Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River
The Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River known as the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on, was a decisive battle in the Korean War, it took place from November 25 to December 2, 1950, along the Ch'ongch'on River Valley in the northwestern part of North Korea. In response to the successful Chinese First Phase Campaign against the United Nations forces, General Douglas MacArthur launched the Home-by-Christmas Offensive to expel the Chinese forces from Korea and to end the war. Anticipating this reaction, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army Commander Peng Dehuai planned a counteroffensive, dubbed the "Second Phase Campaign", against the advancing UN forces. Hoping to repeat the success of the earlier First Phase Campaign, the Chinese 13th Army first launched a series of surprise attacks along the Ch'ongch'on River Valley on the night of November 25, 1950 at the western half of the Second Phase Campaign destroying the Eighth United States Army's right flank while allowing Chinese forces to move into UN rear areas.
In the subsequent battles and withdrawals during the period of November 26 to December 2, 1950, although the US Eighth Army managed to avoid being surrounded by Chinese forces, the Chinese 13th Army were still able to inflict heavy losses onto the retreating UN forces which had lost all cohesion. In the aftermath of the battle, the US Eighth Army's heavy losses forced all UN forces to evacuate North Korea and to withdraw to the 38th parallel. Well, if they go fast enough, maybe some of them can be home by Christmas. In the wake of the UN forces' successful landing at Inchon, the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter and the subsequent destruction of the Korean People's Army during September 1950, the Eighth United States Army crossed the 38th Parallel and advanced towards the Sino-Korean border. Alarmed by this development, China's Chairman Mao Zedong ordered the Chinese People's Volunteer Army to intervene in Korea and to launch the First Phase Campaign against the UN forces. Between October 25 and November 4, 1950, the PVA 13th Army surprised and defeated the Republic of Korea II Corps and the US 1st Cavalry Division in a series of battles around Onjong and Unsan, destroying the right flank of the US Eighth Army while forcing the UN forces to retreat back to the Ch'ongch'on River.
Although Chinese forces were able to break through the UN line, logistics difficulties forced the Chinese to withdraw on November 5, 1950. Despite the success of the Chinese First Phase Campaign, the UN planners still believed that China had not intervened in Korea on a large scale; the suddenness of the Chinese withdrawal in the face of a victory further reinforced this belief. Working on the assumption that only 30,000 Chinese troops could remain hidden in the hills, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the bombing of the bridges over the Yalu River in an effort to cut off Chinese reinforcements. Confident that the UN air forces could detect and disrupt any troop movements across the Yalu River, MacArthur launched the Home-by-Christmas Offensive on November 24 to rout the remaining PVA and KPA forces and to end the Korean War. Unknown to the UN planners, there were 180,000 PVA troops stationed in Korea, with more reinforcements infiltrating across the border. Although the PVA was ordered to maintain a defensive posture in North Korea until Soviet weapons could arrive in the spring of 1951, its earlier successes convinced the Chinese leadership that the PVA was capable of turning the tide of UN advance.
Encouraged by the fact that the UN did not know their true numbers, PVA Commander Peng Dehuai outlined the Second Phase Campaign, a counteroffensive aimed at pushing the UN forces back to a line halfway between Ch'ongch'on River and Pyongyang. As a part of a deception plan to further reinforce the weak appearance of Chinese forces, Peng ordered all units to retreat north while releasing POWs along the way. With 230,000 troops at his disposal and another 150,000 heading to the Chosin Reservoir, Peng authorized the start of the Second Phase Campaign on November 22, 1950; the battle was fought along the UN front line around the Ch'ongch'on River and its tributaries, located 50 mi south of the Sino-Korean border. The UN front line stretched horizontally from the Korean west coast to the Taebaek Mountains in central Korea, while the Ch'ongch'on River crosses into the north of the UN line at the town of Kujang-dong. From west to east, a series of towns, such as Chongju, Yongsan-dong, Kujang-dong and Yongwon dot the front line, connecting those towns are a series of road junctions located at Sinanju, Kunu-ri and Pukchang-ni.
A road runs south from Kunu-ri into Sunchon and into Pyongyang, it would become the main retreat route for the UN forces stationed at the center of the front line. The hilly terrain on the northern bank of the Ch'ongch'on River formed a defensive barrier that allowed the Chinese to hide their presence while dispersing the advancing UN forces; the battle was fought over one of the coldest Korean winters in 100 years, with temperatures dropped to as low as −30 °F. Acting on MacArthur's instructions, General Walton Walker of the Eighth Army started the Home-by-Christmas Offensive at 10:00 on November 24, 1950. With a reconstituted ROK II Corps placed on the Eighth Army's right flank, the advance was led by US I Corps to the west, US IX Corps in the center and ROK II Corps to the east; the three UN Corps advanced cautiously in a continuous front line in order to prevent more ambushes similar to the Chinese First Phase Campaign, but the lack of manpower stretched the UN forces to the limit. Except for the strong PVA resistance against ROK II Corps, the Eighth
Battle of Chongju (1950)
The Battle of Chongju took place during the United Nations offensive towards the Yalu River, which followed the North Korean invasion of South Korea at the start of the Korean War. The battle was fought between Australian forces from 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and the 17th Tank Brigade of the Korean People's Army for control of Chongju, North Korea and the surrounding area. After detecting a strong North Korean armoured force equipped with T-34 tanks and SU-76 self-propelled guns on a thickly wooded ridgeline astride the line of advance, the Australians launched a series of company attacks with American M4 Sherman tanks and aircraft in support. Despite heavy resistance the North Koreans were forced to withdraw and the Australians captured their objectives after three hours of fighting; that evening the North Koreans were reinforced, attacking the Australian southern flank manned by D Company 3 RAR, penetrating their perimeter. After two hours of fighting the assault was repulsed, the North Koreans subsequently launched a furious assault against A Company 3 RAR on the northern position, which failed amid heavy losses.
The following day the Australians advanced to the high ground overlooking Chongju and capturing a number of North Koreans in skirmishes. That afternoon the town itself was cleared by the remaining elements of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade without opposition. North Korean casualties during the fighting were heavy, while Australian losses included their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Green, wounded in the stomach by artillery fire after the battle and died two days later; the Korean War began early in the morning of 25 June 1950, following the surprise invasion of the Republic of Korea by its northern neighbour, the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Numerically superior and better-equipped, the Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel and advanced south overcoming the South Koreans. In response, the United Nations decided to intervene on behalf of South Korea, inviting member states to send forces to restore the situation; as a consequence, American ground forces were hastily deployed in an attempt to prevent the South Koreans from collapsing, however they too were under strength and poorly equipped, by early August had been forced back by the North Koreans to an enclave around Pusan, known as the Pusan Perimeter.
Key US allies—Britain and Australia—also committed forces, although these were limited to naval contingents and were viewed as token efforts in the US. Under diplomatic pressure the British agreed to deploy an infantry brigade in July, would dispatch a second brigade as the crisis worsened; the Canadians agreed to provide an infantry brigade, although the first battalion would not arrive until December 1950. A total of 21 UN member states contributed forces. Australia was one of the first nations to commit units to the fighting, playing a small but sometimes significant part in the United Nations Command, led by General Douglas MacArthur. Forces deployed in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force formed the basis of the Australian response, with P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers from No. 77 Squadron RAAF flying their first missions on 2 July, while the frigate HMAS Shoalhaven and the destroyer HMAS Bataan were committed to naval operations. During this time the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, preparing to return to Australia prior to the outbreak of the war, remained in Japan, however on 26 July the Australian government announced that it would commit the understrength and poorly equipped infantry battalion to the fighting, following a period of preparation.
Training and re-equipment began while hundreds of reinforcements were hastily recruited in Australia as part of K Force. The battalion's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Walsh, was subsequently replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Green. An officer with extensive operational experience fighting the Japanese in New Guinea during the Second World War, Green took over from Walsh due to the latter's perceived inexperience. On 23 September 1950, 3 RAR embarked for Korea. There it joined the British 27th Infantry Brigade, a garrison formation hurriedly committed from Hong Kong by the British government as the situation deteriorated around the Pusan Perimeter in late August to bolster the US Eighth Army under Lieutenant General Walton Walker. Commanded by Brigadier Basil Coad, the brigade was renamed the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade and consisted of the 1st Battalion and Sutherland Highland Regiment, the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment and 3 RAR. Under strength, the two British battalions had each mustered just 600 men of all ranks, while the brigade was short on transport and heavy equipment, had no integral artillery support, for which it would rely on the Americans until the 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery arrived in January 1951.
As such, with a strength of nearly 1,000 men, the addition of 3 RAR gave the brigade increased tactical weight as well as expediently allowing the Australians to work within a familiar organisational environment, rather than being attached to a US formation. Under the command of the brigade were a number of US Army units, including 155 mm howitzers from the US 90th Field Artillery Battalion, M4 Sherman tanks from US 89th Tank Battalion and a company from the US 72nd Combat Engineer Battalion. By the time 3 RAR arrived in the theatre, the North Koreans had been broken and were in rapid retreat, wi
Air Battle of South Korea
The Air Battle of South Korea was an air campaign early in the Korean War occurring from June 25 to July 20, 1950, over South Korea between the air forces of North Korea and the United Nations, including the countries of South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom. The month-long fight for air supremacy over the country saw several small engagements over airfields in Seoul and Taejon and ended in victory for the UN air force, able to destroy the small North Korean People's Air Force. Main Article: Initial Phase of Korean WarOn the morning of June 25, 1950, ten divisions of the North Korean People's Army launched a full-scale invasion of the nation's neighbor to the south, the Republic of Korea; the force of 89,000 men moved in six columns, catching the Republic of Korea Army by surprise, resulting in a rout. The smaller South Korean army suffered from widespread lack of organization and equipment, was unprepared for war; the numerically superior North Korean forces destroyed isolated resistance from the 38,000 South Korean soldiers on the front before it began moving south.
To prevent South Korea's collapse the United Nations Security Council voted to send military forces. The United States' Seventh Fleet dispatched Task Force 77, led by the fleet carrier USS Valley Forge. By June 27, the naval and air forces moving to Korea had authorization to attack North Korean targets with the goal of helping repel the North Korean invasion of the country. With the US forces accepting the North Korean attack as an act of war, it became imperative to evacuate civilians and American diplomats from Korea, as the forces of the north and south were battling across the peninsula. On June 27 the South Koreans were losing the First Battle of Seoul. Most of South Korea's forces retreated in the face of the invasion; the North Koreans would capture the city the next day forcing the South Korean government and its shattered army to retreat further south. In the meantime, US naval and air forces were evacuating US diplomats, military dependents, civilians by ship and air transport, hoping to get American civilians out of the country "by any means."
Civilians were being gathered at Suwon Airfield and Kimpo Airfield near Seoul, before moving to Inchon and out of the country. These airlifts and convoys were being escorted by aircraft from the United States, operating its aircraft from bases in Japan; the United States Air Force had 1,172 aircraft in the Pacific region at the time of the outbreak of the Korean War, including hundreds of F-80 Shooting Stars as well as numerous F-82 Twin Mustangs, B-26 Invaders, B-29 Superfortresses, among others. Hundreds of aircraft were available to be mustered against the North Korean invasion, many of them the newest jet engine-powered fighter aircraft; the aircraft could fulfill a variety of missions and were well equipped, well armed and out of reach of North Korean attack, with many bases safely in Japan. Additionally, the Fleet Air Arm of the United Kingdom, the Royal Australian Air Force of Australia provided assistance as 800 Naval Air Squadron, 802 Naval Air Squadron, No. 77 Squadron RAAF were dispatched to provide additional support for ground operations.
The combined airpower had about 33,975 personnel. The North Korean People's Air Force consisted of only 132 aircraft and 2,000 personnel, of whom only 80 were pilots and most poorly trained; the two Koreas had small air forces of their own, with the North Koreans' 132 aircraft organized into the KPAF 1st Air Division. At the early phase in the war, these aircraft were used boldly to the North Koreans' advantage. Aware of their air superiority over the Republic of Korea Air Force and not expecting UN intervention, they anticipated light resistance in the air. In all, the KPAF had 2,000 personnel. At the June 25 outbreak of the war, the US aircraft in Japan began moving to the closest bases to the Korean Peninsula, Itazuke Air Base and Ashiya Air Base. MacArthur ordered. North Korean aircraft first met US aircraft in combat during the Battle of Suwon Airfield, in which seven of the 13 North Korean aircraft were destroyed; the North Korean Lavochkin La-7 and Ilyushin Il-10 aircraft were outmatched by the superior North American F-82 Twin Mustang and F-80C Shooting Star aircraft, which had better-trained pilots.
The planes of the 8th Fighter Wing, which were attempting to defend Suwon to allow evacuation of UN civilians encountered repeated harassing attacks from North Korean aircraft operating out of Heijo Airfield in Pyongyang. Heijo was the KPAF's main base, but in the first few days in the war the US aircraft only had authorization to defend themselves if attacked, they could not conduct offensive operations into North Korea. During the day on June 29, the KPAF returned to attack Suwon, six sorties of North Korean aircraft strafed the airfield during the morning, but each time were driven off by American F-80s, in the course of these attacks Lieutenant William T. Norris and Lieutenant Roy W. Marsh each shot down a North Korean aircraft; the North Koreans were able to destroy a single C-54 Skymaster parked at the airfield. The sorties culminated in a battle above Suwon in the midst of a conference of US military leaders in the town. Leaders including Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur witnessed the final sortie of the day, in which four North Korean aircraft attacked four P-51 Mustang aircraft over the town.
The four P-51s succeeded in shooting down all four of the North Korean aircraft, with Lieutenant Orrin R. Fox scoring two kills and Lieutenants Richard J. Burns, Ha
Battle of Chosin Reservoir
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Battle of Jangjin Lake was an important battle in the Korean War. The name "Chosin" is derived from the Japanese pronunciation "Chōshin", instead of the Korean pronunciation. Official Chinese sources refer to this battle as the eastern part of the Second Phase Campaign; the western half of the Second Phase Campaign resulted in a Chinese victory in the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. The battle took place about a month after the People's Republic of China entered the conflict and sent the People's Volunteer Army 9th Army to infiltrate the northeastern part of North Korea. On 27 November 1950, the Chinese force surprised the US X Corps commanded by Major General Edward Almond at the Chosin Reservoir area. A brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather soon followed. Between 27 November and 13 December, 30,000 United Nations troops under the field command of Major General Oliver P. Smith were encircled and attacked by about 120,000 Chinese troops under the command of Song Shilun, ordered by Mao Zedong to destroy the UN forces.
The UN forces were able to break out of the encirclement and to make a fighting withdrawal to the port of Hungnam, inflicting heavy casualties on the Chinese. US Marine units were supported in their withdrawal by the US Army's Task Force Faith to their east, which suffered heavy casualties and the full brunt of the Chinese offensive; the retreat of the US Eighth Army from northwest Korea in the aftermath of the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River and the evacuation of the X Corps from the port of Hungnam in northeast Korea marked the complete withdrawal of UN troops from North Korea. By mid-October 1950, after the successful landing at Inchon by the US X Corps and the subsequent destruction of the Korean People's Army, the Korean War appeared to be all but over. United Nations forces advanced into North Korea with the intention of reuniting North and South Korea before the end of 1950. North Korea is divided through the center by the impassable Taebaek Mountains, which separated the UN forces into two groups.
The US Eighth Army advanced north through the western coast of the Korean Peninsula, while the Republic of Korea I Corps and the US X Corps advanced north on the eastern coast. At the same time the People's Republic of China entered the conflict after issuing several warnings to the United Nations. On 19 October 1950, large formations of Chinese troops, dubbed the People's Volunteer Army, secretly crossed the border and into North Korea. One of the first Chinese units to reach the Chosin Reservoir area was the PVA 42nd Corps, it was tasked with stopping the eastern UN advances. On 25 October, the advancing ROK I Corps made contact with the Chinese and halted at Funchilin Pass, south of the Chosin Reservoir. After the landing at Wonsan, the US 1st Marine Division of the X Corps engaged the defending PVA 124th Division on 2 November, the ensuing battle caused heavy casualties among the Chinese. On 6 November, the PVA 42nd Corps ordered a retreat to the north with the intention of luring the UN forces into the Chosin Reservoir.
By 24 November, the 1st Marine Division occupied both Sinhung-ni on the eastern side of the reservoir and Yudami-ni on the west side of the reservoir. Faced with the sudden attacks by Chinese forces in the Eighth Army sector, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the Eighth Army to launch the Home-by-Christmas Offensive. To support the offensive, MacArthur ordered the X Corps to attack west from the Chosin Reservoir and to cut the vital Manpojin—Kanggye—Huichon supply line; as a response, Major General Edward M. Almond, commander of the US X Corps, formulated a plan on 21 November, it called for the US 1st Marine Division to advance west through Yudami-ni, while the US 7th Infantry Division would provide a regimental combat team to protect the right flank at Sinhung-ni. The US 3rd Infantry Division would protect the left flank while providing security in the rear area. By the X Corps was stretched thin along a 400-mile front. Surprised by the Marine landing at Wonsan, China's Chairman Mao Zedong called for the immediate destruction of the ROK Capital Division, ROK 3rd Infantry Division, US 1st Marine Division, US 7th Infantry Division in a telegraph to Commander Song Shilun of the PVA 9th Army on 31 October.
Under Mao's urgent orders, the 9th Army was rushed into North Korea on 10 November. Undetected by UN intelligence, the 9th Army entered the Chosin Reservoir area on 17 November, with the 20th Corps of the 9th Army relieving the 42nd Corps near Yudami-ni. Chosin Reservoir is a man-made lake located in the northeast of the Korean peninsula; the name Chosin is the Japanese pronunciation of the Korean place name Changjin, the name stuck due to the outdated Japanese maps used by UN forces. The battle's main focus was around the 78-mile long road that connects Hungnam and Chosin Reservoir, which served as the only retreat route for the UN forces. Through these roads, Yudami-ni and Sinhung-ni, located at the west and east side of the reservoir are connected at Hagaru-ri. From there, the road passes through Koto-ri and leads to the port of Hungnam; the area around the Chosin Reservoir was sparsely populated. The battle was fought over some of the roughest terrain during some of the harshest winter weather conditions of the Korean War.
The road was created by cutting through the
Battle of Kujin
The Battle of Kujin known as the Battle of the Broken Bridge, took place during the United Nations offensive towards the Yalu River, which followed the North Korean invasion of South Korea at the start of the Korean War. The battle was fought between Australian forces from 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and elements of the 17th Tank Brigade of the Korean People's Army over a key bridge across the Taeryong River near Kujin, North Korea. On 25 October the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade had resumed their advance towards Pakchon after crossing the Chongchon River, with 3 RAR as the lead battalion. Arriving at Kujin, the Australians discovered that the centre span of the 300-metre concrete bridge had been demolished by North Korean engineers, blocking their passage across the river. A platoon-sized reconnaissance patrol crossed the river using debris from the destroyed span. Airstrikes and artillery fire were subsequently called-in at 17:15 by the Australians as they prepared to conduct an assault.
At 19:00 that evening, following the clearance of nearby Pakchon by D Company 3 RAR, the Australians sent two companies across the river to establish a bridgehead and prevent the North Koreans from consolidating their position on the western bank. A and B Companies subsequently established defensive positions on either side of the road. Shortly afterwards North Korean forces were detected forming up for an assault on the right flank against B Company, these preparations were broken up with mortars; the North Koreans engaged the forward Australian companies with mortar fire, ineffective. However, by 22:30 North Korean activity increased with heavy small arms fire causing a number of casualties among the Australians which perilously had to be evacuated under fire by boat across the fast flowing tidal river. Further artillery support was called-in by the Australians at 23:00 in response to renewed concentrations by the North Koreans in preparation for an assault. Meanwhile, the Australians sent another platoon across the river to reinforce the companies on the western bank.
At 04:00 on 26 October the North Koreans counterattacked A and B Companies, supported by a two T-34 tanks. In the ensuing fighting a convoy of North Korean vehicles, including a tank, two jeeps, a motorcycle and about 60 infantry moved down the road towards A Company with the intention of re-occupying the ridges overlooking the river crossing; the Australians ambushed the convoy at close range with small arms fire and mortars, forcing the North Koreans to flee after abandoning their vehicles with only the tank shooting its way out. Another North Korean T-34 tank and supporting infantry pressed to within 10 metres of the B Company headquarters, before stopping and taking up a position between the ridges unaware of the location of the Australians. By dawn the Australians were still in possession of the bridgehead. At 07:00, a further airstrike was called-in on the North Koreans holding the ridges to the west of the 3 RAR positions. With the way reported clear, C and D Companies crossed the river from the eastern bank that morning.
The battle continued during the morning. The Korean War began early in the morning of 25 June 1950, following the surprise invasion of the Republic of Korea by its northern neighbour, the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Numerically superior and better-equipped, the Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel and advanced south overcoming the South Koreans. In response, the United Nations decided to intervene on behalf of South Korea, inviting member states to send forces to restore the situation; as a consequence, American ground forces were hastily deployed in an attempt to prevent the South Koreans from collapsing. Key US allies—Britain and Australia—also committed forces, although these were limited to naval contingents and were viewed as token efforts in the US. Under diplomatic pressure the British agreed to deploy an infantry brigade in July, would dispatch a second brigade as the crisis worsened; the Canadians agreed to provide an infantry brigade, although the first battalion would not arrive until December 1950.
A total of 21 UN member states contributed forces. Australia was one of the first nations to commit units to the fighting, playing a small but sometimes significant part in the United Nations Command, led by General Douglas MacArthur. Forces deployed in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force formed the basis of the Australian response, with P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers from No. 77 Squadron RAAF flying their first missions on 2 July, while the frigate HMAS Shoalhaven and the destroyer HMAS Bataan were committed to naval operations. During this time the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, preparing to return to Australia prior to the outbreak of the war, remained in Japan. Training and re-equipment began while hundreds of reinforcements were hastily recruited in Australia as part of K Force; the battalion's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Walsh, was subsequently r
Battle of Pusan Perimeter
The Battle of Pusan Perimeter was a large-scale battle between United Nations and North Korean forces lasting from August 4 to September 18, 1950. It was one of the first major engagements of the Korean War. An army of 140,000 UN troops, having been pushed to the brink of defeat, were rallied to make a final stand against the invading North Korean army, 98,000 men strong. UN forces, having been defeated by the advancing North Koreans, were forced back to the "Pusan Perimeter", a 140-mile defensive line around an area on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula that included the port of Pusan; the UN troops, consisting of forces from the Republic of Korea, United States and United Kingdom mounted a last stand around the perimeter, fighting off repeated North Korean attacks for six weeks as they were engaged around the cities of Taegu, P'ohang, the Naktong River. The massive North Korean assaults were unsuccessful in forcing the United Nations troops back further from the perimeter, despite two major pushes in August and September.
North Korean troops, hampered by supply shortages and massive losses, continually staged attacks on UN forces in an attempt to penetrate the perimeter and collapse the line. However, the UN used the port to amass an overwhelming advantage in troops and logistics, its navy and air forces remained unchallenged by the North Koreans during the fight. After six weeks, the North Korean force collapsed and retreated in defeat after the UN force launched a counterattack at Inchon on September 15; the battle would be the furthest the North Korean troops would advance in the war, as subsequent fighting ground the war into a stalemate. Following the outbreak of the Korean War, the United Nations decided to commit troops in support of the Republic of Korea, invaded by the neighboring Democratic People's Republic of Korea; the United States subsequently sent ground forces to the Korean peninsula with the goal of fighting back the North Korean invasion and to prevent South Korea from collapsing. However, US forces in the Far East had been decreasing since the end of World War II, five years earlier, at the time the closest forces were the 24th Infantry Division of the Eighth United States Army, headquartered in Japan.
The division was understrength, most of its equipment was antiquated due to reductions in military spending. Regardless, the 24th Infantry Division was ordered into South Korea; the Korean People's Army, 89,000 men strong, had advanced into South Korea in six columns, catching the Republic of Korea Army by surprise and routing it. The smaller ROKA suffered from widespread lack of organization and equipment, was unprepared for war. Numerically superior, KPA forces destroyed isolated resistance from the 38,000 ROKA soldiers on the front before moving south. Most of South Korea's forces retreated in the face of the advance. By June 28, the KPA had captured South Korea's capital of Seoul, forcing the government and its shattered forces to retreat further south. Though it was pushed back, South Korean forces increased their resistance further south, hoping to delay KPA units as much as possible. North and South Korean units sparred for control of several cities, inflicting heavy casualties on one another.
The ROKA defended Yongdok fiercely before being forced back, managed to repel North Korean forces in the Battle of Andong. Outnumbered and under-equipped US forces—committed in piecemeal fashion as as they could be deployed—were defeated and pushed south; the 24th Division, the first US division committed, took heavy losses in the Battle of Taejon in mid-July, which they were driven from after heavy fighting. Elements of the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, newly arrived in the country, were wiped out at Hadong in a coordinated ambush by KPA forces on July 27, leaving open a pass to the Pusan area. Soon after, Chinju to the west was taken, pushing back the 19th Infantry Regiment and leaving open routes to Pusan. US units were subsequently able to defeat and push back the KPA on the flank in the Battle of the Notch on August 2. Suffering mounting losses, the KPA force on the west flank withdrew for several days to re-equip and receive reinforcements; this granted both sides several days of reprieve to prepare for the attack on the Pusan Perimeter.
The KPA forces were organized into a mechanized combined arms force of ten divisions numbering some 90,000 well-trained and well-equipped troops in July, with hundreds of T-34 tanks. However, defensive actions by US and South Korean forces had delayed the North Koreans in their invasion of South Korea, costing them 58,000 of their troops and a large number of tanks. In order to recoup these losses, the North Koreans had to rely on less-experienced replacements and conscripts, many of whom had been taken from the conquered regions of South Korea. During the course of the battle, the North Koreans raised a total of 13 infantry divisions and one armored division to the fight at Pusan Perimeter; the UN forces were organized under the command of the United States Army. The Eighth United States Army served as the headquarters component for the UN forces, was headquartered at Taegu. Under it were three weak US divisions; these forces occupied the western segment of the perimeter, along the Naktong River.
The ROKA, a force of 58,000, was organized into five divisions.
Battle of P'ohang-dong
The Battle of P'ohang-dong was an engagement between the United Nations and North Korean forces early in the Korean War, with fighting continuing from 5–20 August 1950 around the town of P'ohang-dong, South Korea. It was a part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter, was one of several large engagements fought simultaneously; the battle ended in a victory for the United Nations after their forces were able to drive off an attempted offensive by three North Korean divisions in the mountainous eastern coast of the country. Forces of the South Korean Republic of Korea Army, supported by the United States Navy and United States Air Force, defended the eastern coast of the country as a part of the Pusan Perimeter; when several divisions of the North Korean People's Army crossed through mountainous terrain to push the UN forces back, a complicated battle ensued in the rugged terrain around P'ohang-dong, which contained the vital supply line to the main UN force at Taegu. For two weeks North Korean and South Korean ground units fought in several bloody back-and-forth battles and retaking ground in which neither side was able to gain the upper hand.
Following the breakdown of the North Korean supply lines and amidst mounting casualties, the exhausted North Korean troops were forced to retreat. The battle was a turning point in the war for North Korean forces, which had seen previous victories owing to superior numbers and equipment, but the distances and demands exacted on them at P'ohang-dong rendered their supply lines untenable. Following the invasion of the Republic of Korea by its northern neighbor, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the subsequent outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950, the United Nations decided to enter the conflict on behalf of South Korea; the United States—a member of the UN—subsequently committed ground forces to the Korean peninsula with the goal of fighting back the North Korean invasion and to prevent South Korea from collapsing. However, U. S. forces in the Far East had been decreasing since the end of World War II five years earlier, at the time the closest forces were the 24th Infantry Division, headquartered in Japan.
Advance elements of the 24th were badly defeated in the Battle of Osan on 5 July, the first encounter between American and North Korean forces. For the first month after the defeat of Task Force Smith, 24th Infantry was defeated and forced south by superior North Korean numbers and equipment; the regiments of the 24th Infantry were systematically pushed south in engagements around Chochiwon and Pyongtaek. The 24th made a final stand in the Battle of Taejon, where it was completely destroyed but delayed North Korean forces until July 20. By that time the 8th Army′s force of combat troops were equal to North Korean forces attacking the region, with new UN units arriving every day. While the 24th Infantry Division was fighting on the Korean western front, the 5th and 12th North Korean Infantry Divisions advanced on the eastern front; the North Korean army, 89,000 men strong, had advanced into South Korea in six columns, catching the Republic of Korea Army by surprise, resulting in a complete rout.
The smaller South Korean army suffered from widespread lack of organization and equipment, it was unprepared for war. Numerically superior, North Korean forces destroyed isolated resistance from the 38,000 South Korean soldiers on the front before it began moving south. With Taejon captured, North Korean forces began surrounding the Pusan Perimeter from all sides in an attempt to envelop it; the 4th and 6th North Korean Infantry Divisions advanced south in a wide flanking maneuver. The two divisions attempted to envelop the UN′s left flank, but became spread out in the process. At the same time the NK 5th and 12th Divisions pressured the South Koreans on the right flank, they advanced on UN positions with armor and superior numbers defeating U. S. and South Korean forces and forcing them further south. On 21 July the NK 12th Division was ordered by the II North Korean Corps to capture P'ohang-dong by 26 July. Though they were pushed back, South Korean forces on the right flank increased their resistance further south, hoping to delay North Korean units as much as possible.
North and South Korean units sparred for control of several cities, inflicting heavy casualties on one another. The Republic of Korea Army forces defended Yongdok fiercely before being pushed back, they performed well in the Battle of Andong, forcing the NK 12th Division to delay its attacks on P'ohang-dong until early August. The South Korean forces had undergone significant reorganization, after receiving a large number of recruits by 26 July, the South Korean Army had reached an effective strength of 85,871 men. Along the South Korean front of the perimeter, on the eastern corridor, the terrain made moving through the area difficult. A major road ran from Taegu 50 mi east to P'ohang-dong on Korea's east coast; the only major north-south road intersecting this line moves south from Andong through Yongch'on, midway between Taegu and P'ohang-dong. The only other natural entry through the line lies at the town of An'gang-ni, 12 mi west of P'ohang-dong, situated near a valley through the natural rugged terrain to the major rail hub of Kyongju, a staging area for moving supplies to Taegu.
Gen. Walton Walker—commanding the 8th Army—chose not to reinforce the area, as he felt the terrain made meaningful attack impossible, preferring to respond to attack with reinforcements from the transportation routes and air cover from Yonil Airfield, south of P'ohang-dong. With the exception of the valley between Taegu and P'ohong-dong, the terrain along the line was roug