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth 35 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Eighth
Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Rads, GX 29874 KGOO Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50.
and GX 35071 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I 36 Ibid.; Rad, AG IN BSF-1305, CTF 90 to CG
Corps et al., 9 Dec and 13 Dec 50, respectively. Eighth Army et al., 20 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0182

162 EBB AND FLOW

EIGHTH ARMY TROOPS DIG IN NORTH OF SEOUL

the ROK forces along the eastern two- quarters, less a small group to remain
thirds of the line. He doubted that they in Seoul, south to Taegu. He already
would hold longer than momentarily had directed the removal of major sup-
against a strong enemy attack, and, ply stores located in or above Seoul to
should they give way, his forces above safer positions below the Han River and
Seoul in the west would be forced to had ordered the reduction of stocks
follow suit. It was to meet this particular held in the Inchon port complex. On
contingency that he had established the 18th he assigned corps boundaries
lines C and D on 12 December. On the along line C and described the deploy-
15th he extended his effort by dis- ment of army reserve units to cover a
patching the 1st Cavalry Division out withdrawal to this first line below Seoul.
along the connected Routes 2-18-17 Two days later he ordered the still-weak
northeast of Seoul as added protection 2d Division, which by then had stepped
against any strike at the capital city from back from Munsan-ni to Yongdungpo,
the direction of Chunchon.37 a suburb of Seoul just below the Han,
The same day, he started army head- to move to the town of Chungju, some
sixty miles southeast of Seoul. From
there the division was to be ready to
37 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Rad, GX
35176 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps and move against any enemy force break-
CG 1st Cav Div, 15 Dec 50. ing through South Korean lines in cen-
KWP-EBB-0183

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 163

SEOUL. The capitol is at center.

tral or eastern Korea and was to pro- lapses of ROK forces twice before had
tect the flank of Walkers western placed the Eighth Army in jeopardy.
forces in any withdrawal prompted by Nor had the ROK Army shown any in-
such an enemy thrust. General Keiser creased stability even after strenuous
in the meantime had been evacuated efforts to improve it. If, as he suspected,
because of illness, and Maj. Gen. the ROK units now along the eastern
Robert B. McClure now commanded two-thirds of line B failed to stand
the 2d Division.38 against an attack, his positions north
To General MacArthur, the elabo- of Seoul could not be held and the
rate preparations for a withdrawal be- then-necessary withdrawal would have
low Seoul indicated that Walker had to be made over an obstacle, the Han
decided against a determined defense River. In Walkers mind these two
of the city. When MacArthur raised the dangers, of another sudden ROK Army
question, Walker assured him that he collapse and of making a river crossing
would hold Seoul as long as he could. in a withdrawal, made his extensive
But, Walker pointed out, sudden col- preparations a matter of reasonable
prudence.39
38 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Rad, GX
35255 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al.,
18 Dec 50; Rad, GX 35300 KGOO, CG Eighth Army 39 Rad,
CX 51694, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 20
to CG 2d Div, 20 Dec 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 20 Dec Dec 50; Rad, GX 35321 KCG, CG Eighth Army to
50. CINCFE, 21 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0184

164 EBB AND FLOW

Walker also was convinced that his IX Corps sectors in the west. General
adversaries were now capable of open- Partridge, who had shifted the empha-
ing an offensive at any time. He still sis of Fifth Air Force operations to
had no solid contact with enemy forces, armed reconnaissance and interdiction
but by pressing intelligence sources over about the time Walker had given up
the previous two weeks he had obtained Pyongyang, was able to verify that
sufficient evidence to predict an immi- Chinese forces had moved south in
nent attack and to forecast the strength, strength from the Ch'ongch'on battle-
paths, objective, and even possible date fields, but not how far.42 Until mid-
of the next blow.40 December his fighter pilots and light
Between 8 and 14 December Walker bomber crews discovered and attacked
caught a southeastward shift of the large troop columns moving openly in
North Korean II Corps, the bulk of daylight over main and secondary
which previously had been concentra- roads between the Chongchon and
ted in and operating as a guerrilla force Pyongyang. But then, to escape
out of the mountains between Koksan Partridges punishing attacks, the Chi-
and Inchon. Apparently having re- nese reverted to their strict practices
taken regular status, the corps paral- of concealment and camouflage and
leled the Eighth Armys southeastern halted virtually all daytime movement.43
withdrawals below Pyongyang. As Walker, consequently, had no clear
Walkers forces spread out along line evidence that the main body of the XIII
B, the North Korean unit followed suit, Army Group had moved any farther
occupying positions just above the 38th south than Pyongyang. But on the ba-
parallel in the central sector, principally sis of repeated reports from agents and
between Yonchon in the Wonsan-Seoul air observers that Chinese troops and
corridor and Hwachon, due north of supplies were moving southeastward
Chunchon. It also seemed that earlier from the North Korean capital, by the
reports of reconstituted North Korean 23d he considered it possible that three
units joining the II Corps were correct. or four Chinese armies with about a
Several renewed North Korean divi- hundred fifteen thousand troops were
sions apparently had assembled imme- bunched within a days march of the
diately behind the II Corps to make a Eighth Armys central front. This possi-
total strength of sixty-five thousand bility brought the estimate of enemy
plausible for the North Korean troops strength above Walkers central posi-
directly opposite the Eighth Armys tions to a hundred eighty thousand.
central sector as of 23 December.41 Furthermore, Walker judged, these
As late as 17 December Walker was troops could be reinforced by any units
still completely out of contact with Chi- of the XIII Army Group remaining in
nese forces and by the 23d had encoun- the Pyongyang area within four to
tered only a few, these in the I and eight days and by the Chinese and

40 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army 42 Bomber Command meanwhile halted its attacks
PIRs 149-156, 8-15 Dec 50; Rad, GX 35266 KGI, CG on the Yalu bridges and devoted its main effort to the
Eighth Army to CINCFE, 18 Dec 50; Eighth Army interdiction of rail lines.
PIRs 163, 22 Dec 50, and 164, 23 Dec 50. 43 Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, pp.
41 Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army 243-45. The FEAF estimate of enemy troops killed in
PIRs 148-164, 8-23 Dec 50. December was 39,694.
KWP-EBB-0185

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 165

North Korean units currently operat- to refurbish them for employment un-
ing in the X Corps sector within six to der the Eighth Army.46
ten days.44
To Walker, the apparent concentra-
The X Corps Evacuates Hungnam
tion and disposition of enemy forces
opposite his central front clearly sug- By the time General Almond re-
gested offensive preparations in which ceived General MacArthurs 8 Decem-
the North Korean II Corps was screen- ber order to evacuate the X Corps
ing the assembly of assault forces and through Hungnam, two sideshows to
supplies. Small North Korean attacks the coming main event were well
below Yonchon and from Hwachon under way. Out of the earlier decision
toward Chunchon seemed designed to to concentrate X Corps forces at
search out weaknesses in the Eighth Hungnam, the evacuation of Wonsan
Army line in those areas and indicated had begun on 3 December. In a weeks
the possibility of a converging attack time, without interference from enemy
on Seoul south along Route 33 and forces, the 3d Division task force and a
southwest over the road from Chun- Marine shore party group totaling some
chon. A likely date for opening such 3,800 troops loaded themselves, 1,100
an attack, because of a possible psycho- vehicles, 10,000 tons of other cargo,
logical advantage to the attackers, was and 7,000 refugees aboard transport
Christmas Day.45 ships and LSTs provided by Admiral
Walkers largest hope of holding Doyles Task Force 90. One LST sailed
Seoul for any length of time in these north on the 9th to Hungnam, where
circumstances rested on the arrival of its Marine shore party passengers were
the remainder of the X Corps from to take part in the forthcoming sea lift.
northeastern Korea. Once he had The remaining ships steamed for Pu-
General Almonds forces in hand, san on the 9th and 10th.47
Walker planned to insert them in the The Task Force 90 ships dispatched
Chunchon sector now held by the un- to Songjin on 5 December to pick up
tried ROK III Corps. This move would the tail-end troops of the ROK I Corps
place American units athwart the meanwhile had reached their destina-
Chunchon-Seoul axis, one of the more tion and by noon on 9 December had
likely enemy approaches in an attack to taken aboard the ROK 3d Division (less
seize the South Korean capital. the 26th Regiment, which withdrew
Whether the X Corps would be avail- to Hungnam as rear guard for the 7th
able soon enough depended first on Division); the division headquarters, di-
how closely Walker had estimated the
opening date of the threatening enemy
offensive and second on how long it 46 Rad, GX 35226 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CG X
would take General Almond to get his Corps, 17 Dec 50; Rad, GX 35321 KCG, CG Eighth
forces out of northeastern Korea and Army to CINCFE, 21 Dec 50; Eighth Army PIRs 160,
19 Dec 50, and 163, 22 Dec 50.
47 Rad, CX 50635, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army et
al., 7 Dec 50; Rad, CX 50801 (CINCUNC Opn O No.
44 Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Dec 50; Eighth Army 5), CINCUNC to CG Eighth Army et al., 8 Dec 50;
PIRs 148-164, 8-23 Dec 50. Cagle and Manson, The Sea War in Korea, pp. 183-84;
45 Ibid. Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 286-88.
KWP-EBB-0186

166 EBB AND FLOW

vision artillery, and 18th Regiment of Hungnam at the beginning of Decem-


the ROK Capital Division; and some ber, enemy forces as of the 11th had
forty-three hundred refugees. This sea not yet made any significant attempt to
lift originally had been designed to establish contact with the perimeter
assist the X Corps concentration at units. But Almond expected his beach-
Hungnam, but the intervening order head defenses would be tested by
to evacuate Hungnam changed the enemy units approaching Hungnam
destination for most of the South Ko- along the coast from the northeast,
reans to Pusan. On 10 and 11 Decem- from the Wonsan area to the south, and
ber the convoy from Songjin anchored especially from the direction of the
at Hungnam only long enough to un- Changjin Reservoir.50
load the Capital Divisions headquar- The likelihood that enemy forces
ters and artillery for employment in pushing to the coast to reoccupy
the perimeter and to take aboard an Wonsan would block the routes south
advance party of the ROK I Corps of Hungnam had prompted Almond
headquarters before proceeding to its to discard any thought of an overland
new destination.48 withdrawal to southern Korea. (Nor
On the 11th, as the South Koreans had MacArthur ordered such a move.)
from Songjin as well as the Marine and Almond also considered the roads inad-
Army troops from the Changjin Reser- equate to permit the timely movement
voir came into Hungnam, the perime- of large forces. His warning order, is-
ter around the port was comprised of a sued 9 December, alerted his forces for
series of battalion and regimental a withdrawal by water and air without
strongpoints astride the likely avenues delay from Hungnam area to Pusan-
of enemy approach some twelve to fif- Pohang-dong area.51 The larger exo-
teen miles outside the city. The 3d Divi- dus was to be by sea, with the Hungnam
sion still held the large sector assigned defenses contracting as corps forces
to it when General Almond first shaped were outloaded, but airlift was to be
the perimeter, from positions below employed for as long as the airfield at
Yonpo airfield southwest of Hungnam Yonpo remained within the shrinking
to defenses astride the Changjin Reser- perimeter.52
voir road at Oro-ri northwest of the
port. Battalions of the 7th Division Evacuation Planning
stood in breadth and depth athwart
In deciding how to evacuate his
the Pujon Reservoir road north of
forces and still successfully defend his
Hungnam, and three regiments of the
perimeter, Almond considered two
ROK I Corps guarded approaches near
alternatives. He could place all divisions
and at the coast northeast of the port.49
on the perimeter and then withdraw
Although Almond had begun to pull
portions of each simultaneously, or he
these units into defenses around
could pull out one division at a time

48 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps POR


74, 9 Dec 50; X Corps G3 Jnl, Entry J-31, 9 Dec 50; X 50X Corps PIRs 74-76, 9-11 Dec 50; X Corps Comd
Corps G3 Jnl, Entry J-28, 11 Dec 50; Field, United Rpt, Sum, Dec 50.
States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 286, 288-89. 51 X Corps OI 27, 9 Dec 50.
49 X Corps POR 75, 11 Dec 50. 52 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0187

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 167

and spread his remaining forces to issue docking and sailing instructions.
cover the vacated sector on a shorter Direct liaison was established between
front. Since some units were more bat- Almonds control group ashore and
tle worn than others, especially the 1st Doyles control group at sea to match
Marine Division, he elected the latter outgoing troops, supplies, and equip-
method and intended to ship the ma- ment with available ships. Almond also
rines first. They were to be followed dispatched a control group under Lt.
by the 7th Division, then the 3d Di- Col. Arthur M. Murray from corps
vision.53 headquarters to Pusan to receive
Almond planned to phase out the troops, supplies, and equipment arriv-
ROK I Corps, corps support units, ing by sea and air and to move them
bulk supplies, and heavy equipment as rapidly as possible to assembly
simultaneously with the American areas.
Army divisions. This was to be done Including the troops and materiel
carefully enough to keep a proper outloaded at Wonsan and Songjin,
balance between combat and support Almond needed shipping space for
troops and to insure adequate logistical 105,000 troops, 18,422 vehicles, and
support. To maintain this balance some 350,000 tons of bulk cargo. Al-
yet guarantee that the evacuation pro- though Admiral Doyle commanded a
ceeded as rapidly as possible, he estab- transport group of over 125 ships, some
lished three points of control. From X would have to make more than one trip
Corps headquarters, his G-3 and G-4 to meet Almonds needs. The Far East
together guided the dispatch of units Air Forces Combat Cargo Command
to the beach. To supervise the actual flying out of Yonpo airfield was to ful-
loading of troops and materiel at fill airlift requirements.55
waters edge, he organized a control Tactical air support during the evac-
group under Col. Edward H. Forney, a uation would be a Navy and Marine
Marine officer serving as Almonds responsibility, the Fifth Air Force fight-
deputy chief of staff. Under Colonel ers previously located in northeastern
Forneys direction, the 2d Engineer Korea having flown out to Pusan on 3
Special Brigade was to operate dock December. The 1st Marine Air Wing,
facilities, a reinforced Marine shore based at Yonpo and aboard escort
party company was to operate the LST carriers, was to devote its full effort to
and small craft beaches and control the supporting the corps operation. In ad-
lighterage for ships to be loaded in the dition, Admiral Doyle was to arrange
harbor anchorages, and some five thou- both naval air and naval gunfire sup-
sand Korean civilians were to work as port. Reinforced by ships supplied by
stevedores. On the Navys end of the Admiral Struble, the Seventh Fleet
outloading procedure, Admiral Doyle, commander, Doyle eventually was able
through a control unit aboard his flag-
ship Mount McKinley, was to coordinate 54 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; Field, United
all shipments, assign anchorages, and States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 289-90.
55 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; Field, United
States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 289; Cagle and
53 Ibid.; X Corps Opn O 10, 11 Dec 50; X Corps Manson, The Sea War in Korea, pp. 512-14; Futrell,
POR 76, 11 Dec 50. The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 241-42.
KWP-EBB-0188

168 EBB AND FLOW

MAP 14

to employ seven carriers in throwing a rimeter were to withdraw deliberately


canopy of aircraft over the corps area as the 1st Marine Division embarked
and to deploy one battleship, two toward the first of three phase lines that
cruisers, seven destroyers, and three Almond drew around Hungnam. In
rocket ships in a maneuver area reach- the southwest this first line rested gen-
ing ten miles north and ten miles south erally along the Yowi-chon River, just
of Hungnam to answer Almonds re- below Yonpo airfield, and elsewhere
quests for gunfire support.56 traced an arc about three miles from
To begin an orderly contraction of the heart of Hungnam. (Map 14) The
defenses as the X Corps strength second line differed from the first only
ashore diminished, the units on the pe- in the southwest in the 3d Division sec-
tor where it followed the upper bank
56 Cagle and Manson, The Sea War in Korea, pp.
181-82, 186-87; Futrell, The United States Air Force in
of the Songchon River close by Hung-
Korea, pp. 248-49. nam. The 3d Divisions withdrawal to
KWP-EBB-0189

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 169

TROOPS OUTLOADING AT HUNGNAM

this second line, which would mean the commander. After briefing MacArthur
abandonment of Yonpo airfield, was on corps dispositions and the plan of
scheduled to take place as the 7th Divi- evacuation, Almond predicted that the
sion began its embarkation. The third evacuation would be orderly, that no
and final line was a tight arc about a supplies or equipment would be de-
mile outside the limits of Hungnam to stroyed or abandoned, and that enemy
be occupied by the 3d Division as that forces would not interfere seriously.
division itself prepared to outload. The redeployment of the X Corps to
During this final phase of the evacua- southern Korea, he estimated, would
tion General Soules units were to use be complete by 27 December.58
rearguard tactics to cover their own
embarkation.57 The Outloading
General Almond published his for-
mal evacuation order on 11 December, The 1st Marine Division, as it came
into Hungnam from the Changjin Res-
the date on which General MacArthur
visited Korea and flew into Yonpo air-
58 Ibid.; X Corps Comd Rpt, 11 Dec 50; Memo, Gen
field for a conference with the X Corps Almond, 11 Dec 50, sub: Movement of X Corps to the
Pusan Area: Ltr. Gen Almond to CINCUNC, 11 Dec
57 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps Opn 50, sub: Redeployment of X Corps in Pusan - Pohang-
O 10, 11 Dec 50. dong Area.
KWP-EBB-0190

170 EBB AND FLOW

BARRELS OF AVIATION FUEL to be loaded aboard ships at Hungnam.

ervoir on 11 December, assembled be- cember forward, service units gradually


tween the port and Yonpo airfield. The moved depots and supply points into
division outloaded over the following the port area proper, and the bulk sup-
three days and sailed for Pusan at mid- plies and heavy equipment were either
morning on the 15th. General Almond loaded aboard ships double-banked at
the day before had designated Masan, the docks or lightered to ships in the
thirty miles west of Pusan, as the divi- harbor. To save time, ammunition was
sions assembly area. Following the voy- loaded at the docks instead of well out
age to Pusan and a motor march to into open water according to usual pre-
Masan, the marines passed to Eighth cautionary practice. This constant out-
Army control on 18 December.59 ward flow of materiel paralleled unit
Some bulk cargo was shipped out embarkations through the final day of
during the Marine outloading, but the the evacuation.60
heavier evacuation of materiel began While the marines outloaded by sea,
after the marines sailed. From 15 De- the bulk of the 1st Korean Marine
Corps Regiment, which had been at-
59 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps OI 30,
14 Dec 50; Montross and Canzona, The Chosin Reser-
voir Campaign, pp. 33841,345; X Corps POR 83, 18
Dec 50. 60X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0191

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 171

tached to the 3d Division, moved to Hamhung that the X Corps would pro-
Yonpo for evacuation by air. General vide transportation for all civilians who
Soule had planned to compensate for wished to leave North Korea. The in-
the loss of the South Korean marines tention was to create a mass move to
by pulling his division to the shorter cover the infiltration of enemy agents
first phase line on 16 December. and saboteurs. To prevent overcrowd-
But several sharp attacks against his ing and infiltration, military police, in-
positions between Chigyong and Oro- telligence agents, and perimeter troops
ri during the morning of the 15th attempted to block civilian entry, partic-
prompted him to make his withdrawal ularly over the Hamhung-Hungnam
that afternoon.61 road, which carried the larger number
By the 16th the attacks against the of refugees. They were only partially
3d Division on the western and north- successful. Those civilians already in
western arcs of the perimeter, enemy Hungnam and those who managed to
patrol contact with the ROK I Corps in reach the city were screened, then
the northeast, and other ground and moved to the southeastern suburb of
air reports indicated that enemy forces Sohojin, where corps civil affairs per-
were closing in around the X Corps pe- sonnel distributed food and organized
rimeter but not in great strength. Parts them for evacuation as shipping space
of the Chinese 81st Division, 27th Army, became available.63
appeared to have made the attacks on On the heels of the Marine division,
the 3d Division, and a North Korean the 7th Division began to outload on
brigade apparently was moving toward 14 December, embarking first the worn
Hungnam over the coastal road from troops of the 31st Infantry, 1st Battal-
the northeast. A greater immediate ion of the 32d Infantry, and 57th Field
problem than the approach of relatively Artillery Battalion, who had been with
few enemy forces was a mass move- the marines in the reservoir area. Most
ment of civilians toward the corps of the divisions service units went
perimeter. Although General Almond aboard ship on the 15th and 16th. The
had planned to evacuate government 17th Infantry and remainder of the 32d
officials, their families, and as many Infantry meanwhile relieved the ROK
others as shipping space allowed, he I Corps on the perimeter and withdrew
had not anticipated that thousands of to the first phase line. Hence, the corps
civilians would try to reach Hungnam.62 perimeter on the 16th was divided into
Besides hampering evacuation oper- two nearly equal parts by the Songchon
ations by overcrowding the port area, River, the 7th Division in position above
the large refugee movement posed a it, the 3d Division holding the sector
danger of enemy infiltration. Accord- below. Patrols and outposts deepened
ing to corps intelligence sources, the the defense as far out as the lower edge
enemy was circulating a rumor in of Hamhung.

61 X Corps PORs 79, 14 Dec 50, and 80, 15 Dec 50; 63 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps PIRs
Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division in Korea, pp. 97-100. 77, 12 Dec 50, and 78, 13 Dec 50.
62 X Corps PIRs 77-80, 12-l5 Dec 50; X Corps Comd 64 X Corps PORs 79-81, 14-16 Dec 50; X Corps OI
Rpt, Sum, Dec 50. 31, 16 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0192

172 EBB AND FLOW

After being relieved by the 7th Divi- planes had lifted out 3,600 troops, 196
sion, the ROK I Corps outloaded and vehicles, 1,300 tons of cargo, and sev-
sailed at noon on 17 December. Al- eral hundred refugees.66
though original plans called for the The 18 December withdrawal of
South Koreans to go to Pusan, General General Soules left flank units to the
MacArthur, apparently as a result of lower bank of the Songchon River was
his 11 December visit to Korea, had di- a preliminary move in the 3d Divisions
rected that the corps units then on the relief of the two 7th Division regiments
Hungnam perimeter be sea lifted to still on the perimeter. Soules forces
Samchok. These units and those being stepped behind the Songchon to the
carried to Pusan from Songjin were to second corps phase line on the 19th
pass to Eighth Army control upon and on the 19th and 20th spread out to
debarkation. This transfer would per- relieve the 17th and 32d Regiments.
mit General Walker to deploy the South General Almond closed his command
Korean corps immediately, and the post in Hungnam on the 20th and
landing at Samchok would put much reopened it aboard Admiral Doyles
of it close at hand for deployment Mount McKinley in the harbor, leaving
at the eastern end of line B. The land- General Soule in command of ground
ing, actually made at a small port just troops ashore.67
north of Samchok, was completed on Enemy probing attacks, which had
20 December.65 slackened noticeably after the 3d and
The ROK I Corps departure on the 7th Divisions withdrew to the first corps
17th coincided with the evacuation of phase line, picked up again on the 18th
most X Corps headquarters sections and became still more intense on the
and troops. Their final destination was- following day. Three Chinese divisions,
Kyongju, fifty miles north of Pusan, the 79th, 80th, and 81st, all from the
where they were to establish an advance 27th Army, were believed to be in the
corps command post. On the same day, nearby ground west of Hungnam, al-
operations at Yonpo airfield closed as though only the 79th was currently
the left flank units of the 3d Division in contact. North and northeast of
prepared to withdraw to the lower bank Hungnam, a North Korean brigade
of the Songchon River behind the field and the reconstituted North Korean 3d
the next day. The Marine squadrons Division had been contacted, as had an-
that had used the field already had other North Korean force, presumably
withdrawn to Pusan and Itami, Japan. a regiment.68
Last to leave was a Fifth Air Force base None of the enemy strikes on the pe-
unit that had serviced the Marine fight- rimeter did more than penetrate some
ers and General Tunners cargo air-
craft. By the closing date Tunners 66 X Corps POR 79, 14 Dec 50; X Corps Comd Rpt,
18 Dec 50; X Corps OI 36, 18 Dec 50; Futrell, The
United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 241, 248-49; X
65 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; Rad, CX 51019, Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; Cagle and Manson,
CINCFE to CG Eighth Army et al., 11 Dec 50; Rad, The Sea War in Korea, p. 191.
CX 51102, CINCFE to DEPTAR, 12 Dec 50; X Corps 67 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps PORs
PORs 80-83, 15-18 Dec 50; Field, United States Naval 83-85. 18-20 Dec 50: Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division
Operations, Korea, p. 295; Rad, AG IN BSF-1305, CTF in Korea, p. 102.
90 to CG Eighth Army et al., 20 Dec 50. 68 X Corps PIRs 81-85, 16-20 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0193

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 173

outposts, and counterattacks rapidly corps phase line to cover the outloading
eliminated these gains. So far, all of the last corps artillery units and the
action appeared to be only an attempt first of the divisions service units. On
to reconnoiter the perimeter. Several the 23d, when Soule pulled his regi-
explanations for the enemys failure ments to the last corps phase line in
to make a larger effort were plaus- preparation for the final withdrawal
ible. The bulk of the Chinese in the from Hungnam, only a small amount
Changjin Reservoir area apparently of mortar and artillery fire struck the
were taking time-probably forced to perimeter troops. Whatever conditions
take time-to recuperate from losses so far had kept the Chinese and North
suffered in the cold weather and re- Koreans from opening a large assault
cent battles. All enemy forces undoubt- obtained even after the X Corps pe-
edly were aware that the X Corps was rimeter strength dwindled to a single
evacuating Hungnam and that they division.71
would be able to enter the city soon The indirect fire received on the 23d
without having to fight their way in. proved to be the last opposition offered.
The contraction of the corps perimeter By morning of the 24th the perimeter
probably forced the enemy to repeat was silent and remained so as the last
his reconnaissance. Artillery fire, naval of the 3d Divisions service units out-
gunfire, and ample close air support loaded and as General Soule started his
may well have prevented the enemy rearguard action to take out his regi-
from concentrating sufficient strength ments and artillery. A battalion from
for strong attacks. Whatever the each regiment stayed on the perimeter
reasons, enemy forces had not yet while the remaining infantry and the
launched a large-scale assault.69 artillery outloaded and while the divi-
Although an additional unit, a regi- sions 10th Engineer Combat Battalion
ment of the North Korean 1st Division, and Navy underwater demolition teams
was identified near the northeastern prepared port facilities for destruction.
anchor of the corps perimeter on 20 At the same time, the last corps sup-
December, enemy attacks diminished plies, the port operating units, and as
on the 20th and 21st as the last troops many of the remaining refugees as
of the 7th Division embarked and sailed possible were put aboard ship. After
for Pusan. General Barrs troops com- General Almond made a final inspec-
pleted their redeployment on the 27th tion ashore, seven platoons established
and moved into an assembly around strongpoints near the beaches to pro-
Yongchon, west of the new X Corps tect the embarkation of the remainder
headquarters at Kyongju.70 of the covering battalions and the bulk
New but still small attacks harassed of the 10th Engineer Combat Battalion.
the 3d Division on the 22d as General In the final steps, Admiral Doyles war-
Soules 7th, 65th, and 15th Regiments ships laid down a wide barrage about a
from west to east stood at the second mile and a half inland as the last pla-

69 Ibid. 71 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps PORs


70 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps PIRs 87, 22 Dec 50, and 88, 23 Dec 50; X Corps PIRs 87,
85, 20 Dec 50, and 86, 21 Dec 50; X Corps PORs 85, 22 Dec 50, and 88, 23 Dec 50; Dolcater, 3d Infantry
20 Dec 50, and 86, 21 Dec 50. Division in Korea, p. 102.
KWP-EBB-0194

174 EBB AND FLOW

REARGUARD TROOPS OF THE 3D INFANTRY DIVISION leave the Hungnam beach,


24 December 1950.

toons of the covering force outloaded bombs, and about 200 drums of oil and
and as the 10th Engineer Combat Bat- gasoline had not been taken out, but
talion and Navy demolition teams blew all of this [had] added to the loud-
up the port before leaving the beaches ness of the final blowup of the part of
aboard LVTs and LCMs shortly after Hungnam. 73 A remarkable number of
1430.72 refugees, over 86,000, had been lifted
By Christmas Eve the ships carrying out of Hungnam since the 11th. In-
the last X Corps troops and supplies cluding those evacuated from Wonsan
were well out of Hungnam harbor en and Songjin, the total number of civil-
route to Pusan and to Ulsan, a small ians taken out of northeastern Korea
port thirty miles north of Pusan. They reached 98,100. About the same num-
left behind no serviceable equipment ber had been left behind for lack of
or usable supplies. About 200 tons of shipping space.74
ammunition, a like amount of frozen
dynamite, 500 thousand-pound aerial
73 Col Edward H. Forney, Special After Action
Report, Deputy Chief of Staff, X Corps, 19 Aug-Dec
72 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; X Corps PIR 50, p. 14.
89, 24 Dec 50; X Corps POR 89, 24 Dec 50; Dolcater, 74 X Corps Comd Rpt, Sum, Dec 50; Field, United
3d Infantry Division in Korea, p. 102. States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 304.
KWP-EBB-0195

REDEPLOYMENT SOUTH 175

FINAL DEMOLITIONS AT HUNGNAM

In retrospect, the evacuation of the In announcing the completion of the


X Corps from Hungnam had proved X Corps withdrawal from Hungnam
most spectacular as a logistical exercise. in a communique on 26 December,
While the move could be considered a General MacArthur took occasion to
withdrawal from a hostile shore, nei- appraise UNC operations from the
ther Chinese nor North Korean forces time his command had resumed its ad-
had made any serious attempts to dis- vance on 24 November and, once again,
rupt the operation or even to test the to remark on the restrictions that
shrinking perimeter that protected the had been placed on him. He blamed
outloading. Logistical rather than tacti- the incorrect assessment of Chinese
cal matters therefore had governed the strength, movements, and intentions
rate of the evacuation. Indeed, the X before the resumption on the failure
Corps redeployment south had been a of political intelligence . . . to penetrate
matter of how rapidly Admiral Doyles the iron curtain and on the limitations
ships could be loaded.75 placed on field intelligence activities, in
particular his not being allowed to con-
75 X Corps, Special Report on Hungnam Evacuation, duct aerial reconnaissance beyond the
9-24 Dec 50. boarders of Korea. So handicapped,
KWP-EBB-0196

176 EBB AND FLOW


his advance, which he later termed a claimed that only by advancing could
reconnaissance-in-force, was the he determine enemy strength, he had
proper, indeed the sole, expedient, not designed or designated the UNC
and was the final test of Chinese inten- attack as a reconnaissance in force. Nor
tions. In both the advance and the re- was it such. It was, rather, a general
deployment south, he concluded, no offensive whose objective was the north-
command ever fought more gallantly ern border of Korea. On the other
or efficiently under unparalleled condi- hand, except that the operations of his
tions of restraint and handicap, and no command really had nothing to do with
command could have acquitted itself to conditions of restraint and handicap,
better advantage under prescribed mis- MacArthur was correct in his assess-
sions and delimitations involving un- ment of the quality of UNC operations.
precedented risk and jeopardy. 76 Indeed, in both advance and withdraw1
But while MacArthur earlier had pro- his forces had conducted operations in
far largest part with efficiency and with
76 Quoted in MacArthur Hearings, pp. 3536-539. many demonstrations of gallantry.
KWP-EBB-0197

CHAPTER IX

The Chinese Third Phase Offensive


The Opening
On the morning of 23 December before Walkers death, General MacAr-
General Walker left Seoul by jeep to thur had obtained the agreement of
visit units above Uijongbu. Ten miles the Army chief of staff that Walkers
north, his jeep started past two 21/2-ton successor, if one was needed, should be
trucks halted on the opposite side of Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, then
the road headed south. Almost at the serving on the Department of the Army
same moment, a Korean civilian driv- staff as deputy chief of staff for opera-
ing a 3/4-ton truck pulled out from be- tions and administration. General
hind the halted vehicles to proceed Ridgways experience in World War II
south and partially entered the north- as commander of an airborne division
bound lane to get past the parked and later an airborne corps and his
trucks. Walkers driver swerved away strong leadership qualities had Mac-
from the oncoming truck but was un- Arthurs high respect, and his staff as-
able to avoid a collision. The impact signment in Washington, which had in-
threw Walkers vehicle sideways and volved visits to the Far East, had kept
overturned it, and all occupants were him well informed of operations in
thrown out and injured. General Korea.2
Walker was unconscious and had no On receiving word of General
discernible pulse when he was picked Walkers death, MacArthur telephoned
up by escorts in a following vehicle. General Collins in Washington to re-
At the 24th Division clearing station port the distressing loss and to ask for
nearby, he was pronounced dead of Ridgway. (The I Corps commander,
multiple head injuries.1 General Milburn, temporarily assumed
command of the Eighth Army.) Near
midnight of 22 December Collins noti-
Ridgway Takes Command
fied Ridgway that he was the new com-
In routine anticipation of casualties
2 Maj. Gen. Courtney Whitney, MacArthur, His Ren-
dezvous With History (New York: Knopf, 1956), p. 432;
1 Report of Inquiry Into Accidental Death of Lt. MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Policies,
Gen. Walton H. Walker, Eighth Army, 11 Jan 51. p. 348; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Gen-
According to a ROK Ministry of National Defense eral of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences
publication, Korean War History for One Year: 1 May (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), p. 383; Schnabel,
1950 to 30 June 1951. the driver of the truck was Policy and Direction, pp. 305-06; Rad, Z 30753, CINCFE
sentenced to three years' imprisonment. See English to DEPTAR, MacArthur Personal for Ridgway, 23
translation of publication in CMH, p. B-347. Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0198

178 EBB AND FLOW


later from General Stratemeyer and
Admiral Joy. MacArthurs instructions
to Ridgway resembled those given to
General Walker: hold as far north as
possible and hold Seoul as long as pos-
sible. The most to be expected of the
Eighth Army, MacArthur told Ridgway,
was an eventual tactical success that
would clear and secure South Korea. A
battlefield success of any substance in
the meantime would help Washington
answer what MacArthur called the
mission vacuum, meaning the ques-
tion raised by the Chinese intervention
of whether UNC forces could or should
stay in Korea.4
MacArthur did reveal a new view of
air power. A month earlier he had
credited his air forces with a high de-
gree of effectiveness; now he cautioned
Ridgway that tactical air power was
GENERAL RIDGWAY much exaggerated, that it could not
stop the southward flow of enemy
forces and supplies. When Ridgway
mander of the Eighth Army, and hur-
asked near the close of the meeting
ried preparations on the 23d put
whether MacArthur would object to a
Ridgway in the air en route to Tokyo
decision to attack, MacArthur replied,
that night.3
The Eighth Army is yours, Matt. Do
Ridgway reached Tokyos Haneda
what you think best. 5 Here was another
Airport shortly before midnight on
change. Earlier, MacArthur had played
Christmas and was met by General
a key and direct role in planning and
Hickey, MacArthurs acting chief of
conducting tactical operations. He
staff. En route by sedan to the Ameri-
would do so no longer. General
can Embassy guesthouse, General
Ridgway would make all the decisions
Hickey brought him up to date on
regarding the employment of the
operations. The enemy offensive pre-
Eighth Army with no requirement to
viously expected on Christmas Day had
refer them to MacArthur for approval.
not materialized. Ridgway received
Ridgway would always inform MacAr-
fuller briefings the next morning, first
thur in detail of those decisions, but
in private from General MacArthur,
MacArthur would never question him.
Before leaving for Korea at noon,
3 Whitney, MacArthur, His Rendezvous With History, Ridgway radioed his formal assumption
p. 432; Matthew B. Ridgway, Soldier (New York:
Harper, 1956), pp. 195-98; MS, Ridgway, The Ko-
rean War, Issues and Policies, p. 348. Note that stan- 4 Ridgway, Soldier, pp. 201-02; MS, Ridgway, The
dard Washington time is fourteen hours earlier than Korean War, Issues and Policies, pp. 349-53.
Korea time. 5 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0199

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 179

AMBASSADOR MUCCIO (right) WITH PRESIDENT RHEE

of command of the Eighth Army with Washington, at dawn the next day, he
instructions that his message, translated flew to Seoul, where the handful of staff
as necessary, be read by all officers and officers he found deepened his resolve
by as many enlisted men as possible. to remedy the headquarters arrange-
You will have my utmost, he advised ment.7 He planned not only to redis-
his new command. I shall expect tribute his staff but also to move the
yours.6 forward command post to a more cen-
Reaching the main Eighth Army tral location from where he could reach
headquarters at Taegu late on the 26th, all corps and divisions in minimum
Ridgway was displeased at finding the time.8
bulk of his staff so far to the rear, a Following a staff conference and
matter he resolved to correct eventually. meetings with American Ambassador
His immediate step was to get to the John J. Muccio and President Rhee in
army forward command post. In battle
dress for the first time since leaving 7 Later Ridgways daily garb would include a gre-
nade hooked to the right suspender of his web equip-
6 Eighth Army GO 215, 26 Dec 50; Rad, H 50965 ment and a first aid packet to the left. These items
KCG, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 26 Dec became his trademark.
50; MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli- 8 Ridgway, Soldier, pp. 116, 203, 219; MS, Ridgway,
cies, pp. 353-54. The Korean War, Issues and Policies, pp. 353, 390.
KWP-EBB-0200

180 EBB AND FLOW

Seoul, Ridgway began a four-day re- Corps sector. Next east, the Turkish
connaissance of the line B front that brigade overlooked the Han River estu-
took him to all corps and divisions ex- ary from the upper end of the Kimpo
cept the ROK Capital Division on the peninsula. Above the Han, the 25th
east coast, whose sector was quiet and Division, to which the Turks and Rang-
unthreatened by impending enemy ers were attached, straddled Route 1
action.9 along the lower bank of the Imjin River,
By evening of the 30th he was back and the ROK 1st Division defended the
at Eighth Army main in Taegu, much corps right from positions along the
disturbed by what he had learned. The Imjin reaching northeast almost to
Eighth Army was clearly a dispirited Route 33 in the Wonsan-Seoul corridor.
command. I could sense it the moment The British 29th Brigade was assem-
I came into a command post . . . I could bled in I Corps reserve along Route 1
read it in the faces of. . . leaders, from just outside Seoul. 12
sergeants right on up to the top. They The IX Corps lay across the Wonsan-
were unresponsive, reluctant to talk. I Seoul corridor along the 38th parallel,
had to drag information out of them. the ROK 6th Division astride Route 33
There was a complete absence of that at the left, the 24th Division across
alertness, that aggressiveness, that you Route 3 at the right. In corps reserve,
find in troops whose spirit is high.10 the British 27th Brigade was assembled
The attack that Ridgway had hoped near the junction of Routes 33 and 3 at
would be possible he now considered Uijongbu. The 1st Cavalry Division,
plainly out of the question. He also also in reserve, retained the mission as-
considered it imperative to strengthen signed to it while under army control
the Eighth Army front if his forces were of blocking the Chunchon-Seoul road.
to hold line B. Whether he had time Now attached to the cavalry division
enough to do so was questionable. Ad- were the Filipino battalion and the
ditional evidence of an imminent en- Greek Expeditionary Force, an infan-
emy offensive had appeared as Ridgway try battalion that had reached Korea
reconnoitered the front, and the com- on 8 December.13
ing New Year holiday was now a logical Near the 38th parallel above Chun-
date on which to expect the opening chon, the ROK III Corps defended a
assault. 11 wide sector with the ROK 2d, 5th, and
Unit dispositions along the line had 8th Divisions on line and the ROK 7th
changed little since General Walker Division in reserve. In the narrow ROK
succeeded in manning it. (Map 15) II Corps sector next east, a single divi-
The 8213th Army Unit (Eighth Army sion, the ROK 3d, continued to block
Ranger Company) patrolled Kanghwa Route 24 running southwestward
Island at the extreme west in the I through the Hongchon River valley.
The ROK I Corps defended a gaping

9 Ridgway,
Text Soldier, p. 204; MS, Ridgway, The Korean
War, Issues and Policies, pp. 355-57. 12Situation Overlay, Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Dec
10Ridgway, Soldier, p. 205. 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 28 Dec 50.
11Ibid., p. 209; Memo, Ridgway for Chief of Staff, 13Ibid.; Fox, Inter-Allied Co-operation During
GHQ, 7 Jan 51, copy in CMH. Combat Operations.
KWP-EBB-0201

Vl\
KWP-EBB-0202

182 EBB AND FLOW

THE UIJONGBU AREA

line at the Eighth Army right, with the the west, the 187th Airborne Regimen-
ROK 9th Division in the high moun- tal Combat Team, with the Thai battal-
tains at the corps left, and the ROK ion attached, was assembled at Suwon
Capital Division across the slopes and south of Seoul. Outside these forces,
coastal road at the eastern anchor of the only available unit was the ROK
the front.14 11th Division currently operating
Ridgways main reserve for strength- against guerrillas in various locations
ening the front was the X Corps. Other to the south. The 2d Battalion of
resources present or scheduled to ar- Canadas Princess Patricias Light
rive in Korea by the end of the year Infantry had reached Korea in mid-
were exceedingly few. The 2d Division, December but was at Miryang in the
still not fully recovered from its late southeast for eight weeks of training
November losses but now reinforced by before entering battle. Similarly, the
the Netherlands and French battalions, 16th New Zealand Field Regiment, ac-
was centrally located at Chungju. In tually an artillery battalion, due to reach
Korea on the 31st, would require train-
ing before it moved to the front. The
14 Situation Overlay, Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Dec only units en route to Korea that might
50. be able to move forward upon arrival
KWP-EBB-0203

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 183

were two U.S. airborne Ranger com- whose main feature was a big red
panies, the 2d and 4th.15 goose egg . . . with 174,000 scrawled
Holding against the threatening en- in the middle of it, Ridgway was
emy offensive, Ridgway judged, rested astounded. Here the enemy was lean-
on committing most of his reserves ing right up against us, but we did not
early and on revitalizing the spirit of know his strength, and we did not have
the Eighth Army. By the time he re- his location pinpointed. He attrib-
turned to Taegu on the 30th he had uted such imprecision directly to the
taken several steps toward achieving Eighth Armys tendency to look over
both. 16 its shoulder. As a result of this ten-
Restoring the Eighth Armys morale dency, the line troops had not main-
and confidence, Ridgway believed, de- tained proper contact with enemy
pended mainly on improving leader- forces or learned enough about the ter-
ship throughout his command, but it rain to their front. He promptly re-
was not his intention to start lopping buked his subordinates for failing to
off heads. Before he would relieve any meet these two basic combat require-
commander, he wanted personally to ments. They were to patrol until they
see more of the man in action, to know had defined the enemys positions and
that the relief would not damage the determined the strengths of units op-
unit involved, and, indeed, to be sure posite them, and he warned that he
that he had a better commander avail- didnt want to ask any man where a
able. For the time being, he intended trail went and have him tell me he
to correct deficiencies by working on didnt know.l9
and through his current corps and di- Ridgway did receive another intelli-
vision commanders. One deficiency he gence report that, if unacceptably
had noted was that many commanders imprecise, was more than a goose
conducted operations from command egg estimate of the opposition. The
posts far behind the front. To correct 174,000, Colonel Tarkenton ex-
this practice, he ordered division com- plained, was the estimated strength of
manders to be up with their forward the Chinese XIII Army Group. The
battalions, and . . . corps commanders groups six armies, each with a strength
up with the regiment that was in the of 29,000, were either along the Eighth
hottest action. 17 Army front or in the immediate enemy
He saw further weaknesses in leader- rear area. Tarkenton believed three
ship and staff work in the intelligence North Korean corps totaling 65,800
briefings he received. Confronted dur- men also were at the front and that a
ing one of the first briefings with a map fourth was approaching it.20
The greatest enemy strength seemed
to be massed opposite the Eighth
15 Eighth Army G3 Jnls, 27-31 Dec 50; Fox, Inter-
Allied Co-operation During Combat Operations.
16 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli- 18Ridgway, Soldier, p. 205.
cies, p. 358. 19Interv, Mossman, Carroll. and Miller with Ridg-
17Ltr, Gen Ridgway to Gen J. Lawton Collins, 8 Jan way, 30 Nov 56; Ridgway, Soldier, p. 206.
51, copy in CMH; Interv, Mossman, Carroll, and 20 EighthArmy G2 SS Rpt, Dec 50, Enemy Situa-
Miller with Ridgway, 30 Nov 56; Ridgway, Soldier, pp. tion-special Report for the Army Commander:
206-07. Ridgway, Soldier, p. 209.
KWP-EBB-0204

184 EBB AND FLOW

Armys west central sector, an indica- Defensive Preparations


tion that the main enemy attack would
come through the Wonsan-Seoul corri- Committing the X Corps
dor over Routes 33 and 3. A strong Ridgways first tactical move was to
secondary attack farther east also counter this threat from the northeast.
seemed probable, either southwest over on the 27th, right after hearing Ambas-
the Chunchon-Seoul axis or south sador Muccio give his evaluation of the
through Chunchon and Wonju via
tactical situation, Ridgway ordered part
Route 29, in an attempt to outflank the of the 2d Division north from Chungju
I and IX Corps above Seoul.21
into the North Koreans projected path.
Two recent attacks by units of the
General McClure was to move a regi-
North Korean II and V Corps opened mental combat team twenty-five miles
as Ridgway reached Korea, supported
north to Wonju, from where it could
Tarkentons prediction of a strong sec- oppose any North Korean attempt to
ondary effort in the east. Fourteen advance south over Route 29 or west
miles northeast of Chunchon, two along Route 20 and where it could pro-
North Korean regiments coming from
tect a vulnerable link of the central
the Hwachon Reservoir area hit the
Pusan-Seoul rail line, which served as
ROK 8th Division at the right of the an Eighth Army supply route.23
ROK III Corps and gouged a mile- McClure was in the process of mov-
deep salient before the South Koreans ing the 23d Infantry and the French
contained the attack. Out of the Inje
battalion to Wonju on the 29th when
area, twenty-five miles northeast of the North Korean attack out of Inje
Chunchon, a larger force believed to
carried behind the ROK II Corps far-
include a division and a reinforced regi- ther north. Ridgway consequently or-
ment struck southwestward through the dered McClure to move the remainder
ROK 9th Divisions flimsy position at
of his division to Wonju and to send
the left of the ROK I Corps. Entering
one regiment twenty-five miles north
the rear area of the narrow ROK II of that town to Hongchon where Route
Corps sector, the attack force by 30 29 from Chunchon and Route 24 from
December established a strong road-
the northeast intersected. McClure
block on the central arterial, Route complied on the 30th, sending the 23d
29, almost twenty-five miles below
Infantry toward Hongchon to join its
Chunchon. By extending these gains,
South Korean namesake, the 23d Regi-
especially the deeper southwestward
ment of the ROK 7th Division.24
thrust out of the Inje area, North
Before the 23d Infantry could com-
Korean forces conceivably could sever
plete its move above Wonju, the North
the Eighth Armys main lines of
communication.22
23 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
cies, p. 357; Rad, GX-20178 KGOO, CG Eighth Army
to CG 2d Div, 27 Dec 50.
24 Rads, GX 20218 KGOO and GX 20253 KGOO,
21 Ibid. CG Eighth Army to CG 2d Div, 28 and 29 Dec 50;
22 Eighth Army G3 Jnls, 27-31 Dec 50; Eighth Army Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 29 and 30 Dec 50; Eighth Army
G2 PIRs 167-172, 26-31 Dec 50. G3 Briefing for CG, 30 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0205

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 185


Koreans reported by the ROK III mountains and coastal slopes to the
Corps to number between seven hun- east.26
dred and twelve hundred men, blocked Since time was critical, Ridgway on
Route 29 six miles below Hongchon. 28 December pressed General Almond
The 23ds advance became a clearing and the commander of the 2d Logistical
operation, made in concert with a bat- Command, General Garvin, to quicken
talion of the ROK 23d Regiment, which the readiness preparations of the 1st
moved south out of Hongchon and Marine, 3d, and 7th Divisions. The
with the reserve 5th Regiment of the marines, now reattached to the X Corps,
ROK 3d Division, which dropped south and the 7th Division were fully assem-
from Chunchon to a point west of the bled but were still refurbishing, and the
North Korean position and then struck 3d Division, last to leave Hungnam, was
eastward against it. The concerted ef- not yet three-quarters ashore. The ships
fort cleaned out most of the roadblock carrying General Soules remaining
on the 31st. The battalion of the ROK troops were in Pusan harbor, however,
23d Regiment returned to Hongchon and following Ridgways 29 December
while the ROK 5th Regiment and the order that these ships be unloaded with-
leading battalion of the 23d Infantry out delay, the balance, of the 3d Divi-
stayed to clear the remainder of the sion was ashore and en route to the
enemy position. The balance of the 23d divisions assembly area south of Kyongju
Infantry was strung out on Route 29, a by nightfall on the 30th.27
battalion at Hoengsong nine miles be- Since it was nevertheless obvious that
low the roadblock site, the remainder the X Corps as currently constituted
still in Wonju where the rest of the 2d could not move forward for some time,
Division was now assembling.25 Ridgway on the 29th approved plans
While installing the 2d Division in the developed by his staff for adjusting
Hongchon-Wonju area might hold off Almonds order of battle to permit ear-
the North Koreans currently advanc- lier commitment. Under these plans the
ing from the northeast, the defensive X Corps headquarters and whichever
weakness in the three South Korean of Almonds present divisions com-
corps sectors left open the likelihood pleted its preparations first would move
of stronger, more effective enemy pene- to Wonju, where Almond would add
trations. Against this possibility, Ridgway the 2d Division and possibly one ROK
planned to reinforce this portion of the division to his command as substitutes
front, much as General Walker had de- for the two divisions left behind. Even
cided earlier, by setting the X Corps in this arrangement would take time; the
the Chunchon sector now held by the estimate for moving one of Almonds
ROK III Corps and by placing the bulk current divisions from its southern as-
of his South Korean forces along a
narrower, more solid front in the higher
26 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 28 Dec 50.
27 Rad, GX 20219 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG
25 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 31 Dec 50; Situation Over- X Corps and CG 2d Log Comd, 28 Dec 50; X Corps
lay with Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 31 Dec 50; Eighth Army POR 93, 28 Dec 50; Rad, GX 20228, CG Eighth Army
POR 517, 31 Dec 50; Eighth Army G3 Briefing for to CG X Corps and CG 2d Log Comd, 29 Dec 50; X
CG, 31 Dec 50. Corps POR 95, 30 Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0206

186 EBB AND FLOW

sembly area to the battle zone was eight ble in the west. As soon as General
to ten days. Once forward, the X Corps Soule finished reorganizing and re-
was to operate with the initial mission equipping his forces he was to move
of destroying any enemy penetration them into the Pyongtaek-Ansong area
of the South Korean front above it and forty miles south of Seoul and prepare
of protecting the IX Corps east flank.28 them for operations in either the I or
Ridgway gave Almond detailed in- IX Corps sector.30
structions on the 30th. Having learned
that the 7th Division would be ready Establishing the Seoul Bridgehead
ahead of the other two divisions, he di-
While reinforcing the South Korean
rected Almond to move one of its regi-
sector of the front, Ridgway also deep-
ments the next day to Chechon, twenty
ened the defense of Seoul. After con-
miles below Wonju, where Route 60
ferences with General Milburn and
and a mountain road coming from the
General Coulter on the 27th, he in-
east and northeast joined Route 29.
structed them to organize a bridgehead
When Almond could get the remain-
above Seoul along a line curving from
der of General Barrs forces forward,
the north bank of the Han west of Seoul
he was to assemble the 7th near the 2d
through a point just below Uijongbu at
so that both divisions could be deployed
the junction of Routes 33 and 3 to the
quickly against any enemy penetration
north and back to the Han east of the
from the direction of Chunchon and
city. The bridgehead would be deep
Inje or from the east toward Hoengsong
enough to keep the Han bridges below
and Wonju. Almond subsequently could
Seoul free of enemy artillery fire. The
expect to occupy a sector of the front.
position therefore would be suitable for
In the meantime, he was to develop
covering a general withdrawal below
Route 29 southeastward from Wonju
Seoul that might accompany or follow
through Chechon, Tanyang, Yongju,
the occupation of the bridgehead line.31
and Andong as the main X Corps sup-
Milburn and Coulter each were to
ply route.29
place a division on the bridgehead line
On the last day of the year Ridgway
if the expected enemy attack forced
placed the 1st Marine and 3d Divi-
them to vacate their line B positions.
sions in army reserve. When fully re-
Ridgway at first restricted any I and IX
furbished, the marines were to move
from Masan to an east coast assembly
in the Yongchon-Kyongju-Pohang- 30 Rads, GX 20295 KGOO and GX 20332 KGOO,
dong area and prepare to occupy block- CG Eighth Army to CG X Corps, 30 and 31 Dec 50;
Rad, GX 20335 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG 1st
ing positions wherever needed to the Marine Div, 31 Dec 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 31 Dec
north. The 3d Division was to reassem- 50.
31 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
cies, p. 356; Ridgway, Soldier, pp. 207-08; Rad, GX
28 Rad, GX 20217 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to 10009 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CGs I and IX
Eighth Army Fwd, for Gen Ridgway from Gen Allen, Corps, 28 Dec 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 28 Dec 50.
28 Dec 50; Rad, G 10014 KCG, Dep CofS Eighth Most of the fortification work at the bridgehead line
Army Adv to CofS Eighth Army Main, 29 Dec 50. was to be done by South Korean laborers. During the
29 X Corps CG Diary, 30 Dec 50; Rad, GX 20294 meeting with President Rhee on the 27th, Ridgway
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG X Corps, 30 Dec 50; asked him for 30,000 civilian laborers to be employed
Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 30 Dec 50; Rad, GX 20329 in building fortifications above and below Seoul, and
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG X Corps, 31 Dec 50. Rhee provided the first 10,000 by dawn on the 28th.
KWP-EBB-0207

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 187

Corps withdrawal from the present 72d Tank Battalion to the west for at-
front to his own personal order. But tachment to the IX Corps, which might
on reconsidering the high estimate of use it to punish an enemy advance on
Chinese strength opposite the two corps, Seoul.34
the tendency of some South Korean Anticipating an opening enemy at-
units to break under pressure, and the tack toward the capital on New Years
demonstrated Chinese preference for Day, Ridgway returned there on the
night attacks, he realized that this re- afternoon of the 31st.35 According to
striction could create a costly delay Colonel Tarkentons latest intelligence
should Milburn and Coulter be unable estimate, enemy forces were fully de-
to contact him promptly. He therefore ployed. In the west, the North Korean
authorized the two corps commanders I Corps straddled Route 1 at the Imjin
to withdraw on their own at any time with the Chinese 50th Army concentrated
they agreed that it was necessary but just behind it; the 39th Army had spread
could not reach him.32 out near the Imjin between Routes 1
No matter who gave the order, and 33; the 38th Army sat astride Route
Ridgway insisted that a withdrawal to 33 below Yonch'on with the 40th Army
the bridgehead be more than a mere assembled to its rear; and the 66th Army
move from one line to another; both lay across Routes 3 and 17, its forces
corps were to attack enemy forces who pointed at both Uijongbu and
followed. The terrain could accommo- Chunchon, with the 42d Army backing
date this tactic, especially in the Wonsan- it up at Kumhwa.36
Seoul corridor where the enemy would Farther east, the full North Korean
be obliged to use routes surrounded by V Corps, previously in the area now
higher ground. Ridgway expected occupied by the 66th Army, had joined
Milburn and Coulter to leave strong the North Korean II Corps in the re-
forces of infantry and armor posted in gion between and below Hwachon and
this high ground as the two corps with- Inje. This concentration, the expected
drew; these forces would strike advanc- arrival of the North Korean III Corps
ing enemy units and disrupt the follow- in the same area, and the probability
up before they themselves moved back that forces from the Chinese IX Army
to the bridgehead.33 Group would move down into the same
region from Hungnam represented, in
Ridgway Returns to Seoul Tarkentons estimation, a sufficient
In smaller steps taken before the year force to exploit successfully the North
was out, Ridgway attached the 2d Ranger Korean gains already registered in the
Company to the 1st Cavalry Division in east.37
the west and the 4th Ranger Company
34 Eighth Army GO 219, 30 Dec 50; Eighth Army
to the 7th Division in the east. Since the G3 Jnl, 30 and 31 Dec 50.
2d Division was operating in the Wonju 35 "It is not enough [for a commander] to move in
area where the surrounding mountains response to critical situations, they must be antici-
pated. Interv, Mossman, Carroll, and Miller with
prohibited armor, he ordered McClures Ridgway, 30 Nov 56.
36 Ltr, Gen Ridgway to Gen Collins, 3 Jan 51, copy
32MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli- in CMH; Eighth Army PIR 172, 31 Dec 50.
cies, p. 369. 37 Eighth Army PIRs 171, 30 Dec 50, and 172, 31
33Ibid., p. 365; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 28 Dec 50. Dec 50.
KWP-EBB-0208

188 EBB AND FLOW

The preponderance of enemy forces hard at the ROK 6th Division on the
above Seoul still pointed to a main ef- IX Corps left while the 114th Division,
fort against the South Korean capital 38th Army, opened smaller, intermittent
over the Uijongbu-Seoul axis. In addi- assaults against the 24th Division at the
tion, enemy artillery positions sighted IX Corps right. Two hours later the
from the air disclosed a large number 66th Army sent forces against the ROK
of guns generally astride an extension 5th Division in the center of the ROK
of the I and IX Corps boundary, all III Corps sector and near 0500 hit the
well disposed to support an attack ROK 2d Division
at the ROK III Corps
through the Wonsan-Seoul corridor.
Further, aerial observers had spotted In grand tactics, the Chinese New
an enemy buildup of bridging materi- Years offensive, or Third Phase Offen-
als near the Imjin. Prisoners confirmed sive as the Chinese called it, resembled
these indications. Several revealed that their previous effort, strong forces push-
a main offensive toward Seoul would ing a main attack in the west while other
open on the night of 31 December, and forces threatened envelopment in the
an officer from the 38th Army said that east. The hardjolts of the 38th and 39th
the offensive would begin with a coor- Armies against the I and IX Corps aimed
dinated attack by the 38th, 39th, 40th, the main Chinese effort generally south
and 42d Armies.38 astride Route 33 toward Seoul. The
66th Armys attacks against the ROK III
Corps farther east widened the Chinese
The Opening Enemy Assaults
advance to a front of forty-five miles
Ridgway had judged the signs cor- but were pointed mainly at Kapyong,
rectly. As he flew into Seoul and visited thirty-five miles northeast of Seoul and
the western front by jeep during the twelve miles west of Chunchon. Sei-
afternoon of the 31st, vanguards of the zure of Kapyong, situated as it was on
116th Division, 39th Army, moved down the Chunchon-Seoul road, could be
to the Imjin near Korangp'o-ri and the beginning of a flanking movement
forced outposts of the ROK 1st Divi- against Seoul or the start of a deeper
sion to withdraw below the river. Be- sweep to envelop the city. It also posed
hind a thirty-minute artillery prepara- the danger of envelopment to the South
tion, forces of the 116th then crossed Korean forces defending Chunchon,
the Imjin just after full dark to attack forces whose positions already were
the ROK divisions main defenses.39 threatened by the deep North Korean
From this opening at the I Corps salient in the Hongchon area.41
right, the XIII Army Group commander The 38th and 39th Armies reinforced
broadened his attack eastward. Around the main drive during the night but
midnight units of the Division and
116th kept it massed near the I - IX Corps
of the 113th Division, 38th Army, struck boundary. The 25th Division on the left
flank of the I Corps was not touched,
38 Ibid.
and attacks against the 24th Division
39 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; Eighth Army PIR
173, 1 Jan 51; FEC Intel Dig, no. 115, l-15 Feb 53; 40 Ibid.;IX Corps PIR 97, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps POR
24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Ltr, Ridgway to 293, 1 Jan 51.
Collins, 3 Jan 51; Ridgway, Soldier, p. 209. 41 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0209

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 189

on the IX Corps right, though numer- fore it could escape the trap. From this
ous, remained small and ineffective. Ei- point the edges of the V-shaped enemy
ther by a decision to single out the inte- salient driven into the right half of the
rior ROK 1st and 6th Divisions or by ROK 1st Division sector traced second-
the coincidence of their adjoining posi- ary Route 5Y northwestward to the
tions athwart Route 33, the Chinese Imjin through the middle of General
concentrated on wedging through the Paiks sector and traced secondary Route
South Koreans, particularly the 1st 11 northward, not far west of the I-IX
Division.42 Corps boundary.44
The reinforced night attack of the From reports reaching Eighth Army
Division against the ROK 1st Divi-
116th headquarters through the night, Gen-
sion shoved the 12th Regiment out of eral Ridgway suspected that the Chi-
position on the division right and sent nese advance toward Seoul was fast be-
its troops streaming to the rear. Gen- coming more than the I and IX Corps
eral Paik tried to refill the vacated sec- could handle. No more than three Chi-
tor with his reserve 15th Regiment, but nese divisions so far had been identi-
that regiment and the 11th on the divi- fied in the assault in the west, but the
sion left were hit hard and forced back Chinese, in all logic, would exploit their
to the south and west, leaving much gains in the ROK 1st Division sector
ground open to Chinese exploitation. and could commit additional divisions
The ROK 6th Division fared better, giv- with no great delay. A paucity of re-
ing little ground to the 116th and 113th ports left Ridgway somewhat in the
Divisions, but by daylight faced a threat dark about what was happening in the
of entrapment, posed to some extent South Korean sectors farther east. Al-
by enemy groups who managed to work though American advisers, the main
into its rear area but posed most seri- sources of information on ROK Army
ously by those forces of the 116th cut- operations, were at the principal South
ting deep through the ROK 1st Divi- Korean headquarters, breakdowns in
sion to its left.43 communication between front line and
The deepest point of Chinese pene- headquarters seemed to be the rule
tration by daylight on 1 January had rather than the exception in ROK units.
been marked by Battery C of the U.S. Ridgway nevertheless was aware that
9th Field Artillery Battalion, which had Chinese forces had hit the ROK III
been supporting the ROK 1st Division Corps, a portent that made the I and
from positions behind the 12th Regi- IX Corps positions even less tenable.45
ment. When the battery withdrew after By the time Ridgway started north
the 12th abandoned its position, the ar- out of Seoul near dawn on New Years
tillery column was caught in an ambush Day toward the sectors of the ROK 1st
about eight miles south of the Imjin and 6th Divisions, he had few doubts
and lost four 155-mm. howitzers be- that he would have to withdraw from
line B. His concern heightened to alarm
a few miles north when he met trucks
42 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; Eighth Army PIR
173, 1 Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; I Corps POR
332, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps POR 293, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps
PIR 97, 1 Jan 51. 44 Ibid.
43 Ibid. 45 Ibid.; Ridgway, Soldier, p. 210.
KWP-EBB-0210

190 EBB AND FLOW

packed with South Korean troops. No up Route 1 from Seoul toward a for-
weapons other than a few rifles were in ward assembly behind the 25th Division.
sight. He sensed immediately that the From there the British were to attack
South Koreans were running and northeast into the flank of the enemy
jumped from his jeep to wave the trucks salient. Ridgway discouraged this move,
to a halt. But he might as well had believing a counterattack to have any
tried to stop the flow of the Han. The chance at all would require at least a
most he could do was order straggler full American division. But such a com-
points established where retreating mitment seemed neither wise nor feasi-
troops could be stopped and reassem- ble. The two nearest U.S. divisions were
bled.46 the 25th and 24th. The 25th, though
The episode on the road, as Ridgway still not directly involved except for hav-
discovered when he visited the I and ing received mortar and artillery fire,
IX Corps headquarters before noon, was the only unit standing before the
had not signaled the collapse of the two North Korean I Corps and the Chinese
ROK divisions. The bulk of both was 50th Army. The 24th on the opposite
still forward, and both were attempt- flank had been hit hard after daylight,
ing to erect defenses along the shoul- apparently by all three regiments of the
ders of the Chinese penetration. Gen- 114th Division, and had backed away to
eral Paik was setting his 11th and 15th positions two miles south. Even if one
Regiments across hills overlooking Route of these divisions were to be used,
5Y along the southwestern shoulder, a Ridgway saw no way, in view of their
small part of the 15th stood below the dispositions on the flanks, that a coun-
point of the wedge, and about half the terattack could be started in less than
12th Regiment was now loosely assem- forty-eight ho-m-s. Such an effort, he
bled some two miles below the deepest judged, would be too late since the Chi-
penetration. On the other side of the nese were not only maintaining strong
salient, Brig. Gen. Chang Do Yong, pressure but, according to early morn-
commander of the ROK 6th Division, ing air reports of heavy troop move-
was moving his reserve 2d Regiment ments down Route 33 from the direc-
into position along Route 33 to refuse tion of Chorwon, also were showing
his left flank. Rearward along this long clear signs of further reinforcing their
open flank, General Coulter had or- advance.48
dered the British 27th Brigade from From additional reports reaching
Uijongbu into blocking positions near Ridgway by noon of the 1st, he now
Tokchong, eight miles north, where a knew that the ROK III Corps had been
road coming southeastward out of the under attack since early morning, that
area invested by Chinese joined Route the ROK 2d and 5th Divisions at the
33.47 corps left and center had received the
General Milburn, Ridgway learned, attacks, and that the heaviest assaults
had started the British 29th Brigade
48 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; Msg, G3 I Corps
46 Ridgway, Soldier, p. 210. to G3 IX Corps, in IX Corps G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; I Corps
47 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; I Corps POR 333, POR 333. 1 Jan 51: IX Corps POR 294, 1 Ian 51:
1 Jan 51; IX Corps G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps POR Ridgway, Memo for Cofs GHQ, 7 Jan 51, copy in
294, 1 Jan 51. CsMH.
KWP-EBB-0211

CHINESE THIRD PHASE OFFENSIVE: THE OPENING 191

had hit the 5th. While these reports still the east to line C. Although having to
gave Ridgway scant information, they call a withdrawal only six days after he
made plain that the Chinese were mov- had taken command of the Eighth Army
ing on a broad front and pointed out was disappointing and was certainly
more sharply the possibility of a flank- contrary to his original intention of at-
ing or enveloping move against Seoul. tacking or at least standing fast, he gave
From this clearer picture of the General Milburn and General Coulter
Ch'unch'on sector and the circumstances withdrawal orders at noon.49
facing the I and IX Corps in the west,
Ridgway was fully convinced that the
wisest moves were to withdraw the lat-
49 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; Rad, GX 10023
ter two corps to the Seoul bridgehead KCG, CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 2 Jan 51; Ltr,
and to pull all South Korean forces in Ridgway to Collins, 8 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0212

CHAPTER X

Withdrawal From Seoul


Out of concern for the Eighth Armys Since falling back to the bridgehead
lack of spirit and out of conviction that and line C would endanger the for-
recovery depended largely on im- wardmost army supply points, Ridgway
proved leadership, General Ridgway ordered the evacuation of all installa-
in his noontime withdrawal orders to tions located between lines C and D,
Milburn and Coulter on 1 January em- including the Inchon port complex.
phasized their responsibility to conduct Though Inchon was a major installa-
strong delaying actions. In particular, tion, the gradual reduction of its stocks,
he wanted them to withdraw in day- under way since the Eighth Army with-
light so that they could add air support drew below Pyongyang, would simplify
to their attacks against enemy troops its closing.3
who followed the I and IX Corps to the
Seoul bridgehead. 1
To the Seoul Bridgehead
He repeated these instructions dur-
ing the afternoon and ordered the General Milburn started his moves
three South Korean corps to withdraw. in midafternoon on the 1st, holding the
The ROK III and I Corps were to oc- ROK 1st Division forward as cover
cupy line C from the junction of while setting the 25th Division and Brit-
the Pukhan and Han rivers eastward ish 29th Brigade in the western and
through Hongch'on to Wonpo-ri on eastern halves of his bridgehead sector.
the coast. As a preliminary to consoli- He also withdrew the Rangers and
dating South Korean forces in a nar- Turks from Kanghwa Island and the
rower sector in the east and to commit- blunt end of the Kimpo peninsula into
ting the X Corps in the central region, positions just northwest of Kimpo air-
ROK II Corps headquarters was to re- field. This move extended the I Corps
lease its single division temporarily to arc below the Han off the left flank of
ROK Army control and leave the front the 25th Division but did not uncover
to help with rear area security. The Inchon.4
X Corps, whose command group was
moving northward from Kyongju more
ROKA et al., 1 Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Briefing for
slowly than anticipated, was now ex- CG, 1 Jan 51; Rad, AG IN 11626-B, CG X Corps to
pected to establish a command post at CG Eighth Army, 2 Jan 51.
Ch'ungju and take control of the 2d 3 Eighth Army Admin O 32, 1 Jan 51; 3d Log Comd
Comd Rpt, Jan 51.
Division by evening of the 2d.2 4 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; I Corps Comd Rpt,
Nar, Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl, Sum, 1 Jan 51; Courier
1 Ltr, Ridgway to Collins, 8 Jan 51. Msg, CG I Corps to CG 25th Div et al., 011400 Jan 51;
2 Rad, GX-l-48 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S 25th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0213

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 193

The British brigade, having moved less it is clear that their relief will result
north under Milburns previous order by [sic] the loss of equal or greater
to counterattack, needed only to march numbers. Ridgway, in any case, had
east to reach its bridgehead position not designed the Seoul bridgehead as a
which it occupied by 1800.5 Taking last-stop position, and he counter-
longer to make a covered withdrawal manded Milburns instructions.7
from line B, although without enemy Milburn had ordered the ROK 1st
contact, the 25th Division was fully de- Division to wait until daylight on the
ployed at the bridgehead by midnight 2d to withdraw. On the way back Gen-
after establishing outposts astride eral Paik was to drop off a regiment to
Route 1 some three miles above its main reinforce the British brigade at the
position.6 bridgehead, then take his remaining
Milburn inadvertently collided with forces into defenses along the lower
Ridgway by ordering General Kean and bank of the Han directly beneath Seoul.
the British brigade commander, Briga- Through the afternoon of the 1st,
dier Thomas Brodie, to defend the Paiks forces received several heavy at-
bridgehead at all costs. Ridgway tacks and backed off about three miles
claimed such an order as his preroga- to the southwest as the Chinese began
tive. Milburns directive also ran some- to widen their wedge. After a lull last-
what counter to what Ridgway consid- ing almost to midnight, the Chinese
ered an important step in restoring again tested Paiks position, pushing
confidence among the rank and file, light forces south against a battalion of
that of assuring them that their safety the 15th Regiment at the point of the
was an immediate concern of their com- salient. This push proved preliminary
manders. He expected his command to to a hard attack at 0300 that sliced
fight hard, but he also was doing through the battalion and carried the
everything I could think of to impress Chinese two miles south before its im-
upon the Corps and Division Com- petus faded.8
manders that no unit was to be left to Though still engaged at daylight,
be overwhelmed and destroyed; that the South Koreans had not given any
any units that are cut off will not be more ground. Paik broke contact by
abandoned, but will be fought for un- regiment, sending each southwest to
Pongilchon-ni on Route 1 where Mil-
burn had assembled trucks to carry
5 Brigadier Thomas Brodie, the brigade com- Paiks forces the remaining distance
mander, noted in his order of the day that this was
the brigades first appearance at the front since its
south. By midnight the 11th Regiment
arrival in Korea: At last after weeks of frustration we joined the British, and the remainder
have nothing between us and the Chinese. I have no
intention that this Brigade Group will retire before
the enemy unless ordered by higher authority in or-
der to conform with general movement. If you meet 7 Courier Msg, CG I Corps to CG 25th Div et al.,
him you are to knock hell out of him with everything 011400 Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 1 Jan 51;
you have got. You are only to give ground on my MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Policies,
orders. Order of the Day, Brig Thomas Brodie, Com- p. 368.
manding 29 Independent Infantry Brigade Group, 1 8 Courier Msg, CG I Corns to CG 25th Div et al.,
Jan 51, copy in I Corps G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51. 011400 Jan 51; Msg, CG I Corps to CG 29th Brit Brig
6 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl, 1 and CG 1st ROK Inf Div, 011630 Jan 51; I Corps
Jan 51; 25th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. PORs 333 and 334. 1 Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl, 2 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0214

194 EBB AND FLOW

of the division was spreading out to oc- regiments manned bridgehead sectors
cupy its river position below Seoul. 9 before midnight, tying in with the at-
In the IX Corps sector, General tached 7th Cavalry, which earlier had
Coulter planned to withdraw to the occupied the southeastern end of the
bridgehead in two steps: to line Wolf, a bridgehead. 12
delaying position fifteen miles below In taking the ROK 6th Division
line B, then to the bridgehead itself an- off line B, General Chang originally
other eight miles south. He opened the planned to move cross-country to Tok-
first step at 1400 on the 1st, leaving the chong, then use Route 33 to pass be-
move below the Wolf line to be taken hind the British 27th Brigade and
when mutually agreed by the 24th and complete his move. But before the divi-
ROK 6th Division commanders. He di- sion got under way, Chinese forces
rected the 24th Division, reinforced by pushed out of the salient in the adja-
the 7th Regiment of the 1st Cavalry cent ROK 1st Division area and occu-
Division, to man the bridgehead line pied Tokchong. To avoid having to
and the ROK 6th Division and remain- fight through the town, Chang elected
der of the 1st Cavalry Division to oc- to withdraw cross-country all the way.13
cupy line C along the lower bank of the Unlike the 24th Divisions easy de-
Han eastward from a point opposite parture from line B, the 2d Regiment
the right flank of the bridgehead.10 covering the remainder of the ROK 6th
Left to their own devices, General from positions facing both north and
Church and General Chang planned west close by the division and corps
no stay at the Wolf line except that left boundary suffered heavy casualties
Church would leave two battalions from hard attacks by Chinese coming
there to help cover both divisions. They out of the ROK 1st Division area and
also would have cover on the vulnera- down Route 33. A prisoner taken from
ble west flank from the British 27th a group advancing along Route 33 iden-
Brigade now in position just below tified his unit as the 118th Division,
Tokchong near the west end of line 40th Army, apparently the force sighted
Wolf. 11 earlier in the day moving south from
Each division protected its own ini- Chorwon.14
tial withdrawal. The 24th, in a column After breaking contact, the 2d Regi-
of regiments with the covering forces ment, like the remainder of the divi-
falling in at the tail end, moved with- sion that had started south through the
out contact down Route 3 to Uijongbu hills before it, ran into small groups of
at the left anchor of the corps bridge- Chinese who previously had infiltrated
head position. Behind the two battal- the divisions lines. For reasons that
ions left at the Wolf line, Churchs three never became entirely clear, but proba-
bly because of these encounters and the
9 I Corps PORs 335 and 336, 2 Jan 5I; I Corps G3 difficulties of moving cross-country, the
Jnl, 2 Jan 51.
10IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps Opn
Plan 6, 29 Dec 50; Change 1 to IsX Corps Opn Plan 6, 12IX Corps G3 Msg File, Jan 51; 24th Div Comd
29 Dec 50; IX Corps Opn Dir 20, 1 Jan 51. Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
11IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army 13IX Corpss G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51.
G3 Jnl, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps POR 294, 1 Jan 51; 24th 14IX Corps G3 Msg File, Jan 51; Eighth Army PIR
Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. 174, 2 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0215

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 195

division broke up into disorganized further encounter the brigade and Gen-
groups before it reached the Wolf line. eral Churchs two covering battalions
By dark General Chang had lost all con- withdrew from the Wolf line before
trol of his forces.15 midnight, the battalions rejoining their
To assist the withdrawal, Coulter regiments while the British assembled
had established an entrucking point on near the northeastern limits of Seoul as
Route 33 about three miles north of a reserve for the fully committed 24th
Seoul where Changs forces were to be Division. 18
directed for motor lift to their line C
position. By daylight on the 3d only
The Outlook, 2 January
the equivalent of four battalions had
assembled at that point. General Chang On the 2d, as the ROK 1st and 6th
used a IX Corps plane to search for his Divisions made their way back to Seoul
troops during the morning, and addi- and as the remainder of the I and IX
tional entrucking points were set up to Corps settled more solidly into their
accelerate the movement of troops as bridgehead and line C positions, the
they filtered south. About ninety truck- deepest known point of Chinese ad-
loads were carried south of the Han vance had been marked by the previ-
through the day, but the head count, ous nights engagements with the Brit-
even at 0900 on 3 January, stood ish at Tokchong. Chinese forces were
at only six thousand, or about half at least within nine miles of the bridge-
the divisions original strength; of head and probably nearer. In view of
these, only twenty-five hundred were the rate of advance the Chinese had
infantry. 16 sustained so far, attacks could be ex-
As the disorganization of the ROK pected at the bridgehead on the 3d.
6th Division became apparent, Coulter The next attacks probably would be
ordered the 1st Cavalry Division to stronger than those at line B. Four divi-
spread out into the line C sector pre- sions now had been identified in the I
viously assigned to Chang. Since and IX Corps sectors, and a fifth had
Coulter had given the 7th Cavalry to hit the ROK 5th Division in the ROK
the 24th Division and also had taken I II Corps sector. These five, while
the bulk of the 5th Cavalry to reconsti- not a great number, represented four
tute a corps reserve after moving the armies, the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 66th.
British 27th Brigade to Tokchong, Gen- These armies could, and very likely
eral Gay hasd to stretch his remaining would, commit additional divisions.
forces thin to cover the two division Moreover, the 50th Army, known to be
sectors.17 in the Kaesong area, could easily join
Meanwhile, between 1700 and 2130 the offensive by moving on Seoul via
on the 1st, the British 27th Brigade had Route 1, and the 42d Army, concen-
driven off three small Chinese groups trated near Kumhwa, could advance
at its Tokchong position. But without toward Seoul over Route 3 or south

15 IX Corps G3 Msg File, Jan 51.


16 Ibid. 18 IX Corps G3 Msg File, Jan 51; IX Corps Comd
17 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 2 Jan 51; 1st Cav Div Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps POR 295, 1 Jan 51; 24th
Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0216

196 EBB AND FLOW

toward Kapyong and Chunchon. route from Kyongju in the far south-
The Seoul bridgehead was, at best, east were the X Corps 92d and 96th
precarious. 19 Field Artillery Battalions. Reasoning
Further testimony on just how pre- that General Almonds artillery could
carious the position was came from en- best be used against the main enemy
gineers on duty at the Han bridges who effort, Ridgway had ordered the two
reported on the 2d that the river was battalions forward in the west; they
frozen solid enough to support foot were to be divided between the I and
traffic, as evidenced by Korean civil- IX Corps. He also ordered the 3d Divi-
ians leaving the Seoul area. The forces sion to move two regiments and a com-
above the city faced not only the likeli- mand group to the Ansong-Pyongtaek
hood of strong frontal attacks and the region on 4 January and to bring its
chance of being enveloped by enemy remaining units forward as soon as it
forces to the east but also the possibility became possible to transport them. All
of being trapped by enemy forces cross- but one company of the 72d Tank
ing the ice just outside the flanks of the Battalion, previously taken from the 2d
bridgehead.20 Division, now had joined the IX Corps
Civilians moving in large numbers to- and been attached to the 24th Division.
ward the bridgehead from the area just The remaining company was en route
vacated as well as south out of the Seoul to Suwon to join the 187th Airborne
area posed additional dangers. Enemy Regimental Combat Team, which
forces could use the civilian movement Ridgway had alerted for counterattacks,
toward the bridgehead as cover for particularly in the Yangpyong and
their own advance, and, to the rear, Yoju areas, two Han River crossing sites
any mass milling on the main lines of on the IX Corps right flank twenty-five
communication could seriously inter- and forty miles southeast of Seoul.22
fere with troop and supply movements. Ridgways instructions to Brig. Gen.
Ridgway consequently issued instruc- Frank S. Bowen, Jr.s combat team were
tions on 2 January that refugees were a hedge against a surprise appearance
not to be permitted to pass through a of enemy forces pushing in from the
forward position and that those mov- northeast or east. Indeed, what had
ing out of the Seoul-Inchon area were happened or was likely to happen in
to be levered away from Route 1 to the South Korean corps sectors re-
lesser roads on either side.21 mained difficult for Ridgway to ascer-
By nightfall on the 2d Ridgway com- tain. From reports reaching him on the
pleted or started several other moves
to strengthen his position in the west. 22 Ibid.; Rad, GX--1-3 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to
The Thailand battalion, previously with CGs I, IX, and X Corps, 31 Dec 50; Rid, GX-l-82
KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps and CG
the 187th Airborne Regimental Com-
187th Abn RCT, 1 Jan 51; Rad, GX-1-101 KGOO,
bat Team at Suwon, joined the British CG Eighth Army to CG, IX Corps and CG 187th Abn
29th Brigade in the bridgehead. En RCT, 2 Jan 51; Eighth Army POR 520, 1 Jan 51;
Rad, GX-1-138 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG 3d
Inf Div, 2 Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 2 Jan 51;
19 Eighth Army PIR 174, 2 Jan 51. Eighth Army G3 Briefing for CG, 3 Jan 51; Eighth
20 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 2 Jan 51. Army G3 Jnl, 3 Jan 51; I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar,
21 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0217

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 197

2d he knew that the ROK Capital Divi- The corps lineup was to include the
sion on the east coast had reached line U.S. 2d and 7th Divisions and the ROK
C without contact, but about the most 2d, 5th, and 8th Divisions. General Al-
that could be positively said of the re- mond was to block enemy advances
maining ROK divisions was that no one from the direction of Chunchon as
knew for sure where the were or what well as from the northeast and east out
condition they were in. 23 of the North Korean salient. This as-
The ROK 2d Division on the ROK signment gave Almond the immediate
III Corps left apparently was in bad task of locating and gaining control of
shape. One regiment was reported to the three South Korean divisions, and
be almost completely disorganized. The he had yet to bring up the remainder
other two were believed to be cut off of the 7th Division from the south. For
about live miles north of Kapyong by the time being, his defense would de-
66th Army forces who had moved in be- pend mainly on the U.S. 2d Division.26
hind the 2d after penetrating the left With the intention of establishing po-
flank of the ROK 5th Division. Ridgway sitions below the North Korean salient,
knew nothing about the ROK 5th and Ridgway ordered the ROK III Corps
8th Divisions but had received an air to take control of the ROK 9th Division
observers report that Chunchon had and use it along with the ROK 7th
fallen during the afternoon of the 2d. Division to organize a line through the
The one ROK III Corps unit he could steeper mountains between the X Corps
definitely locate was the reserve 7th and the ROK I Corps. But the ROK
Division, which, except for a missing 9th Division was scattered, and two
regiment, was assembling twenty miles of its regiments were reported sur-
northwest of Wonju.24 rounded. This situation and the ROK
The most Ridgway knew about the 7th Divisions current location far to the
ROK 3d Division was that it was slowly west in the new X Corps sector posed
backing out of its ROK II Corps sector problems of movement and consolida-
and moving southwestward over Route tion not easily solved.27
24 toward Hongchon. According to Similarly, Ridgway directed the ROK
plans, the division would continue I Corps to take control of the ROK 3d
south until it could move laterally Division and emplace it in the moun-
below the North Korean salient and tains west of the Capital Division. This,
assemble at Pyongchang, twenty-five though, could be done only after the
miles east of Wonju.25 3d Division completed its circuitous
In an attempt to stabilize the line in march from the west. In the meantime
the central region, Ridgway ordered the there would be no forces between the
X Corps to assume responsibility on 3 Capital Division on the east coast and
January for a 35-mile sector of line C the 2d Division in and above Wonju
centered approximately on Route 29. capable of withstanding a North Ko-
rean push south out of the Hongchon
23 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 2 Jan 51; Eighth Army PORs salient.28
521, 522, and 523, 2 Jan 51.
24 Ibid.; X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. 26 Ibid.; Eighth Army Opn 0 109, 2 Jan 51
25 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 2 Jan 51; Eighth Army PORs 27 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, Jan 51.
521, 522, and 523, 2 Jan 51. 28 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0218

198 EBB AND FLOW

Faced with these near-chaotic condi- 29th Brigade, opening a strong attack
tions in the east and the imminent on the Northumberland Fusiliers at the
arrival of Chinese forces at the bridge- brigade right at 0730 and then striking
head, Ridgway reminded his forces that still harder at the Royal Ulster Rifles
they would defend their positions only on the left. The Fusiliers gave ground
as long as they could do so without risk and two companies of the Rifles were
of being enveloped or trapped. The overrun, but counterattacks by infan-
danger of entrapment applied espe- try and tanks recaptured the lost posi-
cially to the I and IX Corps. Yet, while tions in midafternoon and forced the
he attached this limit to the defense of Chinese to disengage.31
the bridgehead, he did not intend that In the IX Corps sector, leading units
Milburn and Coulter adopt only an of the 40th and 38th Armies opened light
alert wait-and-see attitude. On the pre- jabs and small arms fire against the
vious day, through either lack of effort 24th Division about 0500. The small
or lack of opportunity, neither Milburn attacks-the largest by a company at
nor Coulter had executed the punish- the division left-hit but failed to pene-
ing attacks Ridgway had directed. Ir- trate the 21st Infantry and finally died
ritated by this failure, Ridgway per- out at midmorning. In the 19th Infan-
sonnally made it clear to both corps try sector to the east of the 21st, the 2d
commanders on the 2d that these Battalion steadily lost ground to attacks
attacks would be made.29 that grew from company to regiment
in size. Counterattacks well supported
by air and artillery restored the battal-
The Evacuation of Seoul ion line early in the afternoon, but not
The Chinese first hit the Seoul without a continued contest for the
bridgehead from the northwest along ground regained.32
Route 1. The 50th Army sent forces By noon on the 3d the attacks on the
against the I Corps left, those in the bridgehead convinced Ridgway that a
van reaching the outpost line of the withdrawal below Seoul had to start
25th Division just before 0300 on the soon. While the assaults themselves
3d. Forced back by the encounter, the were not overwhelming, they laid the
outpost troops passed behind the main proverbial final straw on a heavy bur-
division position two hours later. Either den of other problems and disadvan-
pursuing troops of the 50th or west tages. The administrative and logistical
flank forces of the 39th Army next complexity of moving close to seventy-
opened small arms fire on the 35th In- five thousand troops and their equip-
fantry on the division right.30 ment across the Han was a prime
Other forces of the 39th marching concern. So was the problem of clear-
south through the hills west of Route ing the Seoul area of ROK national,
33 meanwhile approached the British provincial, and local government offi-
cials, foreigners who included an

29 Eighth Army Opn O 109, 2 Jan 51; Ltr, Ridgway 31 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I Corps POR
to Collins, 8 Jan 51. 339, 3 Jan 51.
30 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I Corps POR 32 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps POR
338, 3 Jan 51. 300, 3 Jan 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0219

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 199

American Embassy group, and possi- preempt the bridges, or Ridgway would
bly the citys entire populace.33 have to employ drastic measures against
A limited number of bridges would the civilians to regain the crossings for
complicate the river crossing. All per- military use.
manent bridges had been destroyed in Enemy operations east of the bridge-
past days, and none had been repaired. head also had a strong influence on
Just two engineer structures, one 50-ton Ridgways decision. In the deep North
hybrid M4-M4A2 floating bridge and Korean salient extending south from
one 50-ton shoofly (decked railroad) Inje, the division and reinforced regi-
bridge spanned the Han directly below ment earlier estimated to be in the
Seoul behind the I Corps; just one 50- Hongchon area were now identified as
ton M2 floating bridge, four miles east the 2d Division of the North Korean II
of Seoul, crossed the river behind the Corps and the 12th Division of the North
IX Corps. Only five floating footbridges Korean V Corps. According to current
were available for the potentially large estimates, these two corps together con-
civilian exodus. The ice was solid trolled either ten or twelve divisions.
enough to support pedestrians but not Intelligence sources, moreover, contin-
vehicles.34 ued to report the movement of the
The bridges, moreover, were vulner- North Korean III Corps, which had
able. The Chinese had not yet made three divisions, from the Wonsan-
any lasting penetration of the bridge- Hamhung region to the Inje area.35
head, but if stronger attacks succeeded, Apparently shaping up were a North
they could deploy artillery far enough Korean attack to seize the Wonju rail
forward to destroy the crossings. Since and road center and a concurrent at-
the Han in the Seoul area was tidal and tempt, as evidenced by strong guerrilla
threw up chunks of ice as the water operations along Route 29 as far south
level shifted, the river itself was a threat. as Tanyang forty miles below Wonju,
Although engineers were on round-the- to cut off the forces defending the
clock duty to protect the spans from ice North Korean objective. Since the ene-
damage, the periodic upheavals never- mys seizure of Wonju would prevent
theless could tear loose the supporting the Eighth Army from using the cen-
pontons at any time. Another danger tral rail line to support operations in
was the possibility that panic-stricken the Seoul area, Ridgway now consid-
civilians might surge from Seoul and ered the North Korean effort in the
overwhelm the troops guarding the east to be a well-planned maneuver
crossings. Either of two results would timed and tied to the main Chinese at-
be calamitous: civilian traffic would tack in the west.36
That the X, ROK III, and ROK I
Corps could establish an adequate de-
33 MS Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
cies, p. 373; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I fense in the east remained, at best,
Corps G3 Jnl, 4 Jan 51. General Ridgway estimated uncertain. General Almond, with char-
Eighth Army troops north of the Han to have num-
bered a hundred thousand, but the records do not
acteristic alertness, viewed the presence
support this high figure.
35 Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Jan 51; X Corps Comd
33 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
cies, p. 373; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I
36Ibid.; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
Corps G3 Jnl, 4 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0220

200 EBB AND FLOW

of North Korean forces between his D defenses. The forces in the west
three ROK divisions retiring from the therefore faced an increasing threat of
north and his 2d Division in the Wonju deep envelopment, a threat that would
area as an opportunity for a hammer- become an immediate danger if Wonju
and-anvil maneuver with the South Ko- fell since Route 20 led some fifty-five
reans pounding the enemy against Gen- miles due west from Wonju to an inter-
eral McClures positions. But Almond section with Route 1 at Suwon.39
had yet to get a grip on the hammer. Closer to Seoul, the 66th Army, possi-
There was still no definite word on the bly with help from the 42d Army,
whereabouts of the ROK 5th and 8th now had occupied Kapyong, and at
Divisions, and the latest information on 0800 on the 3d a long column of Chi-
the ROK 2d Division indicated that two nese was sighted moving southwest of
of its regiments were still surrounded Kapyong on the Chunchon-Seoul
and that the third had been reduced to road, its head within fifteen miles of
a battalion.37 the 1st Cavalry Division on the IX
Nor had the ROK III Corps com- Corps right flank. As General Ridgway
mander, Brig. Gen. Lee Hyung Keun, reasoned the possibilities, the Chinese
yet occupied any part of his line C could veer to the east around the caval-
sector. The ROK 7th Division was fully rymen, then strike west to cut Route
assembled but was still northwest of 1.40
Wonju, and the ROK 9th Division was All factors considered, Ridgway con-
still engaged and much disorganized cluded that the risk to his command
north of line C. Brig. Gen. Kim Paik had reached the critical point. At mid-
Il, the ROK I Corps commander, had morning on the 3d he alerted his forces
had no more success in emplacing the that he probably would withdraw the
ROK 3d Division in the mountains ad- bridgehead units later that day and that
jacent to the Capital Divisions coastal when the bulk of them were south of
position. The 3d Division had been lo- the Han he would pull the entire Eighth
cated in perimeter around Hongchon, Army from line C to line D. For the
a long way from the new sector assigned move out of the bridgehead, he handed
to it.38 General Milburn responsibility for con-
In view of the obvious design of the trolling traffic over the Han bridges
North Korean move below Inje, the and placed Brig. Gen. Charles D. Pal-
depth of gains already registered, the mer, the artillery commander of the 1st
sizable North Korean forces that could Cavalry Division, under Milburn for
be added to the operation, and the dis- that particular duty.41
array of Eighth Army units in the east,
Ridgway doubted that his eastern forces 39 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth
could organize and hold line C. His G-3, Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 3 Jan 51; MS, Ridgway, The Ko-
Colonel Dabney, believed they would rean War, Issues and Policies, p. 373.
40 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 3 Jan 51; MS, Ridgway, The
have difficulty even in establishing line Korean War, Issues and Policies, p. 373.
41 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
37 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army cies, p. 373; Rad, GX 10026 KGOO, CG Eighth Army
G3 Jnl, 3 Jan 51. to CG X Corps, 3 Jan 51; Rad, GX 10027 KGOO, CG
Eighth Army to CG I Corps, 3 Jan 51.
38 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0221

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 201

Ridgway gave the withdrawal order enemy with minimum harm to the
to Milburn and Coulter about an hour civilian population. Nothing approach-
past noon, instructing them to pull out ing scorched earth tactics would be
of the bridgehead as soon as they condoned.44
worked out a coordinated withdrawal. Milburn and Coulter already had
Below the Han, Milburn was to deploy prepared and regulated plans for pull-
to protect the final evacuation of the ing out of the bridgehead, and much
Seoul airport, Kimpo airfield, and earlier, while the Eighth Army was re-
Inchon. Coulter was to man the lower tiring to line B, Milburn had devised a
bank of the river from the eastern edge system for controlling traffic over the
of Yongdungpo, the industrial suburb Han bridges that with one change
or Seoul, to the junction of the Han remained workable. The earlier plan
and Pukhan eighteen miles east. Both called for the I and IX Corps to cross
were to stand ready for Ridgways sig- the river at widely separated points,
nal to withdraw to line D.42 Milburn using the two bridges directly
Again because of the prevalent lack below Seoul, Coulter the single bridge
of spirit within his command, Ridgway east of the city. The two commanders
wrote out instructions on two matters now agreed that more than half of the
usually handled as routine. He specifi- IX Corps, including the covering force,
cally directed that no usable equipment should cross on one of the I Corps
was to be abandoned and that all sick, spans. This would facilitate Milburns
wounded, and dead were to be evacu- task of controlling all traffic and would
ated. Still irritated by a general lack of assist the eventual decision on remov-
tenacity among his principal subordi- ing the bridges.45
nates, he also explained once more that To centralize the direction of I Corps
withdrawals would be executed with forces out of the bridgehead, Milburn
all necessary coordination, with maxi- placed the British 29th Brigade under
mum losses inflicted on the enemy and General Keans control. Once below
with maximum delay, consistent with Seoul, the 25th Division was to occupy
the maintenance intact of all your ma- line C above Kimpo airfield between
jor units.43 the ROK 1st Division and the Turkish
Disturbed also after observing that brigade while the British continued
in large part demolitions executed in south and assembled at Suwon. Kean
the past appeared to be destruction for was to set a regiment near Seouls
destructions sake, he had announced northwestern edge to cover I Corps
on 2 January a policy that was to gov- movements through the city itself,
ern during this and any future with- coordinating the operations of this
drawals. The execution of demolitions covering regiment with its IX Corps
and necessary military destruction in counterpart, the British 27th Brigade,
South Korea, he insisted, shall be such
as to combine maximum hurt to the 44 Ltr, CG Eighth Army to CG 1 Corps et al., 2 Jan
51, sub: Demolition Policy in South Korea. Ridgway
also sent a copy of this letter to the Fifth Air Force.
42 Rad, GX-l-236 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S 45 I Corps Opn Dir 34, 1 Jan 51; IX Corps Opn Plan
ROKA et al., 3 Jan 51. 7, 1 Jan 51; I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51,
43 Ibid.; Rad, GX-1-207 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to sub: Corps Control Activities, 2-4 January 1951, with
C/S ROKA et al., 3 Jan 51. Incls, in I Corps G3 Jnl, 4 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0222

202 EBB AND FLOW

in position at Seouls northeastern out- ers to stop all civilian traffic through
skirts. Keans covering force, the 27th their sectors, using their own judgment
Infantry, also was to protect the pas- in the use of gunfire. When he asked
sage of the British 27th Brigade and ROK government officials to notify
the removal of the bridges and was to Seoul citizens of these instructions, he
be the last unit out of Seoul.46 explained that the eventual stoppage
By the IX Corps withdrawal plan, of civilian movement would save Ko-
including the change for crossing the rean lives by preventing enemy forces
Han, the 24th Division was to peel off from using refugees, as they had in the
the bridgehead line by regiment, begin- past, to cover their own advance.48
ning at the left. The first two regiments As a result of I Corps activity over
off the line and division troops were to the previous two weeks, the sticky prob-
cross the Han bridge east of Seoul. The lem of civilian evacuation was not as
remaining two regiments and the Brit- great as it might have been. Under the
ish covering force were to use the I guidance and urging of Milburns civil
Corps shoofly bridge. After crossing the assistance officers, most nonessential
river, the 7th Cavalry was to return to government employees and the fami-
its parent division while the 24th Divi- lies of government officials already had
sion with the British brigade attached left the city. Refugee camps holding Ko-
passed behind line C and assembled in reans who previously had come into the
corps reserve. city from the north had been cleared.
All inmates of Seouls prisons and jails,
The Civilian Exodus the staffs and patients of all but one
hospital, and the small residents of most
After giving the word to withdraw,
orphanages also had been sent south.
Ridgway set 1500 on the 3d as the last
Likewise, all ROK currency and money
moment that civilian traffic could use
plates and the holdings of archives,
the Han bridges. Other than specific
museums, and galleries had been
exceptions he might authorize, the ap-
shipped out.49
proach and exit roads would be closed
Still in Seoul were members of the
after that time to all but Eighth Army
ROK national, provincial, and city
movements. Unsure of the civilian reac-
governments, United Nations Commis-
tion to being ordered off the main
sion for the Unification and Rehabilita-
roads and bridges, he passed instruc-
tion of Korea, and U.S. Embassy. With
tions through General Milburn to the
I Corps assistance, they had prepared
traffic coordinator, General Palmer,
evacuation plans. Arrangements for re-
that the latters military police first were
moving other Americans and foreign
to fire over the heads of evacuees who
refused to stay clear of Route 1 and as
a very last resort fire at them. Similarly, 48 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; MS, Ridg-
way, The Korean War, Issues and Policies, pp. 374-75;
Ridgway authorized corps command- General Charles D. Palmer, MS review comments,
1985.
46 I Corps Opn Dir 34, 1 Jan 51' I Corps POR
339, 49 I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51, sub:
3 Jan 51; 25th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51, Incl 3.
47 IX Corps Opn Plan 7, 1 Jan 51; 24th Div OI 84, 2 50 The U.N. Commission (UNCURK) had come to
Jan 51; I Corps Memo, DCofS for CofS, 9 Jan 51, Korea the past fall when a UNC victory had seemed
sub: Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51, Incl 5. near.
KWP-EBB-0223

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 203

nationals still in the city, mostly mission-


aries and members of missions and
consulates, were included in the U.S.
Embassy plan. All these people were
excepted from the ban on civilian use
of Route 1 below Seoul and were given
special vehicle markers to identify their
status.51
General Milburn also had deployed
his traffic control force. On the morn-
ing of the 2d, Col. C. H. Unger, I Corps
deputy chief of staff and officer in
charge of traffic control, opened the
main control point on a large sand flat
just below the two I Corps bridges.
Ungers staff included the corps G-l,
provost marshal, engineer, and a sig-
nal officer. To regulate and guide traf-
fic to the proper river crossings, mili-
tary police, ROK National Police, and
Seoul metropolitan police took station
at traffic control points within Seoul. AN AGEDREFUGEEgets a lift acrossthe
To channel civilians away from Route Han River south of Seoul,January 1951.
1 south of the Han, other police posted
themselves in Yongdungpo and along
Route 1 and lesser roads below the of the 3d and was largely accomplished
Seoul suburb. The corps civil affairs before the leading bridgehead forces
officer along with military and national reached the Han. Eighth Army civil af-
police stationed themselves at two areas fairs officers joined the I Corps control
in Seoul where those civilians privileged crew specifically to assist the movement
to use Route 1 were to be assembled, of ROK national government officials
checked, and dispatched. Finally, corps to Pusan, the new seat of government.
staff officers went to the 25th and 24th To get these and all of the other offi-
Divisions to act as liaison between the cials out, Ridgways deadline on civil-
covering forces, which would be last to ian use of bridges had to be extended
come through Seoul, and the main to 1800, but the extension created no
corps control point.52 particular problem at the crossings.53
By virtue of these I Corps arrange- The one major hitch in plans occurred
ments, the civilian evacuation was well at 2000 on the 3d when Korean utility
under way by the time the overall employees, designated to stay on the
supervisor, General Palmer, arrived at job until relieved and then taken south
the corps control point on the morning
53 Ambassador Muccios assistant and a few other
51 I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51, sub: American officials were still at the U.S. Consulate
Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51; ibid., Incl 3. building at 0800 on 4 January. They were evacuated
within the next hour.
KWP-EBB-0224

204 EBB AND FLOW

on a train standing by for them, shut Davidson, assistant division commander


down operations and left on their own. of the 24th and officer in charge at the
They left Seoul without water and elec- M2 crossing, had the I Corps liaison
tric power.54 officer, who had posted himself at the
Seoul citizens afoot struggled with bridge, radio the main control point for
heavy burdens of personal belongings permission to dismantle the bridge.
over the footbridges and across the ice Hampered by pins and other bridge
until about daylight on the 4th. By 0600 parts frozen in place and by parts
engineers demolished all the foot- jammed through long and heavy use,
bridges, and at 0800 leaflets prepared troops of the 19th Engineer Group
by the I Corps were dropped from the worked five hours to disassemble the
air above the river to advise civilians structure but with only partial success.
that further crossing of the Han River Around 0730 General Davidson or-
are prohibited. Anyone attempting to dered the remainder of the bridge
cross will be fired upon. By Command destroyed.57
of the UN Commander. The civilian Between midnight and 0900 on the
exodus soon dwindled and stopped; no 4th, General Churchs remaining
firing was necessary. By that time, Seoul units-the 5th Regimental Combat
had few inhabitants. Some six hundred Team, 7th Cavalry, and British 27th
thousand, about half the population, Brigade-passed south of the Han over
had gone south, and most of the re- the I Corps shoofly bridge. Through-
mainder had moved to nearby villages out the withdrawal neither the line
north of the Han.55 regiments nor the British covering
force were engaged. General Coulter
The IX Corps Withdrawal later surmised that the Chinese had de-
ployed in front of the bridgehead to
After receiving Ridgways warning
such an extent that they were unable to
order on the 3d, General Coulter noti-
pursue.58
fied General Church to begin withdraw-
ing at noon. Other than this anticipa-
The I Corps Withdrawal
tion of Ridgways actual starting signal,
which itself caused no complication, the None of the I Corps bridgehead units
IX Corps withdrawal from the bridge- was engaged when General Milburn or-
head resembled a well-executed train- dered them to withdraw at 1600 on the
ing exercise.56 3d, but the leading forces of the 50th
The last truck carrying division and 39th Armies lay just outside the
troops and the 21st and 19th Regiments bridgehead line. Air observers reported
passed over the M2 bridge east of Seoul large movements of enemy troops and
at 0200 on the 4th. As the last serials equipment, including artillery, toward
began to cross, Brig. Gen. Garrison H.
57 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps PORs
300 and 301, 3 Jan 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan
54 I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51, sub: 51; I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51, sub:
Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51; ibid., Incl 3; Gen Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51, Incl 5.
Palmer, MS review comments, 1985. 58 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps POR
55 Ibid.; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. 301, 3 Jan 51, and PORs 302 and 303, 4 Jan 51; 1st
56 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps POR Cav Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt,
300, 3 Jan 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0225

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 205

A CARTLOAD OF VERY YOUNG REFUGEES

Seoul over both Routes 1 and 33. miles above the city to cover the with-
Though the 38th and 40th Armies drawal of the leftmost 24th Infantry.
seemed to have bogged down before The other two battalions straddled
the IX Corps, the Chinese in front of Route 1 five miles above Seoul to pro-
Milburn appeared to be in suitable posi- tect the passage of the 35th Infantry
tion and formation to press and pur- and the British 29th Brigade. The re-
sue his bridgehead forces.59 connaissance company furnished con-
Before opening a left-to-right with- tact between battalions and Colonel
drawal, General Kcan placed the 27th Michaelis command post and with the
Infantry, reinforced by the division re- IX Corps covering force.60
connaissance company and supported The 24th and 35th Regiments passed
by a battery of the 8th Field Artillery behind Michaelis cover without enemy
Battalion, in a covering position three interference and by 0100 on the 4th
to five miles northwest of Seoul. One were south of the Han en route to line
battalion sat astride the rail line and a C sectors. When the British 29th Bri-
secondary road near the Han three gade started back at 1845, the prospect

59 Rad, CG I Corps to CG 25th Div et al., 031700 60Corps


I POR 340, 3 Jan 51; 25th Div Comd Rpt,
Jan 51 (confirms oral orders); I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 27th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 27th
Nar, Jan 51. Inf Opn O 3, 2 Jan 51, and Opn O 4, 3 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0226

206 EBB AND FLOW

THE LAST BRIDGE OVER THE HAN RIVER at Seoul is demolished, 4 January 1951.

was that it, too, would escape engage- unit commanders, including those of
ment. But just before midnight a strong the IX Corps, met at Colonel Michaelis
39th Army force surrounded and at- command post around 0900 and con-
tacked the brigade rear guard, com- sidered sending a rescue force from the
posed of Company B and part of the 27th Infantry, Brodie would not per-
heavy weapons company of the Royal mit Michaelis to risk losing troops in an
Ulster Rifles plus a dozen tanks, and attempt to free the rear guard. Nor
blocked its withdrawal.61 would Brodie himself attempt a rescue.
Neither Brigadier Brodie nor Gen- The trapped troops, he said, would
eral Kean made any immediate attempt have to knock it out for themselves.
to rescue the trapped British troops. Some of the rear guard did knock it
When General Ridgway learned that out, but most, between two hundred
nothing had been done, he sent orders fifty and three hundred men and at
that every effort would be made to ex- least ten tanks, were lost.62
tricate them. But when all bridgehead
62 Interv, Mossman, Carroll, and Miller with Ridg-
61 I Corps POR 340, 3 Jan 51; 25th Div Comd Rpt, way, 30 Nov 56; I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan
Nar, Jan 51; Brig. Gen. C. B. Barth, Tropic Light- 51, sub: Corps Control Activities, 2-l Jan 51, 1x1 4;
ning and Taro Leaf in Korea, p. 52, copy in CMH Barth, Tropic Lightning and Taro Leaf, p. 52;
Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 4 Jan 51. Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 4 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0227

WITHDRAWAL FROM SEOUL 207


Brodies remaining forces meanwhile 1. By 0900 the 3d Battalion, too, was
crossed the Han by 0330, and Colonel under attack, but holding.64
Michaelis started his own withdrawal. The 2d Battalion meantime com-
Michaelis first pulled his 1st Battalion pleted its move below the Han while
to the northwestern edge of Seoul and the reconnaissance company deployed
set the rifle companies in blocking posi- as a screen along the northern and
tions at the rail line and road near the northeastern edges of Seoul to protect
Han, on Route 1, and on a secondary the last steps of the IX Corps with-
road just above Route 1. This closed drawal. Michaelis now planned to keep
the three principal entrances to the city his forces on the edge of the city until
in the I Corps sector. He next ordered the British 27th Brigade got south of
his remaining battalions out of their the Han. He would then send his own
Route 1 positions five miles above Seoul, forces out except for one rifle company,
instructing them and their supporting which would deploy above the last
artillery to assemble below the Han. bridge while the engineers removed it.65
Two companies of Chinese attacked the Perhaps because the officer responsi-
2d Battalion while Michaelis was ar- ble for liaison between the I Corps main
ranging his withdrawal, but the 2d held control point and the IX Corps cover-
off the assault while the 3d Battalion ing forces was at the IX Corps bridge
got onto Route 1, then successfully east of Seoul rather than with the Brit-
disengaged and followed the 3d into ish 27th Brigade, none of the officers
Seoul.63 at the control point nor Colonel Mi-
About the time the two battalions en- chaelis knew that the British unit had
tered the city, Kean instructed Michae- completed its passage over the shoofly
lis to cover the withdrawal of the re- bridge at 0900. When he finally became
maining IX Corps units and then to aware of that fact around 1100, Michae-
protect the engineers when it was time lis immediately broke contact and with-
to take out the last Han bridge. On the drew. By 1315 all of his forces, includ-
heels of this assignment, the 1st Bat- ing the company that was to have
talions leftmost company at the rail line deployed on the north bank of the
received a hard assault from three hun- Han, were below the river.66
dred to four hundred Chinese. They General Palmer meanwhile permited
were from the 39th Army, which now engineer troops to demolish the shoo-
alone was advancing on Seoul while the fly bridge and authorized the I Corps
50th Army turned south off Route 1 to- engineer to begin removing the balk
ward the Han northwest of the city. By from the M4-M4A2 bridge. At Palmers
0700 lighter attacks hit the other two request, Michaelis sent Company K
blocking companies. Good air support back to the north end of the brigade
helped the left company retain its posi- while the dismantling of the last bridge
tion while Michaelis halted the with- continued, but the companys stay was
drawal of the 3d Battalion and put it brief. After about a quarter of the deck-
on line between the rail line and Route
64 27th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 27th Inf Opn O
63 27th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 27th Inf Opn O 5, 4 Jan 51; I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
4, 3 Jan 51; I Corps Memo, DCofS to CofS, 9 Jan 51, 65 Ibid.
sub: Corps Control Activities, 2-4 Jan 51, Incl 4. 66 Ibid.
KWP-EBB-0228

208 EBB AND FLOW

ing had been removed, Palmer ordered Within an hour of Company Ks with-
the rest of the structure demolished; drawal, air observers sighted Chinese
around 1400, after two charges, the patrols inside Seoul. A reconnaissance
bridge began to sink unspectacularly as patrol sent into the city a little later by
the water that had been kept open the ROK 1st Division observed Chinese
around it began to freeze. The men of troops raising a North Korean flag over
Company K, last to come out of Seoul, city hall in the heart of town. That
walked south over the ice immediately flourish marked Seouls third change
afterward.67 of hands.68

67 Ibid.; Mono, "Dismantling and Destruction of Han


River Bridges at Seoul, l-4 January 1951," copy in 68 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army
CMH. PIR 176, 4 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0229

CHAPTER XI

Withdrawal to Line D
Even as his forces were giving up ther use of the heavier guns. Although
Seoul, General Ridgway wrote General pilots reported they had sighted and
Collins in Washington that although the attacked tanks behind enemy lines, the
Eighth Army was in for some difficult Chinese had used no armor in their
days, he was certain of its intrinsic abil- recent assaults. Nor had they employed
ity to perform well against the Chinese. air support.2
Also prompting his confidence was the In Ridgways appraisal, the Eighth
manner in which the Chinese had con- Army was opposed by an enemy whose
ducted operations since New Years only advantage is sheer numbers, whose
Day. The Chinese probe on a wide armament is far inferior quantitatively
front, he told Collins. When they and qualitatively, who has no air sup-
strike resistance their overwhelming port whatever, meager telecommunica-
numbers immediately flow around both tions and negligible armor. But while
flanks and join in the rear.1 As the Ridgway believed the Eighth Army to
North Koreans had learned when they have the strength and means to handle
met close-knit defenses for the first time the enemy, most of his commanders-
at the Pusan Perimeter, this tactic could and so most of his forces-did not share
be countered. his confidence. He had found only one
The armament employed by the Chi- or two cases where a Division has shown
nese had been largely small arms, auto- any appreciable resourcefulness in
matic weapons, and mortars. They had adapting its fighting tactics to the ter-
used some artillery in breaching line B, rain, to the enemy, and to conditions in
but problems in moving the pieces and this theater. His dominant problem
in supplying ammunition combined was to achieve the spiritual awakening
with the Eighth Armys counterbattery of the latent capabilities of this com-
fire and air support had frustrated fur- mand. If he could manage this, he was
certain that the Eighth Army would
achieve more, far more, than our peo-
1 Ltr, Ridgway to Collins, 3 Jan 51, copy in CMH.
Ridgway at this time urged Collins to press for the
ple think possible-and perhaps inflict
addition of helicopter companies to Army transporta- a bloody defeat on the Chinese which
tion facilities: Such situations [as the Chinese method even China will long remember.3
of attack] could be more effectively met and many
thousands more of the enemy destroyed, if we had
For the time being there was no es-
the capability of putting down small reconnaissance
groups on ridges and hilltops, and could withdraw 2 Eighth Army PIRs 173-176, 1-4 Jan 51; IX Corps
them at will. We could also supply temporarily iso- Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
lated units in a more efficient and economical way 3 Ltr, Ridgway to Collins, 8 Jan 51; Ltr, Ridgway to
than by parachute. Haislip, 11 Jan 51, copy in CMH.
KWP-EBB-0230

210 EBB AND FLOW

caping further withdrawal. While the the Han and hold until Air Force and
last steps in evacuating Seoul were Army supplies stocked at Suwon, ten
being taken on the 4th, Chinese patrols miles farther south and about midway
were observed investigating the Kimpo between Seoul and line D, had been
peninsula off the west flank of the I removed. Ridgway expected the sup-
Corps and were reported to be cross- plies to be cleared within twenty-four
ing the Han to the right rear of the IX to thirty-six hours.6
Corps. This reconnaissance and the Ridgway intended that the starting
concentration of Chinese forces above hour of the intermediate move provide
Seoul indicated that the enemy would time for the 3d Logistical Command to
advance below the city with hardly a finish evacuating Inchon, ASCOM
pause.4 City, and Kimpo airfield.7 (The Seoul
It was the shambles farther east, airport already had been emptied.) On
however, that made a withdrawal to line 3 January Ridgway had notified Col.
D mandatory. This segment of the John G. Hill, commander of the 3d
Eighth Army line remained a large- Logistical Command, to cease port op-
hole sieve through which an estimated erations at Inchon at noon the next
seventy thousand North Koreans day.8 The deadline seemed reasonable
grouped in the Chunchon-Inje-Hong- since the gradual reductions of stocks
chon area, and possibly Chinese forces at the port and airfield areas since early
as well, could push attacks south on the December already had brought items
Route 29 axis through Wonju and on hand to modest quantities. But un-
through the undefended mountains foreseen delays in getting some reserve
east of Route 29. Or they could move stocks released from Eighth Army staff
southwestward to envelop the I and officers, too few tankers, too little suit-
IX Corps, or both. By pulling back to able shipping for such items as long
the Pyongtaek-Ansong-Changho-won- lengths of railroad track, and an overes-
ni sector of line D, the I and IX Corps timate of the ammunition that would
would no longer be open to envelop- be issued to line troops had prevented
ment from the northeast, and the X Colonel Hill from removing all stocks
Corps and the two South Korean corps by the designated hour.g
might be able to organize a satisfactory
line in the Wonju-Wonpo-ri sector.5 6 Msg, CG Eighth Army to CG I U.S. Corps et al.,
041215 Jan 51. copy in IX Corps Comd Rpt. Jan 51;
Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
7 A former Japanese arsenal area four miles east of
Withdrawal From the Han Inchon had been christened ASCOM (Army Service
Command) City by American occupation forces in
Ridgway warned his forces around 1945 and occupied during recent operations by en-
noon on the 4th to expect orders to gineer, quartermaster, ordnance, and signal supply
depots and by Headquarters, 3d Logistical Command.
withdraw to line D, all corps abreast. In December Hill had replaced General Stewart,
The I and IX Corps in the meantime who became the assistant division commander of the
were to pull back at 2000 to intermedi- 2d Division.
9 3d Log Comd Daily Opns Rpt 103,4 Jan 51; Eighth
ate positions six to eight miles south of Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Dec 50; Hq, 3d Log Comd,
Memo, Col Hill for CG Eighth Army, 9 Jan-51, sub:
4 Eighth Army PIR 176, 4 Jan 51. Major Items Destroyed at the Port of Inchon; 3d Log
5 Ibid.; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, Jan 51. Comd G4 Hist Rpt, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0231

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 211

CONGESTION ON ROUTE 29 SOUTH OF HONGCHON during withdrawal in the cen-


tral sector, 3 January 1951.

Nor would Hill get everything out. Hill received Milburns instructions,
After receiving Ridgways noontime and the last Fifth Air Force unit except
orders, General Milburn, in whose sec- for Army aviation engineers had flown
tor the port and airfield lay, instructed from Kimpo to a new base in Japan.
Hill to execute his demolition plans as Through the afternoon these engineers
soon as he had removed all troops other burned the airfield buildings and the
than demolition crews. While back ship- drums of aviation gasoline and napalm
ment at Inchon did continue through remaining at Kimpo while Eighth Army
the favorable afternoon tide on the 4th, engineers from the 82d Engineer Pe-
Hills main attention was diverted to troleum Distribution Company de-
rendering the airfield and port facili- stroyed the four- and six-inch pipelines
ties useless to enemy forces. 10 between Inchon and Kimpo and the
All port units scheduled to travel booster pumps and storage tanks at the
south by road had gone by the time airfield. 11

10 Msg, CG I Corps to CG 25th Div et al., 041300 113d Log Comd Engr Monthly Activ Rpt, Jan 51;
Jan 51; IX Corps Opn Dir 21, 041500 Jan 51 (confirms Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, p. 259; 3d
oral orders issued 041200 Jan 51). Log Comd Daily Opns Rpt 104,5 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0232

212 EBB AND FLOW

Members of the 50th Engineer Port intermediate line northeastward to the


Construction Company began demol- junction of the Han and Pukhan
ishing the Inchon port at 1800. All rivers.14 (See Map 16)
main facilities except one pier and a Late on the 4th, while the I and IX
causeway to the small offshore island, Corps were withdrawing to positions
Wolmi-do, were destroyed. Prime tar- above Suwon, Ridgway ordered the
gets were the lock gates of the tidal withdrawal to line D to begin at noon
basin, which by compensating the Yel- on the 5th, by which time he now ex-
low Seas wide tidal range had largely pected the supplies at Suwon to have
given Inchon the capacity of a princi- been removed. All five corps were to
pal port. The demolitions at Wolmi-do withdraw abreast, meeting in the pro-
as well as the city itself were completed cess Ridgways basic requirement of
by 0300 on the 5th. Colonel Hill and maximum delay and maximum punish-
his remaining troops left by water for ment of the enemy. Ridgway speciflc-
Pusan within the hour.12 ally instructed Milburn and Coulter to
Supplies destroyed at Kimpo, include tanks in their covering forces
ASCOM City, and Inchon included and to counterattack the Chinese who
some 1.6 million gallons of petroleum followed the withdrawal.15
products, 9,300 tons of engineer Ridgway learned during the morn-
materiel, and 12 rail cars loaded with ing of the 5th that the supplies at Suwon
ammunition. While time and tide may and at the airfield south of town could
have made the destruction of this mate- not be cleared by noon. Creating the
riel unavoidable, the extensive damage delay was not only the sheer bulk of
to port facilities could not be fully the materiel but also about a hundred
justified. Denying the enemy the use of thousand desperate refugees from the
a port was theoretically sound; on the Seoul area who crowded the Suwon rail-
other hand, the United Nations Com- road yards and blocked the trains. At
mands absolute control of Korean wa- midmorning Ridgway radioed Milburn
ters made Inchons destruction pur- to stand fast until the remaining Suwon
poseless.13 stocks had been shipped out, and he
The I and IX Corps left the lower notified Coulter to leave forces to pro-
bank of the Han while Hills engineers tect the east flank of the I Corps for-
were still blowing Inchon, so Hill had ward position.16
been obliged to put out his own secu- Milburn received Ridgways instruc-
rity above the port. These outposts were tions in time to hold the bulk of the
not engaged. Neither were Milburns 25th Division and the ROK 1st Divi-
forces as they moved to positions cen- sion at the Anyang position, and
tered on Route 1 at the town of Anyang,
nor were Coulters as they extended the
14I Corps G3 Jnl, Sum, 4 and 5 Jan 51; IX Corps
Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 3d Log Comd Daily Opns
Rpt 104, 5 Jan 51, and 105, 6 Jan 51.
123d Log Comd Engr Monthly Activ Rpt, Jan 51; 15 Rad, GX-1-313 KGOO, Eighth Army to C/S
3d Log Comd Daily Opns Rpt 105, 6 Jan 51. ROKA et al., 4 Jan 51; Rad, GX-1-316 KGOO, CG
13Hq, 2d Log Comd, Memo, Col Hill for CG Eighth Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 4 Jan 51.
Army, 9 Jan 51, sub: Major Items Destroyed at the 16Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Rad, GX-l-
Port of Inchon; 3d Log Comd G4 Hist Rpt, Jan 51; 344 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 5
Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, p. 312. Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0233

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 213

THE PORT OF INCH'ON. The tidal basin is at upper right. In foreground is the island of
Wolmi-do.

Coulter ordered the ROK 6th Division front before midnight but somehow
to protect Milburns east flank. But missed finding the vulnerable east flank
Coulter did not dispatch his instructions earlier left open by the IX Corps. By
until an hour after the ROK 6th had daylight on the 6th the patrol contact
started for line D, and General Chang in the center of General Paiks front
did not receive them until midafter- developed into a general engagement
noon. It took Chang another half hour between an enemy battalion and the 3d
to get his division stopped. By that Battalion, 11th ROK Regiment, but the
time his forces were almost due east of enemy attempt to dislodge the South
Suwon, where, with Coulters agree- Koreans eased by noon and ended al-
ment, Chang deployed them astride together at 1400. By then supplies had
Route 17.17 been cleared from Suwon and Milburn
During the night of the 5th an en- and Coulter could continue south to-
emy regiment crossed the Han and ward line D.18
assembled east of Yongdungpo. Pa- The two corps completed their with-
trols from the regiment moved south drawals on the 7th. Since the 15th In-
through the hills east of Route 1 and fantry and 3d Battalion, 65th Infantry,
reconnoitered the ROK 1st Division of the 3d Division in the meantime

17 I Corps G3 Jnl, Sum, 5 Jan 51; IX Corps POR 18 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl,
306, 5 Jan 51. Sum, 6 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0234

214 EBB AND FLOW

KIMPO AIRFIELD, 4 JANUARY 1951

had arrived from Kyongju and been Turkish brigade went into corps reserve
attached to the I Corps, Milburn was at Chonan, thirteen miles south of
able to keep a substantial reserve and Pyongtaek. 19
still organize a fairly solid twenty-mile Along a slightly longer front tipping
line D front from the west coast east- to the northeast and reaching beyond
ward through Pyongtaek and Ansong. Changhowon-ni to the Han River
The British 29th Brigade and the Thai Coulter deployed the ROK 6th Divi-
battalion stood at the far left astride sion, British 27th Brigade, and 24th
Route 1 just below Pyongtaek. The 3d Division, west to east. Hard against the
Division held a sector across the hills right corps boundary twenty miles be-
between Routes 1 and 17, which Gen- hind the front, the bulk of the 1st Cav-
eral Soule manned with the 15th In- alry Division was in corps reserve at
fantry. Lending depth to this central Chungju on Route 13, now the IX
position, the 3d Battalion, 65th In- Corps main supply route. To protect
fantry, and the 35th Infantry of the the route from attacks by guerrillas
25th Division were assembled not far
behind it. Above Ansong, the ROK 1st
19 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth
Division lay across Route 17. The re- Army G3 Jnl, 7 Jan 51; I Corps G3 Jnl, Sum, 5, 6, and
mainder of the 25th Division and the 7 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0235

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 215

MAP 16

known to be located in the Tanyang the 7th, "indicate your forces withdrew
area twenty miles farther east, the 5th to D line without evidence of having
Cavalry had begun to patrol the road inflicted any substantial losses on en-
from Chungju south through a moun- emy and without material delay. In fact,
tain pass at Mungyong.20 some major units are reported as hav-
The way Milburn and Coulter had ing broken contact. I desire prompt
moved to line D exasperated General confirming reports and if substantially
Ridgway. "Reports so far reaching me," correct, the reasons for non-compliance
he told the two corps commanders on with my basic directives.21 The reports

20 EighthArmy Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; IX Corps


Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 7 Jan 21 Rad, GX-1-526 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I
51 Corps and CG IX Corps, 7 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0236

216 EBB AND FLOW

reaching Ridgway were true. Except for and the British 29th Brigade moved
the clashes between the Chinese and north as far as Osan, eight miles short
the ROK 1st Division east of Anyang of Suwon, without making contact. In
on the 6th, the I Corps had withdrawn the IX Corps sector, the 24th Division
from the south bank of the Han with- at the far right sent patrols into Ichon
out contact, and the IX Corps had not and Yoju, both on an east-west line with
engaged enemy forces since leaving the Suwon. Both towns were empty. Shal-
Seoul bridgehead.22 lower searches to the north by the Brit-
Attempting once more to get the ish 27th Brigade in the center of the
quality of leadership he considered corps sector also failed to reestablish
essential, Ridgway pointed out to contact. (The ROK 6th Division, at the
Milburn and Coulter that their oppo- corps left, sent. out no patrols while it
nents had but two alternatives: to make absorbed twenty-three hundred sorely
a time-consuming, coordinated follow- needed replacements.)24
up, or to conduct a rapid, uncoordi- General Ridgway considered the at-
nated pursuit. If the Chinese chose the tempts by patrols to regain contact at
first, the Eighth Army could at least least to be moves in the right direction.
achieve maximum delay even though What he wanted and planned to see
there might be few opportunities for next in the west was more vigorous pa-
strong counterattacks. If they elected trolling by gradually enlarged forces.
the second, the Eighth Army would This patrolling would be the main mis-
have unlimited opportunities not only sion of the larger efforts to acquire bet-
to delay but to inflict severe losses on ter combat intelligence, which in his
them. In either case, Ridgway again judgment had been sadly neglected and
made clear, Milburn and Coulter were which was a prime requisite for the still
to exploit every opportunity to carry larger offensive action that he intended
out the basic concept of operations that would follow. His attention meanwhile
he had repeatedly explained to them.23 was drawn to the east, where the with-
The immediate response was a flurry drawal to line D was still in progress
of patrolling to regain contact. Accord- and where North Korean forces, as
ing to the I Corps intelligence officer, expected, had opened an attack to seize
the 39th and 50th Armies were now ad- Wonju.25
vancing south of Seoul, and their van-
guards had reached the Suwon area.
Wonju and Hill 247
An ROK 1st Division patrol moving
north over Route 17 during the after- To promote continuous defenses
noon of the 7th supported this assess- through the mountains east of Wonju,
ment when it briefly engaged a small Ridgway on the 5th had redrawn line
enemy group in Kumnyangjang-ni, D in the ROK III and I Corps sectors,
eleven miles east of Suwon. Farther replacing the original line stretching
west, patrols from the 15th Infantry
24 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; I Corps POR
351, 7 Jan 51; IX Corps PIR 103, 7 Jan 51; IX Corps
22 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. POR 312, 7 Jan 51; IX Corps PIR 104, 8 Jan 51.
23 Rad, GX-1-526 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I 25 MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Poli-
Corps and CG IX Corps, 7 Jan 51. cies, p. 380.
KWP-EBB-0237

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 217

northeastward from Wonju to Wonpo- mountains east of Route 29 wide open


ri on the coast with a new trace reach- to a southward enemy advance. In the
ing almost due east of Wonju to the X Corps area, as a result, all of the 7th
coastal town of Samchok. (Map 17) Division and part of the 2d had occu-
This 45-degree change in alignment pied or were currently moving into po-
dropped the east coast position some sitions along the fifty-five miles of
forty miles.26 Route 29 from Chechon south to
Ridgway expected the shift south to Andong to protect the X Corps supply
give the two South Korean corps addi- route and to refuse the east flank. Gen-
tional time and space in which to set a eral Barrs 17th Infantry and General
defense and to get behind some of the McClures 9th Infantry and one battal-
North Korean guerrillas and regulars ion of his 23d Infantry were deployed
who, if the original line D were oc- in and around Chechon. Farther south,
cupied, would be in the ROK rear areas. a battalion of the 32d Infantry of the
But as of the 7th his expectation was 7th Division was assembled at Tanyang,
nowhere near realization. In the ROK and the remainder of the regiment was
I Corps sector, the ROK Capital Divi- moving up from the south to join it.
sion on the coast was just beginning to Barrs 31st Infantry was also moving
move from the old to the new line, and north, two battalions headed for
the ROK 3d Division, while on the Yongju, below Tan ang, the other bat-
move from Hongchon in the X Corps talion for Andong. 29
area, was only approaching the town of In the western half of the X Corps
Yongwol at the left of the ROK III sector, General Almond had manned a
Corps sector.27 twenty-mile front from Wonju south-
The ROK III Corps had no line at westward to the east flank of the IX
all. As could best be determined, the Corps at the Han. Having gradually
ROK 9th Division was fighting its way gained control of the ROK 2d, 5th, and
south in the corps sector but was no 8th Divisions as they struggled piece-
farther than the trace of the old line D. meal out of the mountains north of line
The corps other division, the ROK 7th, D, Almond placed the 5th along the
was on the way out of the X Corps area, western third of the front, the 8th in
but on entering a mountain road lead- the center, and the bulk of General
ing eastward toward Yongwol from McClures 2d Division at Wonju. Since
Route 29 at a point eleven miles below the ROK 2d Division numbered less
Wonju, the division had run into a large than thirty-two hundred men, Almond
force of North Koreans and was cur- assembled it, nominally in corps re-
rently stalled about six miles east of its serve, on Route 13 just below Chungju.
Route 29 departure point.28 As of the 7th, the 35th Regiment of the
The continuing lack of defense be- ROK 5th Division occupied the west an-
tween Wonju and the east coast left the chor of the X Corps front. East of the
35th, beyond a three-mile gap sched-
26Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Rad, GX-1-
uled to be filled by the 5ths 27th Regi-
403 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA, 5 Jan 51. ment, the 16th and 10th Regiments of
27Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth
Army G3 Jnl, Sum. 6 and 7 Jan 51.
28Eight; Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 7 Jan 51. 29Ibid., 6 and 7 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0238

MAP 17
KWP-EBB-0239

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 219

the ROK 8th Division, then the 23d and To seize Wonju itself, the North Ko-
38th Regiments of the 2d Division, car- rean plan called for a two-division fron-
ried the front a short distance beyond tal attack by the V Corps. The Wonju
Wonju.30 attack was to be assisted by the envelop-
Prisoners taken earlier by the 2d ing effect of other V Corps attacks far-
Division-while wedging aside the re- ther west and by the II Corps advance
mainder of the North Korean force that on the east. Moving down from Hoeng-
had blocked Route 29 six miles below song during the night of the 6th, Gen-
Hongchon and during later skirmishes eral Pangs 6th and 27th Divisions
farther south at Hoengsong-had sup- before dawn were poised just above
plied a fairly clear picture of enemy Wonju for the frontal attack. Ahead of
intentions in the east. A boundary be- these two forces, Pangs 12th Division,
tween the North Korean V and II Corps previously in the Hongchon-Hoeng-
appeared to parallel Route 29 just to its song area, had crossed from the east to
east. On the east, the II Corps,, com- the west side of Route 29 and had come
manded by Lt. Gen. Choe Hyon and south to a position northwest of Wonju,
operating with the 2d, 9th, 10th, and just north of the 10th Regiment of the
31st Divisions, was to seep south through ROK 8th Division. On the opposite
the mountains east of Route 29, avoid- side of Route 29, General Choes 2d
ing engagements during this move, and 9th Divisions had marched from
then was to attack Wonju, Chechon, Hongchon to the area northeast of
Tanyang, and Taegu. Along and west Wonju, and the 10th Division, coming
of Route 29, Maj. Gen. Pang Ho San, from Chunchon, was approaching
commander of the V Corps, was to em- Wonju for the II Corps thrust through
ploy his 6th, 7th, 12th, 27th, 28th, and the unoccupied mountains.32
43d Divisions in frontal attacks to seize Wonju sits in the bottom of a bowl in
Wonju and force a general withdrawal the valley of the Wonju River. Hills
of the X Corps. Enemy guerrillas, forming the rim of the bowl begin to
numbering between five thousand and rise about a mile from town. To de-
seventy-five hundred and currently fend the town and an airstrip at its
massed around Tanyang and along southeastern edge, General McClure
the twenty miles of Route 29 cutting had established the 23d and 38th Regi-
through a high mountain spur between ments in an inverted U atop the bowl
Tanyang and Yongju, were to displace rim. The 23d was deployed across
south and southeast to disrupt the Route 29 and in an arc to the west and
Eighth Armys Pusan-Andong line of southwest, and the 38th was similarly
communication. The whole operation, aligned north, east, and southeast of
according to the captives, was to be con- town. Bulging out as this position did
ducted in conjunction with Chinese ad- at the northeastern corner of the X
vances in the west.31 Corps line, and, for the time being, the
Eighth Army line, McClures two regi-
30Ibid.
31Eighth Army PIR 176, Incl 2, 4 Jan 51, PIR 177,
5 Jan 51, PIR 178, Incl 2, 6 Jan 51, and PIR 179, 7 Jan 32Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; X Corps
51; X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Hq, FEC, His- Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army PIR 180, Incl 2,
tory of the North Korean Army, 31 Jul 52. 8 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0240

220 EBB AND FLOW


ments, in the words of the Eighth Arm~ Mokkye-dong road. By evening of the
G-3, occupied an "unenviable salient."33 7th the 23d Infantry held a line four
The leading forces of the North Ko- and a half miles below Wonju, and the
rean 6th and 27th Div isions punctured 38th Infantry was aligned in depth near
the salient before McClure's men real- the village of Mich'on, another three
ized it. About 0530 on the 7th, some miles to the south. From these positions,
four hundred enemy troops disguised McClure's only chance of controlling
as and intermingled among civilians Wonju was by artillery fire.35
merely walked down Route 29, by out- Almond had no intention of depend-
posts in other areas, and even through ing on artillery alone. Wonju, in his
some main positions. Their identity was judgment, was so important and indeed
not discovered until they opened fire so rare a road junction that any force
on two battalion command posts in the controlling it had gone far toward con-
rear. McClure's forces, once alerted, trolling central Korea. After learning
rapidly screened out the infiltrators, of the 2d Division's deep withdrawal
captured 114, and broke up several as- he ordered McClure to send at least
saults that followed against their main one infantry battalion at first light on
defenses. But almost simultaneously the 8th to clear the town and airstrip,
with these assaults, the North Korean to occupy the high ground directly
12th Division to the west attacked and south of Wonju with no fewer than four
pushed the 10th Regiment of the ROK battalions, and not to withdraw from
8th Division out of position, leaving the that position unless Almond himself
2d Division's Wonju salient even more gave the order .36
unenviable.34 McClure gave the Wonju assignment
As the North Korean attack devel- to the 23d Infantry, instructing Colo-
oped, General McClure sought General nel Freeman to use one battalion in the
Almond's approval of a withdrawal be- attack. Lt. Col. James W. Edwards' 2d
low town. Almond, having himself fore- Battalion started for Wonju at 0930 on
seen a possible need to adjust the 2d the 8th, moving over the road in a col-
Division's line, agreed to a withdrawal umn of companies with Company E
provided McClure placed his forces on leading and with four aircraft overhead
the hills edging the town on the south in closesupport. Around noon, as Com-
so that they would still control the road pany E passed Hill 247 overlooking the
hub. McClure, however, assumed a lati- road from the east two and a half miles
tude of decision Almond had not really below Wonju, the leading riflemen
given him and allowed his two regi- spotted and fired on several North
ments to make a substantial withdrawal Koreans, who quickly scattered. A half
to the southwest down the Wonju-
!l5 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; X Corps 0161,
33 2d Div G3 Jnl, 7 Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 7 Jan 51; 2d Di v Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth
Sum, 7 Jan 51. Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 7 Jan 51; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar,
34 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 2d Div PIR 77, 7 Jan 51; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf S3
Jan 51; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf POR Jnl, 7 Jan 51; 23d Inf POR 118, 13 Jan 51.
118, 13 Jan 51 (covers period 4-11 Jan 51); 38th Inf 36 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Rad, X 17082,
Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 38th Inf PIR 5, 9 Jan 51 CG X Corps to CG 2d Di v, 8 Jan 51; 2d Di v Comd
(covers period 5-9 Jan 51). Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0241

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 221

mile farther, they discovered North Ko- make a two-battalion advance. For the
reans asleep in buildings. Finding them Wonju mission Freeman organized a
was like bumping a beehive. Some of: task force with the 2d Battalion of the
the first to awaken gave an alarm that 23d Infantry and 2d Battalion of the
stirred a swarm of soldiers out of other 38th Infantry, placing Lt. Col. James
buildings and carried to troops located H. Skeldon, commander of the latter
in nearby heights. The 2d Battalion battalion, in charge. In snow that can-
killed two hundred during the melee. celed close air support, Task Force
But Colonel Edwards at the same time Skeldon started over the road toward
discovered that he was being flanked Wonju at 1000 on the 9th.39
on both the east and west by what he As Skeldons column approached Hill
estimated to be a regiment and pulled 247 at noon, fire struck the task force
his battalion out of range to a position from that peak and heights to the west.
south of Hill 247. To the west, in the Skeldon deployed a battalion on each
meantime, the North Korean 12th Divi- side of the road and attacked, but by
sion again hit the 10th ROK Regiment late afternoon his forces bogged down
and forced it back almost on line with part way up the near slopes of the en-
the 38th Infantry at Michon. Since this emy position. Colonel Freeman consid-
left the west flank of the 23d Infantry, ered Skeldons position unsound, espe-
above Michon, wide open, General Mc- cially after learning that North Korean
Clure instructed Colonel Freeman to 12th Division forces to his west again
pull the 2d Battalion all the way back to had hit the ROK 8th Division and ad-
the regimental line and emplace it on vanced deep to his left rear before the
the exposed flank.37 South Koreans contained them. But,
Convinced by reports of heavy en- under pressure to clear Wonju and oc-
emy losses and moderate enemy resist- cupy positions just below the town, he
ance that a successful attack on Wonju held Skeldon where he was for the
could be made, General Almond or- night, reinforced him with the bulk of
dered McClure to resume his effort to the French battalion, and planned to
clear the town and airstrip by noon on resume the attack on the 10th.40
the 9th. Almond directed that two bat- Frequent snowstorms on the 10th
talions with air and artillery support again eliminated close air support, and
make the renewed advance and re- the ground troops suffered also from
peated his previous instruction that. far lower temperatures caused by a
four battalions occupy positions just northerly wind shift. Freeman, person-
south of Wonju.38 ally taking charge of the attack, pushed
McClure attached two battalions of his forces another half mile into the
the 38th Infantry to the 23d to provide 247 mass but met. increasing opposi-
Colonel Freeman sufficient forces to tion and faced a repeated need to
hold a defensive position as well as spread forces farther west and east to
meet North Korean counterattacks.
37 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf Comd
Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf Opn O 19, 8 Jan 51; 23d Inf
S3 Jnl, 8 Jan 51; Rad, X 17092, X Corps to Eighth 39 Ibid.; 2d Div LOI, 9 Jan 51; 2d Div G3 Jnl. Entry
Army, 8 Jan 51; Rad, X 17095, X Corps to Eighth J-43, 9 Jan 51; 23d Inf Opn O 20, 9 Jan 51; 23d Inf
Army, 8 Jan 51: Eighth Army PIR 180, 8 Jan 51. Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
38 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. 40 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0242

222 EBB AND FLOW

Around noon he notified General Mc- Regardless of this stand at Hill 247,
Clure of the growing resistance and of General Almond was dissatisfied with
the constant danger of being out- the 2d Divisions performance. Largely
flanked, and he advised against contin- as a result of the initial withdrawal so
uing the attack. McClure agreed but far south of Wonju and what Almond
instructed Freeman to hold his position. considered to be inefficient staff work,
Freeman could adjust the disposition poor employment of weapons (espe-
of his troops, but he was to do nothing cially artillery), improper organization
that would appear to be a withdrawal.41 of defenses, and an exhorbitant rate of
Freemans change to a defensive non-battle casualties (mostly from
stance was followed by hard North Ko- trench foot, frostbite, and respiratory
rean attacks that did not subside until diseases), Almond on the 13th asked
well after dark and after Freemans General Ridgway for authority to re-
forces had inflicted, in their estimate, lieve General McClure. Ridgway was
two thousand enemy casualties. Al- not fully convinced that a relief was
though control of Hill 247 vacillated warranted. His own impression of
through the afternoon, Freeman still McClure, formed in part after a visit to
commanded a good defensive position Wonju on 2 January, was of a hard-
at the close of the engagement.42 hitting, aggressive commander. He also
Continuing North Korean attempts considered McClures assignment at
to shove Freemans forces out of the Wonju to be a hot potato that could
247 mass on the 11th and 12th had burn a person no matter how he han-
similar results. Reinforced by more of dled it. But he felt more strongly that
the French battalion and part of the he had to back his corps commander in
Netherlands battalion and helped by this instance and gave Almond the au-
strong air support (including a B-29 at- thority he asked for. He pointed out to
tack on Wonju) after the sky cleared Almond, however, that one of his own
around noon on the 11th, Freemans guidelines in a decision to relieve an
forces broke up the assaults and killed officer was that he had to have a better
more than eleven hundred North man available.44
Koreans. Two weak and failing at- Almond believed he had a better man
tempts against Freemans position early in the X Corps chief of staff, Maj. Gen.
on the 13th ended the V Corpseffort to Clark L. Ruffner, and on 14 January
drive south of Wonju.43 sent him to take command of the 2d
Division. Ridgway returned General
McClure to the United States a few days
later with the official status of relieved
41 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf Comd without prejudice but was well aware
Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf S3 Jnl, 10 Jan 51; Eighth
Army PIR 182, 10 Jan 51; Technical Report, Weather
that the prejudice would be there
Effect on Army Operations: Weather in the Korean Conflict, anyway.45
vol. I (Department of Physics, Oregon State College,
1956), pp. VII-12-VII-13, copy in CMH.
42 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 23d Inf Comd 44 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Interv, Apple-
Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 10 Jan man with Ridgway, 2 Nov 51; Interv, Mossman,
51. Carroll, and Miller with Ridgway, 30 Nov 56.
43 Ibid.; 23d Inf S3 Jnl, 11 and 12 Jan 51; Eighth 45 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; Interv, Moss-
Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 21 Jan 51. man, Carroll, and Miller with Ridgway, 30 Nov 56.
KWP-EBB-0243

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 223

East of Route 29 In passing Wonju on the east, part of


the 10th Division accidently bumped into
General Pang, the North Korean V the 2d Division. Under Choes order to
Corps commander, dropped his push avoid engagement, the division com-
against the ROK 8th Division at the mander, Maj. Gen. Lee Ban Nam,
same time he canceled his attack south shifted his forces farther east to pre-
of Wonju. He had employed at least vent more such encounters but did not
parts of all his divisions against the sidestep far enough to avoid running
Americans and South Koreans but had almost head on into the ROK 7th Divi-
not won the advantage before casual- sion then moving eastward toward
ties and the near exhaustion of his am- Yongwol eleven miles below Wonju.
munition and other supplies eliminated General Lee disentangled the last of his
his chances of gaining an edge. His forces from this engagement on the 8th.
divisions, to begin with, had been On the following day Lees leading 27th
understrength, and his troops were by Regiment got past Chechon but then ran
no means of the same high caliber as into strong patrols from the 7th Divi-
those that had driven to the Pusan Pe- sion operating east of Route 29 below
rimeter at the beginning of the war. the town. General Barrs forces killed
His weapons, too, were limited-mostly almost five hundred of Lees men and
rifles, with some automatic weapons took fourteen captives, who identified
and mortars. Judging it useless to con- their division and revealed its attack ob-
tinue until he had reorganized and jectives to be Tanyang first and then
replenished, Pang on the 17th ordered Taegu.48
his forces, except for the 27th Division, Behind the 10th Division, the open-
to withdraw into defensive positions ing through which General Choe could
around Hoengsong.46 infiltrate forces meanwhile had begun
Although the North Korean II Corps to narrow. On the 8th, the 10ths dis-
began operations in no better shape engagement with the ROK 7th Division
than the V Corps, General Choe had allowed the latter to complete its move
more success infiltrating through the to Yongwol, and on the following day
mountains east of Route 29. Opening the ROK 9th Division, finally free of its
his advance concurrently with Pangs isolation to the north, came in at the
attack on Wonju, Choe sent the 2d and right of the ROK III Corps sector at
9th Divisions wide to the east out of the the upper Han River town of Chong-
Wonju area, then south, through the son. With General Ridgways approval,
higher Taebaek peaks toward Yongwol. the ROK III Corps new commander,
Farther west, his first move was to send Maj. Gen. Yu Jai Heung, faced these
the 10th Division south through the two divisions to the northwest along the
heights bordering Route 29.47 Han above Yongwol rather than at-
tempt to push them forward onto line
46 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51; 2d Div Comd D.49 General Yu set the ROK 7th Divi-
Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. North Koreans captured in January
reported that many of their weapons were those dis-
carded by Americans and that they preferred these 48 Eighth Army PIR 180, Incl 2, 8 Jan 51, and PIR
because it was simpler to replenish ammunition from 181, Incl 2, 9 Jan 51; X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan
stores abandoned by Americans. 51; 7th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51.
47 X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Jan 51. 49 General Yu replaced General Lee on 9 January.
KWP-EBB-0244

224 EBB AND FLOW

2D INFANTRY DIVISION TROOPS south of Wonju, 10 January 1951

sion in the heights immediately north- Yongwol was now the area through
east of Yongwol and deployed the ROK which General Choe could most easily
9th Division in the vicinity of its Chong- pass his units. Judging the movement
son assembly. To strengthen the ROK of North Korean forces through this
III Corps, Ridgway gave Yu the ROK gap to be the major threat to the X
3d Division, which also had assembled Corps, not the V Corps effort then in
near Yongwol while moving toward the progress at Wonju, Ridgway ordered
ROK I Corps sector. Yu placed the ad- Almond to close the gap and to elimi-
ditional division in reserve at Chuny- nate all enemy forces who had gotten
ang, thirty miles southeast of Yongwol.50 behind Route 60 between Chechon and
Although there were openings in the Yongwol.51
line, the ROK III Corps by the 10th To assist Almond, Ridgway moved
finally had a position from which to the 187th Airborne Regimental Com-
oppose North Korean II Corps move- bat Team to Andong and attached it to
ments through the steeper heights east the X Corps. To hedge any deep
of Route 29. A fifteen-mile gap in the enemy penetration below the lateral
X Corps sector between Chechon and Andong-Yongdok road, Route 48,
51 Ibid., 9 and 10 Jan 51; Rad, GX-1-751 KGOO,
50 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 8 and 9 Jan 51. CG Eighth Army to CG X Corps, 10 Jan 51.
KWP-EBB-0245

WITHDRAWAL TO LINE D 225

Ridgway also ordered the 1st Marine, ROK 5th Division and a regiment of
Division to make the move for which the ROK 2d Division covered the lat-
he earlier had alerted it, from Masan eral road leading west from Tanyang
to the Pohang-dong-Kyongju-Yong- to Chungju, joining hands with the 5th
chon area.52 Cavalry patrolling Route 13 south from
Almond initially ordered the ROK Chungju through the Mungyong pass.
5th Division, so far not involved in the Almond concentrated the bulk of the
Wonju fight, to move east and fill the ROK 2d Division at the lower end of
Chechon-Yongwol gap, leaving the the Mungyong pass, where it could
ROK 8th Division to occupy the 5ths help bottle guerrillas massed in the
old sector. Since the shift of the 5th mountains to the northeast around
from corps left to corps right would Tanyang.