Battle of Pyongtaek
The Battle of Pyongtaek was the second engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, occurring on July 6, 1950 in the village of Pyongtaek in western South Korea. The fight ended in a North Korean victory following unsuccessful attempts by American forces to inflict significant damage or delays on advancing North Korean units, despite several opportunities to do so; the United States Army's 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division was assigned to delay elements of the North Korean People's Army's 4th Infantry Division as it advanced south following its victory at the Battle of Osan the day before. The regiment emplaced at Pyongtaek and Ansong attempting to form a line to hold the North Koreans in an area where the terrain formed a bottleneck between mountains and the Yellow Sea. Half of the regiment's strength was ordered to retreat from its position before the North Korean force was encountered, leaving the flank open for the remaining force, 1st Battalion at Pyongtaek.
The battalion encountered North Korean forces the morning of July 6, after a brief fight, was unable to repel them effectively. The battalion mounted a disorganized retreat to Cheonan several miles away, having failed to delay the North Korean forces in their movement south. On the night of June 25, 1950, 10 divisions of the North Korean People's Army launched a full-scale invasion on 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 disastrous rout for the South Koreans, who were disorganized, ill-equipped, unprepared for war. Numerically superior, North Korean forces destroyed isolated resistance from the 38,000 South Korean soldiers on the front, advancing south. Most of South Korea's forces retreated in the face of the invasion, by June 28, the North Koreans had captured Seoul, South Korea's capital, forcing the government and its shattered forces to withdraw south; the United Nations Security Council voted to send assistance to the collapsing country.
US President Harry S. Truman subsequently ordered ground troops into the nation. 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 under the command of Major General William F. Dean. However, the division was under strength, most of its equipment was antiquated due to reductions in military spending following World War II. In spite of these deficiencies, the 24th Infantry Division was ordered into South Korea. From the 24th Infantry Division, one battalion was assigned to be airlifted into Korea via C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft and move to block advancing North Korean forces while the remainder of the division could be transported to South Korea on ships; the 21st Infantry Regiment was determined to be the most combat-ready of the 24th Infantry Division's three regiments, the 21st Infantry's 1st Battalion was selected because its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B.
Smith, was the most experienced, having commanded a battalion at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. On July 5, Task Force Smith engaged North Korean forces at the Battle of Osan, delaying over 5,000 North Korean infantry for seven hours before being routed and forced back. During that time, the 24th Division's 34th Infantry Regiment, with 2,000 men organized into the 1st and 3rd Battalions, was the second US unit into Korea, was sent by rail north from Pusan; the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry emplaced at Pyongtaek, 10 miles south of Osan, to block the next North Korean advance. Pyongtaek was a village consisting of wooden huts and muddy roads In the meantime, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry was emplaced at Anseong, several miles east; the two battalions were assigned to form a line to block any North Korean advance. Terrain south of the Ansong–Pyongtaek line was more open, meaning the line sat on a bottleneck, with mountain ranges to the east and an inlet of the Yellow Sea to the west.
Therefore, Dean considered the line vital to his defensive plans. The 1st Battalion was unprepared for a fight as it was poorly trained and had no tanks or anti-tank guns to fight North Korean armor. Shortages of equipment hampered the entire division's efforts. Shortages in heavy guns reduced artillery support to the entire division. Communications equipment and ammunition was absent, large amounts of equipment were en route but the division had been under-equipped in Japan. Most of the radios available to the division did not work, batteries, communication wire, telephones to communicate among units were in short supply; the division had no tanks: its new M26 Pershing and older M4A3 Sherman tanks had not yet arrived. One of the few weapons that could penetrate the North Korean T-34, high explosive anti-tank ammunition, was in short supply; the paucity of radios and wire hampered communication among the American units. The battalion's new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ayres, was given faulty intelligence, he told his command that the Koreans advancing south were poorly trained and poorly equipped.
The battalion formed a line 2 miles north of Pyongtaek, in a series of grassy hills and rice paddies where it dug in and prepared for advancing North Korean forces. The soldiers of the battalion were equipped with only M1 Garand rifles or other weapons, C-rations, less than 100 rounds of ammunition each, whilst only one M2 Browning machine gun was available to each platoon. There were no grenades and little to no ammunition for any of the heavier weapons which could be used against North Korean tanks. Additio
The Lavochkin La-7 was a piston-engined Soviet fighter developed during World War II by the Lavochkin Design Bureau. It was a development and refinement of the Lavochkin La-5, the last in a family of aircraft that had begun with the LaGG-1 in 1938, its first flight was in early 1944 and it entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in the year. A small batch of La-7s was given to the Czechoslovak Air Force the following year, but it was otherwise not exported. Armed with two or three 20 mm cannon, it had a top speed of 661 kilometers per hour; the La-7 was felt by its pilots to be at least the equal of any German piston-engined fighter and is the Soviet fighter that suffered the lowest number of losses, in combat against the Luftwaffe: 115. It was phased out in 1947 by the Soviet Air Force, but served until 1950 with the Czechoslovak Air Force. By 1943, the La-5 had become a mainstay of the Soviet Air Forces, yet both its head designer, Semyon Lavochkin, as well as the engineers at the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute, felt that it could be improved upon.
TsAGI refined earlier studies of aerodynamic improvements to the La-5 airframe in mid-1943 and modified La-5FN c/n 39210206 to evaluate the changes. These included complete sealing of the engine cowling, rearrangement of the wing center section to accommodate the oil cooler and the relocation of the engine air intake from the top of the cowling to the bottom to improve the pilot's view; the aircraft was evaluated between December 1943 and February 1944 and proved to have exceptional performance. Using the same engine as the standard La-5FN c/n 39210206 had a top speed of 684 kilometers per hour at a height of 6,150 meters, some 64 kilometers per hour faster than the production La-5FN, it took 5.2 minutes to climb to 5,000 meters. It was faster at low to medium altitudes than the La-5 that used the more powerful prototype Shvetsov M-71 engine. Lavochkin had been monitoring TsAGI's improvements and began construction in January 1944 of an improved version of the La-5 that incorporated them as well as lighter, but stronger, metal wing spars to save weight.
The La-5, as well as its predecessors, had been built of wood to conserve strategic materials such as aircraft alloys. With Soviet strategists now confident that supplies of these alloys were unlikely to become a problem, Lavochkin was now able to replace some wooden parts with alloy components. In addition Lavochkin made a number of other changes that differed from c/n 39210206; the engine air intake was moved from the bottom of the engine cowling to the wing roots, the wing/fuselage fillets were streamlined, each engine cylinder was provided with its own exhaust pipe, the engine cowling covers were reduced in number, a rollbar was added to the cockpit, longer shock struts were fitted for the main landing gear while that for the tail wheel was shortened, an improved PB-1B gunsight was installed, a new VISh-105V-4 propeller was fitted. Three prototype 20 mm Berezin B-20 autocannon were mounted in the engine cowling, firing through the propeller, arming the 1944 standard-setter, as the modified aircraft was designated.
The etalon only made nine test flights in February and March 1944 before testing had to be suspended after two engine failures, but proved itself to be the near-equal of c/n 39210206. It was 180 kilograms lighter than the earlier aircraft, which allowed the etalon to outclimb the other aircraft; however it was 33 kilometres per hour slower at sea level, but only 4 kilometers per hour slower at 6,000 meters. The flight tests validated Lavochkin's modifications and it was ordered into production under the designation of La-7, although the B-20 cannon were not yet ready for production and the production La-7 retained the two 20-mm ShVAK cannon armament of the La-5. Five La-7s were built in March by Factory Nr. 381 in Moscow and three of these were accepted by the Air Force that same month. The Moscow factory was the fastest to complete transition over to La-7 production and the last La-5FN was built there in May 1944. Zavod Nr. 21 in Gorky was slower to make the change as it did not exhaust its stock of wooden La-5 wings until October.
The quality of the early production aircraft was less than the etalon due to issues with the engine, incomplete sealing of the cowling and fuselage, defective propellers. One such aircraft was tested, after these problems had been fixed, by the Flight Research Institute and proved to be only 6 kilometers per hour slower than the etalon at altitude. Aircraft from both factories were evaluated in September by the Air Force Scientific Test Institute and the problems persisted as the aircraft could only reach 658 kilometers per hour at a height of 5,900 meters and had a time to altitude of 5.1 minutes to 5,000 meters. Combat trials began in mid-September 1944 and were very positive; however four aircraft were lost to engine failures and the engines suffered from numerous lesser problems, despite its satisfactory service in the La-5FN. One cause was the lower position of the engine air intakes in the wing roots of the La-7 which caused the engine to ingest sand and dust. One batch of flawed wings was built and caused six accidents, four of them fatal, in October which caused the fighter to be grounded until the cause was determined to be a defect in the wing spar.
Production of the first aircraft fitted with three B-20 cannon began in January 1945 when 74 were delivered. These aircraft were 65 kilograms heavier than those airc
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
Battle of Taegu
The Battle of Taegu was an engagement between UN and North Korean forces early in the Korean War, with fighting continuing from August 5–20, 1950 around the city of Taegu, 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 offensive by North Korean divisions attempting to cross the Naktong River and assault the city. Five North Korean army divisions massed around the city preparing to cross the Naktong River and assault it from the north and west. Defending the city were the 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK II Corps. In a series of engagements, each of the North Korean divisions attempted to cross the Naktong and attack the defending forces; the success of these attacks varied by region, but attacks in the 1st Cavalry Division sector were repulsed and the attacks in the South Korean sector were more successful. During the battle, North Korean troops were able to surprise US troops on Hill 303 and capture them.
Late in the battle, these troops were machine gunned in the Hill 303 massacre. Despite these setbacks, the UN forces were successful in driving most of the North Koreans off, but the decisive battle to secure the city would occur during the Battle of the Bowling Alley. Following the invasion of the Republic of Korea by its northern neighbor, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the United Nations Security Council voted to send armed forces to defend South Korea; the United States, a permanent member of the Security Council deployed armed forces to southeastern South Korea because of their immediate availability from their bases in Japan and Okinawa, where the military occupation of Japan was still in effect. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom all contributed naval ships in support of the United Nations action; the goal of American armed forces was to support the remnants of the South Korean army in fighting back the North Korean invasion to prevent the complete collapse of the South Korean Army and of the South Korean Government.
However, the Supreme United Nations military commander in the area, General Douglas MacArthur, after an inspection trip to South Korea, realised U. S. Army ground forces would need to be committed. At the time of the North Korean invasion, the closest American ground force was the 24th Infantry Division, based in Japan; this division had fewer than its normal contingent of soldiers, most of its equipment was rather old due to the U. S. Congress's reductions in military spending. In any case, the 24th Infantry Division was the only part of the U. S. Army, available to reinforce South Korea. Thus, the 24th Infantry Division was the first American armed force sent to South Korea with the mission to blunt the advance of the North Korean Army and to set up a defensive perimeter around Pusan with the aid of Air Force, U. S. Navy, Marine Corps aviation forces. MacArthur decided to have his American and South Korean troops to dig in around Pusan and hold on until he could assemble a powerful force to make an amphibious counterattack at Inchon on the northwestern coast of South Korea, near Seoul on in 1950.
The 24th Infantry Division, along with its South Korean allies, was hence nearly alone for several weeks while the Americans and South Koreans held out inside the Pusan Perimeter and awaited reinforcements and counterattacks against the North Koreans. Among the American units that reinforced the Pusan Perimeter as soon as they could arrive were the U. S. 1st Cavalry Division, the 7th Infantry Division, the 25th Infantry Divisions, along with other units of the U. S. Eighth Army that provided logistical and intelligence support. Advance units of the 24th Infantry Division were badly defeated in the Battle of Osan on July 5 in the first encounter between American and North Korean troops. For the first month after the defeat at Osan, the 24th Infantry were pushed back and forced southeastward by larger numbers of North Korean troops equipped with rugged Soviet-made T-34 tanks; the troops of the 24th Infantry were systematically pushed southeast in the Battle of Chochiwon, the Battle of Chonan, the Battle of Pyongtaek, as well as in smaller engagements.
The 24th Infantry made a desperate stand against the North Koreans in the Battle of Taejon, where it was badly battered, but it delayed the North Korean advance until July 20. By that time, the Eighth Army's force of combat troops were equal in numbers to North Korean forces attacking the Pusan Perimeter, with new U. N. forces arriving from America, New Zealand, etc. nearly every day. With the city of Taejon captured, the KPA began surrounding the Pusan Perimeter on the north and the west in an attempt to crush it; the 4th and 6th KPA Infantry Divisions advanced south in a wide flanking maneuver. These two KPA divisions attempted to turn the American's and South Korean's left flank in order to capture Pusan from the southwest, but they became dispersed in the process, they were exposed to repeated air attacks from the U. S. Air Force and the U. S. Navy; the North Koreans attacked the U. S. troops with superior numbers at first, with the rugged T-34 tanks, but despite local defeats, the U. N. troops, with the help of aviation and naval units were able to extend the Pusan Perimeter all the way south to the East China Sea and to blunt all North Korean attacks toward Pusan.
American air supremacy over the Pusan Perimeter was a significan
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