Battle of Osan
The Battle of Osan was the first engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, on July 5, 1950. Task Force Smith, a U. S. task force of 400 infantry supported by an artillery battery, was moved to Osan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul, ordered to fight as a rearguard to delay advancing North Korean forces while additional U. S. troops arrived in the country to form a stronger defensive line to the south. The task force lacked both anti-tank guns and effective infantry anti-tank weapons, having been equipped with obsolescent 2.36-in. Rocket launchers and a few 57 mm recoilless rifles. Aside from a limited number of HEAT shells for the unit's 105-mm howitzers, crew-served weapons capable of defeating the T-34 Soviet tank had not been distributed to U. S. Army forces in Korea. A North Korean tank column equipped with ex-Soviet T-34/85 tanks overran the task force in the first encounter and continued its advance south. After the North Korean tank column had breached U.
S. lines the Task Force opened fire on a force of some 5,000 North Korean infantry approaching its position, temporarily holding up the North Korean advance. North Korean troops flanked and overwhelmed American positions and the remnants of the task force retreated in disorder. On the night 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 Armed Forces 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. Most of South Korea's forces retreated in the face of the invasion; the North Koreans had captured South Korea's capital of Seoul by June 28, forcing the government and its shattered army to retreat further 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. Although the navies blockaded North Korea and launched aircraft to delay the North Korean forces these efforts alone did not stop the North Korean Army juggernaut on its southern advance. U. S. President Harry S. Truman ordered ground troops into the country to supplement the air support; the strength of U. S. forces in the Far East, had declined since the end of World War II five years earlier and the closest unit was the 24th Infantry Division of the Eighth United States Army, headquartered in Japan. Cuts in U. S. military spending meant. Division commander, Major General William F. Dean determined that the 21st Infantry Regiment was the most combat-ready of the 24th Infantry Division's three regiments. Dean decided to send the 21st Infantry's 1st Battalion from the formation because its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bradford Smith, was the most experienced leading man, having experience at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II.
C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft airlifted one battalion from the division garrison under Smith's command into Korea. The battalion deployed to block advancing North Korean forces, performing a holding action while the rest of the division could be moved to South Korea by sea; when you get to Pusan, head for Taejon. We want to stop the North Koreans as far from Pusan. Block the main road as far north as possible. Make contact with General Church. If you can't find him, go to Taejon and beyond if you can. Sorry I can't give you more information --. Good luck, God bless you and your men! The first units of the 24th Infantry Division left Itazuke Air Base in Japan on June 30. Task Force Smith, named for its commander, consisted of 406 men of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, as well as 134 men of A Battery, 52nd Field Artillery Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Miller O. Perry; the forces were both poorly equipped and understrength: 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry had only two companies of infantry, as opposed to the regulation three for a U.
S. Army battalion; the battalion had half of the required number of troops in its headquarters company, half of a communications platoon, half of a heavy weapons platoon, armed with six obsolescent M9A1 Bazooka rocket launchers, two 75mm recoilless rifles, two 4.2 inch mortars, four 60mm mortars. Much of this equipment was drawn from the rest of the understrength 21st. A Battery, which formed the entire artillery support for the task force, was armed with six 105mm howitzers; these howitzers were equipped with 1,200 high explosive rounds, but these were incapable of penetrating tank armor. Only six high explosive anti-tank rounds were issued to the battery, all of them allocated to the number six howitzer sited forward of the main battery emplacement. A Battery had four.50 calibre M2 Browning heavy machine guns. Most of the soldiers of the task force were teenagers with no combat experience and only eight weeks of basic training. Only one third of the officers in the task force had combat experience from World War II, only one in six enlisted soldiers had combat experience.
Many of them volunteered to join the task force. The soldiers were each equipped with two days of C-rations. By July 1, Task Force Smith had arrived in South Korea and established a headquarters in Taej
South Korea the Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea has a predominantly mountainous terrain, it comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2. Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period; the history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era; the written historical record on Gojoseon was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE.
Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty. It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U. S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U. S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea; the Korean War began in June 1950. The war lasted three years and involved the U. S. China, the Soviet Union and several other nations; the border between the two nations remains the most fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.
South Korea is a developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer, its export-driven economy focuses production on electronics, ships, machinery and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit; the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name; the 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, thus inherited its name, pronounced by the visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel.
Despite the coexistence of the spellings Corea and Korea in 19th century publications, some Koreans believe that Imperial Japan, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on Korea, making Japan appear first alphabetically. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted; the new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon. In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk; the name Daehan, which means "Great Han" derives from Samhan, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, not the ancient confederacies in the southern Korean Peninsula. However, the name Joseon was still used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the legal English name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, the informal term South Korea was coined, becoming common in the Western world. While South Koreans use Han to refer to the entire country, North Koreans and ethnic Koreans living in China and Japan use the term Joseon as the name of the country; the Korean name "Daehan Minguk" is sometimes used by South Koreans as a metonym to refer to the Korean ethnicity as a whole, rather than just the South Korean state. The history of Korea begins with the founding of Joseon in 2333 BCE by Dangun, according to Korea's foundation mythology. Gojoseon expanded until it controlled parts of Manchuria. Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in the 12th century BC, but its existence and role have been controversial in the modern era. In 108 BCE, the Han dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the n
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
The Hungnam evacuation, code-named Christmas Cargo known as the Miracle of Christmas, was the evacuation of UN forces and North Korean civilians from the port of Hungnam, North Korea, between 15 and 24 December 1950. The port at Hungnam was the site of a major evacuation of United Nations military, South Korean military, North Korean civilians during the Korean War in late December 1950. 100,000 troops and material and 100,000 civilians were loaded onto merchant ships and military transports totaling 193 shiploads over the weeks leading up to Christmas 1950. They were transported to other destinations in South Korea; the evacuation included 14,000 refugees who were transported on one ship, the SS Meredith Victory—the largest evacuation from land by a single ship. This was made possible by a declaration of national emergency by President Truman issued on 16 December 1950 with Presidential Proclamation No. 2914, 3 C. F. R. 99. This operation was the culmination of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in which the embattled UN troops retreated to Hungnam after being overwhelmed by a Chinese counter offensive.
Colonel Edward H. Forney, who served as Deputy Chief of Staff, X Corps was tasked by Major general Edward M. Almond with the organization of the evacuation. Among the civilians evacuated and brought to the South were the future parents of incumbent South Korean President Moon Jae-in. All troops and civilians were transferred safely during the Hungnam evacuation. Five babies were born on the ships and were nicknamed Kimchi 1–5 by the U. S. sailors. A film about the Hungnam evacuation did not push through; the 2014 film Ode to My Father depicts the Hungnam Evacuation in its beginning. Timeless: The Miracle of Christmas Part II covers this event. Battle of Chosin Reservoir Leonard LaRue SS Meredith Victory Hungnam Overview "Ship of Miracles" documentary film by RJ McHatton Novel about Hungnam evacuation The Hungnam Evacuation at Korean War Educator Article about Moon Jae-in and "Kimchi 5"
First Republic of Korea
The First Republic of Korea was South Korea's first independent government, ruling the country from 1948 to 1960. It succeeded USAMGIK, the United States military government, which ruled the area from 1945 to 1948; the Philippines recognized South Korea on 15 August 1948. The First Republic was established on August 1948, with Syngman Rhee as the first president. Like subsequent governments, it claimed sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula, although it only had power over the area south of the 38th parallel; the investiture of the Rhee government followed the general election of May 10, 1948. The country's first constitution had been promulgated by the first National Assembly on July 17, it established a system with a strong president, elected indirectly by the National Assembly. The April Revolution in 1960 led to the resignation of Syngman Rhee and the transition to the Second Republic of South Korea. Rhee was supported in the elections by the Korea Democratic Party, but didn't include any of its members in his cabinet.
In retaliation, the members of the party formed a united opposition Democratic Nationalist Party, began to advocate a cabinet system which would remove power from the president. This led to a regrouping of the Rhee faction into the Nationalist Party, which became the Liberal Party, remained Rhee's base throughout his administration; the country's second parliamentary elections were held on May 30, 1950, gave the majority of seats to independents. The South Korean government continued many of the practices of the U. S. military government. This included the brutal repression of leftist activity; the Rhee government continued the harsh military action against the Jeju Uprising. It crushed military uprisings in Suncheon and Yeosu, which were provoked by orders to sail to Jeju and participate in the crackdown; this government oversaw several massacres, the most notable being the Bodo League massacre where between 100,000 and 1,140,000 were executed on suspicion of supporting communism. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea.
Led by the United States, a 16-member coalition undertook the first collective action under the umbrella of the U. N. Command. Oscillating battle lines inflicted a high number of civilian casualties and wrought immense destruction. With the People's Republic of China's entry on behalf of North Korea in 1951, the fighting came to a stalemate close to the original line of demarcation. Armistice negotiations, initiated in July 1951 concluded on July 27, 1953 at Panmunjom, now in the Demilitarized Zone; the resulting Armistice Agreement was signed by the North Korean army, Chinese People's Volunteers and the U. S.-led and South Korean-supported United Nations Command. A peace treaty has not been signed up to now. Following the armistice, the South Korean government returned to Seoul on the symbolic date of August 15, 1953. After the armistice, South Korea experienced political turmoil under years of autocratic leadership of Syngman Rhee, ended by student revolt in 1960. Throughout his rule, Rhee sought to take additional steps to cement his control of government.
These began in 1952. In May of that year, Rhee pushed through constitutional amendments which made the presidency a directly-elected position. In order to do this, he declared martial law and jailed the members of parliament whom he expected to vote against it. Rhee was subsequently elected by a wide margin, he regained control of parliament in the 1954 elections, thereupon pushed through an amendment to exempt himself from the eight-year term limit. Rhee's prospects for reelection during the presidential campaign of 1956 seemed dim. Public disillusionment regarding his attempt to seek a third term was growing, the main opposition candidate Shin Ik-hee drew immense crowds during his campaign. Shin's sudden death while on the campaign trail, allowed Rhee to win the presidency with ease; the runner-up of that election, Cho Bong-am of the Progressive Party, was charged with espionage and executed in 1959. The events of 1960, known as the April Revolution, were touched off by the violent repression of a student demonstration in Masan on the day of the presidential election, March 15.
These protests were quelled by local police, but they broke out again after the body of a student was found floating in the harbor. Subsequently, nonviolent protests spread to Seoul and throughout the country, Rhee resigned on April 26; this period saw explosive growth in education at all levels during the turmoil of the Korean War. The First Republic saw the full implementation of an educational system, sketched out by the Council for Korean Education under USAMGIK; this education was shaped by the ideal of Hongik Ingan, the person, a benefit to all, sought to prepare students for participation in a democratic society. Some contend that this democratic education contributed to the student protests which brought down the authoritarian Rhee government in 1960; the first Education Law came into force on December 31, 1949. The most important aspect of this was the introduction of universal compulsory education at the primary level; this requirement led to widespread school construction. In addition, the dual ladder system used by the Japanese occupation government was replaced by a single-ladder system, with 6 years of primary education, 3 of middle-school education, 3 of high-school education, 4 of college education.
This period saw the adoption of South Korea's fi
First Battle of Naktong Bulge
The First Battle of Naktong Bulge was an engagement between United States and North Korean forces early in the Korean War from August 5–19, 1950 in the vicinity of Yongsan and the Naktong River in 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 Nation after large numbers of US reinforcements destroyed an attacking North Korean division. On August 5, 4th Infantry Division, North Korean People's Army, crossed the Naktong River in the vicinity of Yongsan, attempting to cut US supply lines to the north as well as gaining a bridgehead into the Pusan Perimeter. Opposing it was the 24th Infantry Division of the Eighth United States Army. Over the next two weeks and North Korean forces fought a bloody series of engagements inflicting heavy casualties on one another in a confusing series of attacks and counterattacks, but neither side was able to gain the upper hand. In the end, the US forces, aided by reinforcements, air support and heavy weapons, destroyed the invading North Korean force, hampered by lack of supply and high desertion rates.
The battle was a turning point in the war for North Korean forces, which had seen previous victories owing to superior numbers and equipment. The American forces now had a numerical superiority and more equipment, including tanks and weapons capable of defeating the North Korean T-34 tanks. Following the 25 June 1950 outbreak of the Korean War after the invasion of the Republic of Korea by its northern neighbor, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United Nations decided to commit troops to 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, 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, headquartered in Japan; the division was understrength, most of its equipment was antiquated due to reductions in military spending.
Regardless, the 24th was ordered to South Korea. The 24th Infantry Division was the first US unit sent into Korea with the mission to take the initial "shock" of North Korean advances, delaying much larger North Korean units to buy time to allow reinforcements to arrive; the division was alone for several weeks as it attempted to delay the North Koreans, making time for the 1st Cavalry and the 7th and 25th Infantry Divisions, along with other Eighth Army supporting units, to move into position. Advance elements of the 24th Infantry were badly defeated in the Battle of Osan on July 5, 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 delaying North Korean forces until July 20.
By that time, the Eighth Army's force of combat troops were equal to North Korean forces attacking the region, with new UN units arriving every day. 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, they advanced on UN positions with armor and superior numbers pushing back US and South Korean forces. American forces were pushed back before halting the North Korean advance in a series of engagements in the southern section of the country. Forces of the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, newly arrived in the country, were wiped out at Hadong in a coordinated ambush by North Korean forces on July 27, opening a pass to the Pusan area. Soon after, North Korean forces took Chinju to the west, pushing back the US 19th Infantry Regiment and leaving routes to the Pusan open for more North Korean attacks.
US formations were subsequently able to defeat and push back the North Koreans on the flank in the Battle of the Notch on August 2. Suffering mounting losses, the KPA force in the west withdrew for several days to re-equip and receive reinforcements; this granted both sides a reprieve to prepare for the attack on the Pusan Perimeter. About 7 miles north of the point where it turns east and is joined by the Nam River, the Naktong River curves westward opposite Yongsan in a wide semicircular loop. For most of this span, the Naktong is around 400 metres wide and 6 feet deep, allowing infantry to wade across with some difficulty but preventing vehicles from crossing without assistance; this perimeter was defended by a network of observation posts on the high ground, manned by 24th Infantry. Forces in reserve would counterattack any attempted crossings by KPA. Artillery and mortar fire units were deployed so large amounts of fire could be delivered on any one spot; the division was dispersed. Understrength, it presented a thin line.
The 24th US Infantry Division, under the command of Major General John H. Church, occupied a region some 16 miles long along the Naktong River; the 34th US Infantry Regiment occupied the southern half, west of Yongsan while the 21st US Infantry Regiment occupied the northern half, west of Changyong. The 19th US Infantry Regiment, was re-equip
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