The Battle of Taejon was an early battle of the Korean War, between American and North Korean forces. Forces of the United States Army attempted to defend the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Division, the 24th Infantry Division was overwhelmed by numerically superior forces of the Korean Peoples Army at the major city and transportation hub of Taejon. The 24th Infantry Divisions regiments were already exhausted from the two weeks of delaying actions to stem the advance of the KPA. The entire 24th Division gathered to make a stand around Taejon. After a fierce struggle, the Americans withdrew. The delay imposed at Taejon probably prevented an American rout during the subsequent Battle of Pusan Perimeter, during the action, the KPA captured Major General William F. Dean, the commander of the 24th Infantry Division, and highest ranking American prisoner during the Korean War. Following the invasion of the Republic of Korea by its neighbor, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. The United States subsequently sent ground forces to the Korean peninsula to contain the North Korean invasion, American forces in the Far East had steadily decreased since the end of World War II, five years earlier. When forces were committed, the 24th Infantry Division of the Eighth United States Army. The division was under-strength, and most of its equipment dated from 1945, nevertheless, the division was ordered into South Korea. The 24th Infantry Division was the first US unit sent into Korea to absorb the initial North Korean advances, and disrupt the more numerous North Korean units. Task Force Smith, an element of the 24th Infantry Division was badly defeated in the Battle of Osan on 5 July. Task Force Smith retreated from Osan to Pyongtaek, where US forces were defeated in the Battle of Pyongtaek. The 24th Infantry Division was repeatedly forced south by the North Korean forces superior numbers and equipment in engagements at Chochiwon, Chonan, Hadong, and Yechon. American soldiers were untrained and unprepared at the outbreak of the war, most of the Americans were out of shape, untrained, undisciplined and had no combat experience. Dean formed a line with the 34th Infantry and 19th Infantry facing east, the Kum River wrapped north and west around the city, providing a defensive line 10 to 15 miles from the outskirts of Taejon, which was surrounded to the south by the Sobaek Mountains. The division was attempting to make a last stand at Taejon, the 21st Infantry had 1,100 men left, having suffered 1,433 casualties. The 34th Infantry had only 2,020 men and the 19th had 2,276 men, another 2,007 men stood in the 24th Infantry Division artillery formations
Image: US Retreat from Taejon
Task Force Smith arrives in Taejon train station, South Korea.
A US howitzer position near the Kum River, 15 July