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Title: U.S. Marine Operations in Korea 1950-1953 Volume I (of 5) - The Pusan Perimeter
Author: Canzona, Nicholas, Montross, Lynn
Language: English
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1950-1953 VOLUME I (OF 5) ***

[Illustration: (Map of Korea, indicating battle fronts in July, 1950.)]


AUG.-SEP. 1950




  _The Pusan Perimeter_



  Historical Branch, G-3
  Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps
  Washington, D. C., 1954


An ability to furnish skilled forces to meet emergency situations on
short notice has long been a hallmark of the Marine Corps. When the
call came for such a force to be dispatched to Korea on 2 July 1950,
the Corps was handicapped by the strictures of a peacetime economy.
Nevertheless, a composite brigade consisting of a regiment and an air
group was made available within a week’s time.

With a reputation built largely on amphibious warfare, Marines of the
1st Brigade were called upon to prove their versatility in sustained
ground action. On three separate occasions within the embattled
Perimeter--south toward Sachon and twice along the Naktong River--these
Marine units hurled the weight of their assault force at the enemy. All
three attacks were successful, and at no point did Marines give ground
except as ordered. The quality of their performance in the difficult
days of the Pusan Perimeter fighting made them a valuable member of the
United Nations team and earned new laurels for their Corps.

[Illustration: (Signature)]

                             LEMUEL C. SHEPHERD, JR.,
                          _General, U. S. Marine Corps,
                         Commandant of the Marine Corps_.


This is the first volume of a planned series dealing with United States
Marine Operations in Korea during the period 2 August 1950 to 27
July 1953. Volume I is designed to give the military student and the
casual reader an accurate and detailed account of the operations in
which Marines of the 1st Provisional Brigade and Marine Air Group 33
participated during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter, from the date
of their landing on 2 August until their withdrawal on 13 September
1950, in preparation for the Inchon landing.

Since this is primarily a Marine Corps story, the activities of other
services during this period are not described in detail except to
present a proper background to the overall account.

Many officers and men who participated in this campaign have
contributed to the preparation of the book by answering inquiries,
submitting to interviews, and commenting on the preliminary manuscript.
Their assistance has been invaluable. Special acknowledgment is also
extended to the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of
the Army, Pacific Section, and particularly Lieutenant Colonel Roy E.
Appleman, USA, for enemy intelligence material; to the Marine Corps
Board Study: _An Evaluation of the Influence of Marine Corps Forces on
the Course of the Korean War_ for its interpretations and conclusions;
and to _Life Magazine_ for courtesy shown in permitting use of Korean
photographs made by Mr. David D. Duncan. Maps included herein were
Va. United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps photographs have also
been used to illustrate this monograph.

[Illustration: (Signature)]

                                                T. A. WORNHAM,
                        _Brigadier General, U. S. Marine Corps_.
                                  _Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3._


     I  Korea, Doorstep of Strategy                                    1
            The Korean Question--The Russo-Japanese War--Korea as a
            Japanese Colony--The Partition of Korea--Red Victory in
            China--Civil Strife in Korea

    II  Red Aggression in Korea                                       19
            Units of the NKPA--NKPA Command and Leadership--The NKPA
            Infantry Division--NKPA Air and Armor--NKPA Officer
            Procurement Conscription--The NKPA Order of Battle

   III  The Marine Brigade                                            37
            NKPA Gains of First Week--Early U. S. Decisions--Geography
            of Korea--U. S. Ground Forces in Korea--Requests for
            U. S. Marines--Activation of the Brigade

    IV  The Advance Party                                             55
            Conference with CINCFE--The Washington Scene--The Advance
            Party in Japan--Voyage of the Brigade--The Advance Party
            in Korea--Crisis of the Eighth Army

     V  Prelude to Battle                                             87
            Reconnaissance by Jeep--Brigade Air Lands--Landing of
            Ground Force--Bedlam on Pusan Water Front--The Brigade
            at Changwon--The Pusan Perimeter--Brigade Air Strikes
            First--Planning the Sachon-Chinju Offensive

    VI  Action on Hill 342                                           103
            First Platoon Fight--The Perimeter on Hill 342--Call for
            Artillery Fires--Task Force Kean Stalled--General Craig
            Assumes Control--Enemy Attack at Dawn

   VII  Advance to Kosong                                            119
            Heavy NKPA Resistance--Assault on Hill 255--Confusion at
            Tosan Junction--Brigade Artillery in Support--Encounter
            with Japanese Maps--Ambush at Taedabok Pass--The
            Seizure of Kosong

  VIII  Fight on Two Fronts                                          139
            The Kosong Turkey Shoot--The Changchon Ambush--Marines
            Ordered to New Sector--Attack of 3/5 to the Rear--Enemy
            Dawn Attack at Changchon--Breaking Off Action

    IX  Battle of the Naktong                                        173
            Task Force Hill Organized--Planning the Next Operation--
            Reconnaissance of Terrain--Air and Artillery Preparation
            --Company D on Objective--Attack of Company E

     X  Obong-ni Ridge                                               189
            Company B to the Attack--Advance of Company A--Defeat of
            Enemy Tanks--End of the First Day--Enemy Counterattack
            on Ridge--Obong-ni Ridge Secured--Supporting Arms Clear
            the Bulge

    XI  Second Naktong                                               207
            The Famous Bean Patch--Planning for Inchon Landing--
            Return to the Naktong Bulge--All-Out NKPA Offensive--The
            Marines Jump Off--Progress of Brigade Attack--Assault
            on Hill 117

   XII  Mission Completed                                            227
            Collapse of the 9th NKPA Division--Attacks of 5
            September--Two Marine Tanks Killed--The Brigade’s
            Final Action--Brigade Embarkation at Pusan--Results
            of Brigade Operations--Summaries and Conclusions


  A  Glossary of Military Terms                                      245

  B  Command and Staff List                                          247

  C  Citations and Commendations                                     253

  Bibliography                                                       257

  Index                                                              261



     Sixteen-page sections of photographs follow pages 70 and 156.

                          _Maps and Sketches_


  The Strategic Triangle                                               2

  The Far East                                                         5

  Korea                                                               11

  NKPA Order of Battle                                                35

  NKPA Invasion, 15 July 1950                                         44

  Japan and Korea                                                     61

  Eighth Army, Situation of Late July                                 69

  Brigade Action on the Southwestern Front                           102

  Chindong-ni Area                                                   107

  Sachon Offensive, 8–10 August 1950                                 130

  Sachon Offensive, 10 August 1950                                   133

  Sachon Offensive, 11 August 1950                                   134

  Sachon Offensive--Changchon Ambush                                 145

  Sachon Offensive, Situation 12–14 August                           149

  Enemy Counterattack, Hill 202                                      154

  First Naktong Counteroffensive                                     180

  First Naktong, Situation 17 August 1950                            185

  First Naktong, Situation 18 August 1950                            199

  First Naktong, Seizure of Objective Two                            202

  First Naktong, Seizure of Objective Three                          205

  Second Naktong Counteroffensive, 3–5 September 1950                218

  Second Naktong, Marine Attacks of 3–4 September 1950               223

  Second Naktong, Enemy Counterattack                                232


Korea, Doorstep of Strategy

_The Historical Background--The Russo-Japanese War--Korea as a Japanese
Colony--The Partition of Korea--Red Victory in China--Civil Strife in

It meant little to most Americans on 25 June 1950 to read in their
Sunday newspapers that civil strife had broken out in Korea. They
could hardly have suspected that this remote Asiatic peninsula was to
become the scene of the fourth most costly military effort of American
history, both in blood and money, before the end of the year. Yet the
danger of an explosion had been present ever since the end of World
War II, when the United States and the Soviet Union rushed into the
political vacuum created in Korea by the defeat of Japan.

The Korean question came up officially for the first time at the
Cairo Conference of December 1943. With Soviet Russia not yet being
represented as a belligerent in the Far East, the United States, Great
Britain and China agreed that “in due course Korea shall become free
and independent.”[1]

     [1] Quoted in James F. Byrnes, _Speaking Frankly_ (New York:
         Harper, 1947), 221.

Any discussion of this issue had to take into consideration Korea’s
status as a Japanese possession since 1910. Government, industry,
commerce, agriculture, transportation--every phase of Korean life
had been administered by Japanese for the benefit of Japan. As
a consequence, the 25,000,000 inhabitants of the peninsula were
woefully lacking in experience to fit them for the responsibilities of

Syngman Rhee, the elderly Korean patriot, had long been clamoring
for recognition of his Korean government in exile. The United States
hung back because of reluctance to offend Joseph Stalin, the Soviet
dictator, at a time when Russia was a powerful military ally. Moscow
had a strong bargaining point, moreover, in the prospect of giving
military aid to the United States in the fight against Japan. Such
an alliance was particularly desirable from the American viewpoint
early in 1945 because of the losses resulting from Japanese _kamikaze_
tactics. In the belief that active Soviet participation might shorten
the war and save thousands of American lives, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt was disposed to compromise with Stalin.


The two agreed informally at the Yalta Conference of February 1945 that
Korea should be independent “... and that if a transition period were
necessary, a trusteeship should be established,” according to James F.
Byrnes, United States Secretary of State. He added in his memoirs that
“a desire to help the Koreans develop the skills and experience that
would enable them to maintain their independence was the inspiration
for President Roosevelt’s acquiescence in the trusteeship idea.”[2]

     [2] Byrnes, _loc. cit._

The Soviet dictator made a plea at Yalta for historical justice.
Although Czar Nicholas II had been execrated as a tyrant and warmonger
in Communist doctrine, Stalin demanded that the “wrongs” resulting from
the Russo-Japanese War be righted 40 years later. The price of Soviet
military aid against Japan, in short, was the restoration of Russian
territory in the Far East that had been lost in the defeat of 1905.

_The Historical Background_

It was inevitable that the fate of Korea would be involved in any
such readjustment. Korea is one of those tragic areas of the earth’s
surface which are destined in all ages to be a doorstep of strategy.
As the focal point of the China-Russia-Japan triangle, the peninsula
offers each of these powers a threshold for aggression against either
of the other two. Possession of Korea has been for centuries an aim of
aspiring conquerors in the Far East, and all three rival nations have
had a turn.

China was first. From ancient times down to the last quarter of the
19th century, the Chinese Empire held a loose suzerainty acknowledged
by the Koreans. Japan won a brief foothold in the 16th century under
the great war lord Hideyoshi, only to learn the painful lesson that
control of the sea is requisite to a seaborne invasion of a peninsula.
Naval victories by the Koreans cut Hideyoshi’s line of communications,
and he withdrew after frightful devastations which left an enduring
tradition of fear and hate. Both Japan and Korea then entered upon
a period of self-imposed isolation lasting until their political
hibernation was rudely interrupted by Western nations clamoring for

The United States took the lead in inaugurating a new era in the Far
East. Commodore Perry and his American warships opened up Japan to
commerce in 1853. Several persuasive bombardments of coastal cities by
American, British and French naval guns were required to end Japan’s
seclusion; and in 1871 an American squadron was sent to Korea after
the destruction of an American merchant ship and massacre of its crew.
United States Marines and bluejackets stormed Korean river forts
defended by cannon. All objectives were taken and heavy casualties
inflicted, but it remained for Japan to open up the “Hermit Kingdom” to
trade 4 years later with the threat of war.

Russia had not been a disinterested bystander during this era of
cannon-ball diplomacy. Her participation in Far Eastern affairs dated
back to the 17th century and had once extended to the North American
mainland. The sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 indicated a
renunciation of this phase of expansion, but Russia had no intention of
abandoning her ambitions in the Far East. Shortly after Japan compelled
Korea to sign a treaty of amity, the Russians offered to train Korean
officers and lend military aid to the faction-ridden kingdom.

At this point China took a hand. Suspecting that the two rival nations
were dabbling in Korean affairs for purposes of their own, the
Celestial Empire attempted to restore her suzerainty.

This policy was bound to lead to a collision. Western nations were not
surprised when Japan and China resorted to arms, but few observers
expected the supposed dwarf to beat the giant with ease. Japan’s well
led army, equipped with the best modern weapons, landed at Chemulpo
(Inchon) and captured the Chinese fortress at Pyongyang in northwest
Korea. Sweeping across the Yalu into Manchuria, the invaders overran
the strategic Liaotung Peninsula, taking Port Arthur and Dairen.

It was all over in a few months. When the Empire proper was threatened
with invasion, the Chinese government sued for peace in 1895.

The Japanese terms were more than severe, they were humiliating. They
included: (1) a large indemnity; (2) the cession “in perpetuity” of the
Liaotung Peninsula as well as Formosa and the Pescadores group; and (3)
Chinese recognition of what the Japanese were pleased to call “Korean

But the victors had overdone it. Russia, Germany, and France formed
the Triple Intervention which compelled Japan to relinquish the
Liaotung Peninsula. The three European powers preferred that this
strategic bastion remain in the possession of China, which was ripe for
despoiling at the convenience of the Western nations.

Russia now assumed the role of a friend binding China’s wounds. The
secret treaty of alliance signed by the two empires in 1896 was aimed
like a pistol at Japan. In return for promises of support in the event
of further Japanese aggressions, China gave Russia the right to extend
the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok across Chinese territory in

The precept was not lost upon other European nations. England, Germany,
and France also established spheres of influence in China after
forcing the government to lease territory or grant special privileges.
And Russia added to former gains by a 25-year lease of the Liaotung

[Illustration: THE FAR EAST]

China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1900 interrupted the march of events, but
two treaties in 1902 indicated that Japan and Russia would soon be at
each other’s throats. Japan acquired an ally in England, as a result of
that nation’s alarms over Muscovite designs, so that the neutrality of
European powers was practically assured. Russia and China drew closer
meanwhile with a new treaty of alliance. The stage was set for a fight
to the finish in the Far East.

Possession of the Philippine Islands had given the United States a new
interest in Far Eastern affairs since the Spanish-American War of 1898.
John Hay, Secretary of State, realized that the American “open door”
policy was imperiled by the situation in Asia.[3] But he admitted in
April 1903 that nothing short of the threat of armed force could have
checked Russia’s encroachments.

     [3] Pauline Tompkins, _American-Russian Relations in the Far
         East_ (New York: Macmillan, 1949), 21.

_The Russo-Japanese War_

A candid comparison would reveal a striking similarity between the
aggressions of Czarist Russia in the early 1900’s and those of Soviet
Russia half a century later. The expression “cold war” was not current
in 1903, but the account of Russia’s threats, seizures and violated
agreements has a dismally familiar aspect to the modern reader. Rudyard
Kipling paid a bitter tribute at the turn of the century to these
techniques of the Russian Bear in his lines:

    When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and near;
    When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute guise,
    When he veils the hate and cunning of his little swinish eyes;
    When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer,
    That is the time of peril--the time of the Truce of the Bear!

Following the Sino-Japanese War, the truce between Russia and Japan in
“independent” Korea was broken by both nations whenever a favorable
opportunity arose. Both of them intrigued constantly at Seoul. For
a time, indeed, the Korean government was directed from the Russian
legation with the backing of Russian troops.

Twice, in 1896 and 1898, Russia and Japan signed agreements reaffirming
Korea’s independence and promising anew to withdraw their forces.
These pacts were promptly violated by both contestants for power, but
Japan prepared more realistically for the forthcoming struggle. On
a February night in 1904, without the formality of a declaration of
war, a Japanese squadron attacked the Russian warships anchored at
Port Arthur. This surprise blow was followed shortly by the landing
of Japanese troops at Chemulpo. They advanced to the frontier and
defeated the Russians in the battle of the Yalu--a victory that has
been compared with the battle of Valmy in the French Revolution as a
landmark of history.

Certainly the West was made aware that an Oriental nation had risen
to the stature of a world power for the first time in modern history.
The value of Korea as a strategic springboard was demonstrated when
Japanese land and sea forces isolated the fortresses on the Liaotung
Peninsula. Port Arthur fell after a bloody siege of 6 months. Next, the
Japanese invaders of Manchuria defeated an army of 350,000 Russians and
inflicted 150,000 casualties in the four-week battle of Mukden. This
was the decisive clash on land; and in the one-sided naval battle of
Tsushima, Admiral Togo annihilated the Baltic fleet which the Czar had
ordered on the long voyage to the Pacific.

The end came abruptly in the summer of 1905. In the Treaty of
Portsmouth, signed on 5 September, Russia ceded the southern part of
Sakhalin Island to the victors while recognizing their “paramount”
interests in Korea. All rights in the Liaotung Peninsula went to Japan
as well as important concessions in Manchuria. Not much was left
to Russia in the Far East except a precarious foothold in northern

_Korea as a Japanese Colony_

For 5 years Japan kept up a pretense of a protectorate in Korea. Then,
in 1910, came outright annexation.

Europe’s “balanced antagonisms” soon flared up in World War I, leaving
Japan free to exploit Korea as a colony. Western observers might
have noted such evidences of modernization as new docks, railroads,
factories and highways. But they were administered by Japanese
overseers as Koreans sank to the level of coolies without a voice in
the government.

Although Japan joined the fight against the Central Powers in World
War I, her military efforts were made against allies as well as
enemies. Using Korea as a beachhead, she attempted to enlarge her
empire on the Asiatic mainland at the expense of Russia, then in the
throes of revolution. Three years after the Armistice, a Japanese army
still occupied the Vladivostok area; but the United States took such a
firm diplomatic stand that Tokyo backed down.

This retreat was only a postponement. During the next decade Japan
set up a strategic shield to the east and south by fortifying the
mandated islands of the Pacific, awarded to her after the war. Treaties
and agreements were violated whenever convenient, and in 1931 she
turned westward again to satisfy her appetite for Russian and Chinese

The time was well chosen. With the Western nations in the depths of an
industrial depression, Japan began a series of aggressions against the
Chinese in Manchuria. The gains were consolidated in a puppet state
known as Manchukuo, comprising a fertile and populous area as large
as California. China was unable to offer much resistance, and Soviet
Russia could not risk a major war in the Far East. Even so, some of
the Soviet border clashes with the Japanese in time of “peace” were
actually battles fought with tanks and planes.

In 1937 came the Japanese invasion of China proper. Germany and Italy
were launching aggressions of the same stamp in Europe and Africa, and
the world was to know little stability until all three totalitarian
states had been crushed in World War II.

Soviet Russia had a grim struggle for survival while resisting the full
tide of Nazi invasion. But at the time of the Yalta Conference, Stalin
was in a position to ask a stiff price for military aid in the Pacific.
The United States agreed that the Port Arthur area and southern
Sakhalin should be returned to Russia to redress the “wrongs” of 1905.
Concessions were also made in Manchuria and outer Mongolia.

Stalin, for his part, consented to sign a treaty of friendship with
Nationalist China as an ally of the United States. Later events made
it evident that he had no intention of keeping his pledges. On the
contrary, Soviet policy already visioned a Communist empire in the Far
East which would include China as well as Korea.

The Yalta Agreement was stridently criticized in the United States
after Stalin’s duplicity became apparent. But the War Department took a
realistic view as early as the spring of 1945:

  “The concessions to Russia on Far Eastern matters which were made at
  Yalta are generally matters which are within the military power of
  Russia to obtain regardless of United States military action short of
  war.... The Russians can, if they choose, await the time when United
  States efforts will have practically completed the destruction of
  Japanese military power and can then seize the objectives they desire
  at a cost to them relatively much less than would be occasioned by
  their entry into the war at an early date.”[4]

     [4] U. S. War Dept memo for Acting Sec of State, 21 May 45,
         quoted in Joseph C. Grew, _Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic
         Record of Forty Years_ (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952),

This was precisely what happened. Moscow waited to declare war
until 8 August 1945--6 days before the imminent collapse of Japan.
Soviet forces fought only a few actions in Siberia with a Japanese
army stripped of planes for home defense. As a consequence, Russian
propagandists found it hard to paint a convincing picture of “the
heroic deeds of our brave Far Eastern warriors.”[5] Obviously they had
met little resistance while overrunning Manchuria and northern Korea to
accept the surrender of nearly 600,000 Japanese troops, including 148
generals. These prisoners were sent to Siberia for years of servitude;
and the “conquerors” despoiled Manchuria of heavy machinery, turbines,
dynamos and rolling stock.[6]

     [5] David J. Dallin, _Soviet Russia and the Far East_ (New
         Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), 213.

     [6] _Ibid._, 214, 244. Such seizures were in violation of
         international law, of course, and Soviet Russia had
         pledged the prompt repatriation of Japanese prisoners at
         the Potsdam Conference in July 1945.

The value of this booty has been estimated at a billion dollars, and
the forced labor of Japanese war prisoners during the next 5 years
was worth at least another billion. Not satisfied with these spoils,
Moscow also demanded a share in the occupation of Japan. This design
was balked by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, supreme Allied
commander, who made it plain that he needed no such assistance.[7]

     [7] _Ibid._, 214, 239.

Even after the guns fell silent, there was no peace. One enemy had been
exchanged for another, since Soviet Russia took advantage of war-weary
allies to follow in the footsteps of Germany and Japan. There was the
same familiar pattern of encroachment both in Europe and the Far East.
There were the same violations of treaties, the same unfriendly acts
falling just short of hostilities. The cold war had begun.

Oppression at home and aggression abroad--this had been the policy
of Russia’s czars, and it became the policy of Russia’s dictators.
Despotism had been replaced by Communism, but there was little
difference. Communism proved to be an old tyranny presented as a
new ideology, and Joseph Stalin succeeded where Nicholas II failed.
Circumstances were kinder to Stalin, and he gobbled up territory in
Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Hungary,
Rumania, Mongolia and Manchuria.

Never before had one man ruled so much of the earth’s surface. Yet
there was something neurotic and fear-ridden about the Kremlin’s
outlook which success could not cure. It has long been a historical
theory that this psychosis may be traced back to Russia’s bondage in
the Middle Ages under the Mongols and Tartars. At any rate, victory
and enormous spoils did not give Moscow a sense of security in 1945.
Buffer state was piled upon buffer state, and thousands of World War II
prisoners were enslaved behind the “iron curtain” to build new Soviet
military installations.

_The Partition of Korea_

The importance of Korea in the Soviet scheme of things was indicated by
the haste with which Russian troops crossed the frontier on 12 August
1945, three days after the declaration of war. They were the vanguard
of an army numbering a quarter of a million men led by General Ivan
Chistyakov, a hero of the battle of Stalingrad.

The surrender terms called for a joint American and Soviet occupation,
with the 38th parallel serving as a temporary line of demarcation. Not
until 8 September, however, did Lieutenant General John R. Hodge reach
southern Korea with the first American troops.

By that time the Russians had gone through their usual routine, and the
machinery taken from northern Korea was estimated at 30 to 40 percent
of the industrial potential. Looting by Soviet troops went unpunished,
and regular supplies of food for the huge army were demanded from an
impoverished people just freed of the Japanese yoke.[8]

     [8] _Ibid._, 285.

The Russians had a tremendous advantage over United States occupation
forces. Since World War I more than a million Koreans had found a
refuge from Japanese bondage on Russian or Chinese soil. Thousands of
men had been indoctrinated with Communist principles and given military
training to aid the Chinese Reds fighting the Japanese invaders of
China. Thus in 1945 the Russians could count on the efforts of Korean
revolutionists to establish Communist rule in their homeland behind a
façade of democracy.

[Illustration: KOREA]

The United States forces, on the contrary, did not even have enough
interpreters. They impressed the Koreans at first as being alien
occupation troops setting up a military government. Meanwhile, the
Russians had installed an interim civil government at Pyongyang. Korean
Reds filled the key positions, and Stalin’s portraits and the hammer
and sickle emblem were seen at political rallies.

Koreans of all persuasions opposed the division of their country into
two zones on either side of the 38th parallel. The Reds at Pyongyang
contrived to lay the blame on the Americans. They made a further appeal
to Koreans on both sides of the boundary by announcing a land reform
in the northern zone. Ever since 1905 a Japanese landlord had been the
hated symbol of oppression. Pyongyang won a great propaganda victory,
therefore, by announcing the confiscation of all large estates, Korean
as well as Japanese, and the division of the land among the peasantry.

The bait was so tempting that the hook did not become apparent until
too late. Then the beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform discovered that
they could neither sell nor rent the land, nor could they use it as
security for loans. If anyone ceased to work his holding, it reverted
to the People’s Committee, which allocated it to some other family.
The State retained possession, in short, and the peasant remained as
much of a serf as ever. Worse yet, the taxes disguised as “production
quotas” eventually amounted to 60 percent of the total crop, which was
more than the Japanese had extorted.[9]

     [9] Robert T. Oliver, _Why War Came to Korea_ (New York:
         Fordham University Press, 1950), 149.

This is a sample of the methods used to reduce North Korea to a police
state, just as similar states were being organized in occupied lands
of Europe by local Reds doing the bidding of Moscow. In the Soviet
zone of Korea all banks, factories and industries of any consequence
were nationalized by the so-called People’s Committee.[10] Military
training for offensive warfare was given to men armed with captured
Japanese weapons. Pressure was put upon these recruits to “volunteer”
for combat service with the Chinese Reds waging a civil war against the

     [10] Dallin, _op. cit._, 291.

     [11] Oliver, _op. cit._, 5.

_Red Victory in China_

Moscow was secretly backing the Communists led by Mao Tse-tung in
their efforts to wrest China from the Nationalist government of
Chiang Kai-shek. Such activities, of course, were in violation of the
treaty of friendship and alliance with Nationalist China which Stalin
had signed on 14 August 1945. But agreements were never allowed to
interfere with Soviet ambitions, and Moscow aimed to create in Asia a
bulwark of Communist puppet states extending from the Arctic to the

Asiatic soil was peculiarly suited to the growth of such institutions.
Although Communism derived originally from the theories of a German
revolutionist, Karl Marx, it was adapted by Lenin and Stalin to the
political climate of Asia. Human lives and liberties have always
been held cheaply in the East, and absolutism has been the rule in
government. Communism, as it developed in Russia after the revolution
of 1917, would probably have been better understood by Genghis Khan
than Marx. For it is significant that no Western nation has ever
embraced this political faith voluntarily, even though it has attracted
a minority of radicals and malcontents in nearly every country.

Asia was ripe for change after World War II. In spite of Japan’s
defeat, that nation had made a good deal of progress with its “Asia for
the Asiatics” propaganda. The Far East seethed with unrest in 1946, and
Communism spread ominously through a China weakened by three decades of
invasion, revolution and civil war.

While Nationalists and Communist armies contended for the ancient
empire, an undeclared war went on in the background. This was the cold
war between the United States and Soviet Russia as they supplied arms
and munitions to the opposing forces. Russia also supplied troops and
laborers. For it has been estimated that no less than 250,000 North
Korean Reds were induced to serve in various capacities with the
Chinese Communists in Manchuria.[12] There the soldiers completed their
military training in actual combat, with veteran Chinese officers as

     [12] GHQ, FECOM, MilIntelSec, GS, Allied Translator
          and Interpreter Sec (FECOM, ATIS), _Enemy Forces_
          (Interrogation Reports [InterRpt], Sup No. 4), 16.

By 1948 there was no longer much doubt about the outcome in China. In
the battles of Tsinan, Changchun and Mukden, the Nationalists lost
33 divisions, totaling more than 320,000 men, in killed, wounded
and missing. Losses of equipment included 250,000 rifles and vast
quantities of other arms and equipment. During the four and a half
months following the fall of Tsinan in September 1948, the Nationalist
losses were estimated at a million men and 400,000 rifles. Even
planes of United States manufacture were captured by the Reds, who
also acquired a cruiser that the British had transferred to the

     [13] U. S. Dept of State, _United States Relations With China_
          (Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office [GPO],
          1949), 357.

“The unfortunate but inescapable fact,” concluded the United States
State Department in 1949, “is that the ominous result of the civil war
in China was beyond the control of the Government of the United States.
Nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable
limits of those capabilities could have changed that result; nothing
that was left undone by this country could have contributed to it. It
was the product of internal Chinese forces, forces which this country
tried to influence but could not. A decision was arrived at within
China, if only a decision by default.”[14]

     [14] _Ibid._, xvi.

As a result, Mao Tse-tung’s forces could claim a sweeping victory by
the end of 1949. Only the island of Formosa was left to Chiang Kai-shek
and his battered remnants. Meanwhile, it grew increasingly plain that
Korea was destined to be the scene of the next great tug-of-war between
Communism and the free nations.

_Civil Strife in Korea_

Not only had the Russians made the 38th Parallel a political boundary
in Korea; they had also resisted all American attempts at unification.
This meant that economic recovery was badly handicapped. For the mines,
heavy industries and hydroelectric plants were located in the north,
while the south had most of the agriculture. Products once exchanged
with mutual benefit now had to be imported from abroad.

Trusteeship was hotly resented by all Koreans, even though few of them
had gained administrative or technical experience under the Japanese.
This prejudice was exploited by Soviet propagandists who denounced
the “undemocratic” American policy of bringing in administrators,
technicians and educators. As a consequence, the United States
military government made a poor showing at first in comparison to the
puppet government of Communist-trained Koreans installed at Pyongyang
by Russians pulling the strings behind the scenes. Anti-American
propaganda won converts to the south as well as north of the 38th
Parallel, with General Hodge being accused of maintaining a harsh
military rule.

At the Moscow Conference of 1945 the Soviet Union had agreed
with the United States that the whole of Korea was to be given a
democratic government after passing through the trusteeship phase. A
Soviet-American Joint Commission was to meet and make recommendations
for this purpose; but as early as 1946 it became evident that the
Soviet representatives had been instructed to sabotage any attempt to
create a united Korea with its own government.

After the failure of the first year’s efforts, Hodge ordered the
establishment of an Interim Legislature at Seoul as the counterpart
of the People’s Assembly at Pyongyang. Of the 90 seats, half were to
be filled by popular vote and the remaining 45 by Korean appointees
of the Military Government. The election was a triumph for the
American-educated Dr. Syngman Rhee and the rightists. Hodge tried to
give the other South Korean factions a voice by appointing moderates
and liberals, but the Interim Legislature had no solution for the
discontent in Korea as the economic situation went from bad to worse in
spite of American aid.

Although the Americans on the Joint Commission did their best, they
were blocked by all manner of Soviet-contrived delays and obstacles.
Finally, in 1947, the United States submitted the question to the
United Nations. After long discussion, the General Assembly resolved
that all the people of Korea be given an opportunity in the spring of
1948 to elect a national assembly for the entire country.

A commission representing nine member nations was appointed to visit
Korea and supervise the voting. But the Russians not only refused
to participate in the election; they went so far as to bar the
commissioners from entering North Korea.

The new National Assembly elected in May 1948 by South Korea had the
task of forming a government. On 17 July the first constitution in
40 years of Korean history was approved by the deputies, who elected
Syngman Rhee to a 4-year term as president.

It was an eventful summer south of the 38th Parallel. The Republic
of Korea came into being on 15 August, and on that day the American
military government ended. John J. Muccio was appointed by President
Truman to represent the United States in Korea with the rank of
ambassador. Plans were made to withdraw the 50,000 United States
occupation troops during the next 8 months, leaving only 500 officers
and men as military instructors for the training of a Republic of Korea
security force.

In the northern zone the Communists organized demonstrations against
the United Nations Commission. Strikes and disorders were fomented
south of the 38th Parallel, and 200,000 North Koreans marched in
protest at Pyongyang.

There was an air of urgency about such attempts to prevent the election
in South Korea. The exposure of the Agrarian Reform as a fraud had
hurt the Communists, and the disinterested spirit of the United States
occupation was gaining recognition throughout Korea in spite of
initial blunders. Pyongyang could not afford to let South Korea take
the lead in forming a government, and July 1948 dated the creation
of a Communist state known as the People’s Democratic Republic of
Korea. After adopting a constitution modeled after that of Communist
Bulgaria, the Supreme People’s Council claimed to represent all Korea.
In justification it was charged that “American imperialists carried out
a ruinous separate election and organized a so-called National Assembly
with the support of a traitor minority and with the savage oppression
of the majority of the Korean people.”[15]

     [15] _New York Times_, 12 Jul 48, quoted in Redvers Opie et
          al., _The Search for Peace Settlements_ (Washington:
          Brookings Institution, 1951), 311.

The Russians announced in December 1948 that they were withdrawing
all occupation troops. It was no secret, however, that they would
leave behind them an NK army that far surpassed the ROK military
establishment.[16] Kim Il Sung, the Red Korean prime minister, referred
to it pointedly as a “superior army” in an address at Pyongyang.

     [16] ROK, of course, denotes the Republic of Korea, and NK
          (North Korea) is the abbreviation usually applied to the
          self-styled People’s Democratic Republic of Korea at
          Pyongyang. Both sets of initials are used more often as
          adjectives than nouns. See the Glossary in Appendix A for
          definitions of other symbols and military terms found in

“We must strengthen and improve it,” he declared. “Officers and men
must establish iron discipline and must be proficient in the military
and in combat techniques.”[17]

     [17] FECOM, ATIS, _History of the North Korean Army_, 23.

Numbers at the end of 1948 were estimated at 60,000 regulars in
addition to constabulary, railroad guards, and trainees. These troops
were equipped by the Russians with captured Japanese weapons, and
Russian arms were shipped into northern Korea to meet the needs of an
expanding army.[18]

     [18] _Ibid._

It was a military force of an entirely different character that
American officers organized on the other side of the 38th Parallel. The
new ROK army was strictly a defensive force, trained and equipped to
maintain internal security and guard the border and seacoast. Neither
tanks nor military planes were provided by the Americans, who leaned
backward to avoid any suspicion of creating an instrument for offensive
internecine warfare.

Raids by Red Korean troops across the border became a frequent
occurrence throughout 1949. One of these forays, supported by
artillery, was a large-scale NK thrust into the Ongjin Peninsula. Heavy
fighting resulted before the invaders were driven back into their own

Having failed to prevent the formation of a democratic Korean
government--the only government in Korea recognized by the United
Nations--the Reds at Pyongyang were making every effort to wreck it.
Since 80 percent of the ROK electric power originated north of the
frontier, they were able to retard economic recovery by cutting off
the current at intervals. There was no other unfriendly act in the
Communist bagful of tricks that Pyongyang neglected to employ while its
radio stations blared forth a propaganda of hatred.

Early in 1950 the situation grew more tense daily as thousands of
veterans returned to North Korea after serving in the Communist armies
which overran China. When Radio Pyongyang began making appeals for
peace that spring, it should have become obvious to practiced observers
of Communist techniques that preparations were afoot for war. On 10
June 1950 the Pyongyang government announced a new plan for unification
and peace after branding the top ROK officials as “traitors.” The
motive behind this proposal was apparently the usual Communist attempt
to divide an enemy on the eve of an aggression. For the long-planned
blow fell at 0400 (Korean time) on Sunday morning, 25 June 1950.
Russian-made tanks spearheaded the advance of the NK ground forces
across the 38th Parallel, and Russian-made planes strafed Seoul and
other strategic centers.

Captured NK documents offer proof that the invaders had already set the
machinery of aggression in motion while making their plea for peace.
This evidence included the written report of instructions given by one
Lieutenant Han to a group of picked men on an intelligence mission. On
1 June 1950 they were to proceed by power boat to an island off Inchon,
where confederates would help them make their way to the mainland.
“Our mission,” explained Han, “is to gather intelligence information
concerning South Korean forces and routes of advance ahead of our
troops. We will perform this task by contacting our comrades who are
scattered throughout the length and breadth of South Korea.”[19]

     [19] FECOM, ATIS, _Documentary Evidence of North Korean
          Aggression_ (InterRpt, Sup No. 2), 65.

The lieutenant explained that the forthcoming attack on South Korea was
to be the first step toward the “liberation” of the people of Asia.
And his concluding remarks leave no doubt as to the complete confidence
with which the Korean Communists began the venture:

  “Within 2 months from the date of attack, Pusan should have fallen
  and South Korea will be again united with the North. The timetable
  for this operation of 2 months’ duration was determined by the
  possibility of United States forces intervening in the conflict. If
  this were not so, it would take our forces only 10 days to overrun
  South Korea.”[20]

     [20] _Ibid._


Red Aggression in Korea

_Units of North Korean Army--NKPA Command and Leadership--The NKPA
Infantry Division--NKPA Air and Armor--NKPA Officer Procurement and
Conscription--The NKPA Order of Battle_

It was an army of veterans that broke the world’s peace in Korea. There
were thousands of veterans of the Chinese civil war and Manchurian
guerrilla operations. There were even a few scarred warriors who had
served with the Soviet forces in such World War II operations as the
defense of Stalingrad.

Practically all the commissioned and noncommissioned officers were
battle-hardened, and a majority of the rank and file had seen action.
The origins of this army were deeply rooted in Asiatic soil. During
World War II an endless stream of Koreans escaped from Japanese bondage
and found a refuge in Soviet or Chinese territory. Some of them took
to banditry, others were absorbed into the Soviet or Red Chinese armed
forces. These refugees dreamed of a united and independent homeland;
and at Yenan, China, the Chinese Communists encouraged this movement
as early as 1939 by supplying arms to a force known as the Korean
Volunteer Army. During the first month alone the KVA attracted 3,000
recruits, and at the end of the war an advance column marched back to
Korea under a leader named Kim Mu Chong.[21]

     [21] FECOM, ATIS, _History of the North Korean Army_, _op.
          cit._, 17–28.

Although the heads of the KVA had been thoroughly impregnated with
Communist doctrine at Yenan, they were coldly received by General
Chistyakov and the Russian occupation forces. It was a Soviet puppet
state that the Kremlin wished to see established in Korea, not a
Red-tinted independent Korean government. Communist right-thinking did
not save Kim Mu Chong and his KVA troops from the humiliation of being
stopped at the frontier in September 1945 and disarmed.

The Russian commander piously justified his decision on grounds of
upholding international law. But he offered to return the confiscated
arms if the Korean Reds would retrace their steps and join the CCF
fight against the Nationalists. He promised that after the struggle had
been won, the KVA would be welcomed back to Korea.[22]

     [22] _Ibid._

Accepting these terms, Kim Mu Chong marched into Manchuria to aid the
Chinese Reds. His force numbered nearly 20,000 the following spring,
but the KVA lost its identity when the men were mingled with Chinese
and Mongolians in the CCF Northeast Democratic United Army. Most of
the officers and NCO’s of the former KVA were organized into teams to
recruit and train Korean volunteers both in Manchuria and Korea. As
combined military instructors and political commissars, they created
an integrated Communist force out of such oddly assorted material as
peasants, guerrillas and bandits. Used first as security troops and
later welded into a regular army structure, these thousands of Korean
Reds undoubtedly had the principal part in “liberating” Manchuria from
the Chinese Nationalists.

Meanwhile, the Russian occupation forces did not neglect the conversion
of North Korea into a satellite state. One of the first steps was the
establishment of a military academy at Pyongyang in the autumn of 1945.
Founded ostensibly for the training of police, it had as its primary
purpose the instruction of army officers. Graduates of the first and
second classes became teachers when branches of the academy were set
up at Nanam, Sinuiju and Hamhung. These offshoots, known as the Peace
Preservation Officers’ Schools, turned out the cadres which were later
activated as the 1st, 2d and 3d Divisions of the new North Korean
army. For more than 2 years, however, the fiction was maintained that
graduates were to patrol rural areas, protect railroads and guard the

_Units of North Korean Army_

Not until 8 February 1948 did the “North Korean People’s Army”
come into official being with the activation of the 1st, 2d and 3d
Infantry Divisions. At that time there were some 30,000 troops and
170,000 trainees in North Korea, according to later United States Army
intelligence estimates.[23]

     [23] _Ibid._, 23–24.

The 4th Infantry Division was formed in 1948 from trainees plus a
veteran regiment transferred from the 2d Division. Two new infantry
divisions, the 5th and 6th, were organized the following year when
Korean veterans of the 164th and 166th CCF Divisions returned as units
with their arms and equipment.[24]

     [24] _Ibid._, 52–75.

It is probable that the leaders of the North Korean state were
committed early in 1950 to the invasion of the Republic of Korea. At
any rate, the training and organization of new units was accelerated
during the spring months. From February to June nine new divisions
were activated--the 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Infantry
Divisions, 10th Mechanized Infantry Division and 105th Armored

     [25] _Ibid._

Two factors combined to hasten the NKPA aggression. It had undoubtedly
become evident to the Kremlin in 1949 that the Republic of Korea could
never be brought into the Communist fold by propaganda, subversion,
incitation of disorders or any other means short of a victorious civil
war. Moreover, a successful war of invasion was equally desirable as a
cure for political discontent at home. Not only was the Agrarian Reform
resented everywhere in North Korea, but taxes had gone up as high as 60
percent of the crops to maintain the top-heavy military structure and
pay for tanks, planes, howitzers and other arms supplied by the Soviet

Although most of the heavy industries of Korea were located north of
the 38th Parallel, they included no arms plants with the exception of
a small factory capable of turning out submachineguns and ammunition.
North Korea was also able to produce 80 percent of its own POL products
for military purposes and some of the army uniforms. Other supplies,
all the way from the Tokarev semiautomatic pistol (adapted from the
U. S. .45 Colt) to the T-34 tank, were imported from the U. S. S. R.[26]

     [26] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean Forces_ (InterRpt, Sup No. 1),

Most of the weapons were old models of recent manufacture. The heaviest
load came by rail from Siberia through Manchuria via Antung and crossed
the Yalu into Korea at Sinuiju. As many as three freight trains a day
rumbled over the bridge between those cities and continued along the
west coast to Pyongyang. Supplies were also received from Vladivostok
by water to Chongjin or by the east coast rail line to Wonsan.[27]

     [27] _Ibid._

It must also be remembered that thousands of Korean veterans of the
Chinese civil war returned with their arms and equipment, including
American-manufactured weapons surrendered by the Nationalists. The NKPA
was second only to the Soviet Army itself in the spring of 1950 as the
best armed and equipped military force of its size in the Far East.

The U. S. S. R. did not limit its aid to arms. Lieutenant General
Vasilev and a group of Soviet military instructors arrived at Pyongyang
in 1949 to train NKPA staff and line officers for offensive warfare.
About 3,000 promising NKPA candidates were sent to Soviet schools that
year for courses in such specialties as artillery, air and tank tactics.

Of the original 14 NKPA divisions, the first 6 were composed largely of
well trained troops. The 12th Division, like the 5th and 6th, consisted
of Korean veterans of the Chinese civil war. Constabulary troops made
up the 8th and 9th, while the 7th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Infantry
Divisions and the 10th Mechanized Infantry Division were formed of
conscripted trainees for the most part.[28]

     [28] FECOM, ATIS, _History of the North Korean Army_, _op.
          cit._, 52–75.

The picture grows confused in the spring of 1950, with 8 new divisions
being organized in 5 months. Many of the recently drafted men received
only the most sketchy training; and some of the older units were
weakened by drawing off well trained men to stiffen the new outfits.
All accounts agree, however, that the NKPA leaders anticipated an
effort of only a few days, ending with the destruction of the ROK army.
This was not an unreasonable assumption, since a swarm of NKPA spies
had brought back accurate reports of unpreparedness. Not only was the
Republic of Korea weak militarily, but a bad economic situation had
been made worse by increased population due to immigration.

Altogether, Pyongyang could put nearly 100,000 fairly well-trained and
armed troops in the field, with about half of that number in reserve as
replacements, occupation troops or constabulary. But the problem of man
power did not worry Communists who were not squeamish about violations
of international law. For the aggressors planned to make war nourish
war by conscripting both soldiers and laborers in invaded regions of
the Republic of Korea. It was an old Asiatic custom.

_NKPA Command and Leadership_

With few exceptions, the North Korean war leaders proved to be willing
and able instruments of policies formulated in Moscow. Kim Il Sung,
the prime minister and commander in chief, was an imposter named Kim
Sung Chu who made a bid for popular support by taking the name of a
dead Korean resistance hero. As a youth he had fled from Korea and
joined the Communist party in Manchuria. There he distinguished himself
in guerrilla operations against the Japanese. In 1938, after rising to
the stature of a corps commander, he met military reverses and found
a refuge in Soviet territory. Legend has it that he attended a Soviet
military academy and took part in the battle of Stalingrad. However
this may be, he returned to Korea in August 1945 as a 35-year-old
captain in the Soviet army of occupation.[29]

     [29] _Ibid._, 90–99. Communist chiefs preferred to work
          behind a screen of secrecy and deception, so that it was
          difficult to obtain accurate personal data. Not only
          did some of the NKPA war leaders have obscure origins,
          but they added to the difficulties of biographers by
          deliberately falsifying the record for propaganda
          purposes. It is to the credit of U.S. Army intelligence
          officers that they have managed to piece out this
          material from prisoner interrogations and captured enemy

South Korean descriptions of Kim Il Sung as an uneducated ruffian were
doubtless prejudiced, but certainly he was a ruthless guerrilla leader
who showed an uncommon aptitude for politics. His rise in the new North
Korean state was spectacular, for in September 1948 he became the first
prime minister. The following year he went to Moscow for conferences at
the Kremlin, and nine days after the outbreak of civil war in Korea he
was appointed commander in chief of the invading army while retaining
his position as prime minister.

In contrast to this rough diamond, Marshal Choe Yong Gun cut a reserved
and dignified figure as deputy commander in chief and minister of
national defense. Born in Hongchon, Korea, at the turn of the century,
he had the equivalent of a high school education. In 1925 he went to
China and is believed to have attended the Whampoa Military Academy at
Nanking and the Yenan Military School. At Yenan, after being converted
to communism, he became a political instructor and later served in the
8th Route Army. Choe was commander of the Korean Volunteer Army in 1941
and fought against the Japanese in Manchuria. Returning to Korea in
1945, he commanded the Cadre Training Center until 1948, when he was
named the first commander in chief.

Even Choe’s enemies in South Korea credited him with a high order of
intellectual capacity and moral courage. Despite his Communist party
membership, he opposed the invasion of the Republic of Korea. He was
cool, moreover, toward Lieutenant General Vasilev and the other Soviet
advisers who reached Pyongyang in 1949 to prepare the Korean armed
forces for an offensive war. This attitude probably explains why he
was sidetracked in March 1950, when Vasilev took charge of the combat
training and re-equipment program. Although Choe was not on good terms
with Kim Il Sung at this time, he was regarded as a superior strategist
and administrator. And after being bypassed temporarily, he continued
to be respected as a leader by the North Korean army and peasantry.

Nam Il stood out as the most cosmopolitan and polished of the North
Korean war leaders. Born in 1911, he was Kim Il Sung’s schoolmate in
Manchuria and the two remained lifelong friends. As a young man, Nam Il
made his way across the U. S. S. R. to Smolensk and attended college
and a military academy. He entered the Soviet army at the outbreak of
World War II and is said to have participated along with Kim Il Sung in
the Stalingrad defense.

Both of them returned to Korea with the rank of captain in the Soviet
army of occupation, and both entered upon successful Communist
political careers. In 1948 Nam Il was elected to the Supreme People’s
Council and became vice-minister of education in charge of military
instruction. The most Russianized of the North Korean leaders, he took
pains to cultivate the good will of the Soviet advisers. Speaking
English, Russian, and Chinese as well as Korean, he held an advantage
over his North Korean rivals in such contacts. He also made a better
appearance, being tall for an Oriental and always well turned out in a
meticulously pressed uniform and gleaming boots.

A major general without an active field command at the outbreak of war,
he was rapidly advanced to the rank of lieutenant general and chief of
staff. His stern demeanor, while seated stiffly in his black Chrysler
driven by a uniformed chauffeur, soon became one of the most impressive
sights of Pyongyang. But his talents remained more political than
military, and he never won the respect which the army accorded to Choe
Yong Gun.

Among the corps commanders, there was none more able than Lieutenant
General Kim Ung. About 40 years old at the outbreak of war, he had
graduated from the Kumchon Commercial School in Korea and the Whampoa
Military Academy in China. As an officer of the 8th Route Army, he
won a reputation for daring in 1939 by tossing hand grenades into
a conference of Japanese generals at Peiping and escaping after
inflicting numerous casualties. Returning to Korea in 1946, he started
as a regimental commander and made a relatively slow rise because of
his CCF background. But after lining up with the Soviet faction in the
army, he was promoted to the command of the 1st Division in 1948 and of
I Corps during the invasion.

The rapid ascent of Lieutenant General Yu Kyong Su to the command of
III Corps would indicate that promotion was sometimes due to political
influence. A graduate of a Red Army tank school in 1938 at the age of
33, Yu served throughout World War II as a company grade officer in a
Soviet tank unit. After his return to Korea, he married Kim Il Sung’s
sister and shot up from the command of an NK tank regiment in 1948 to
the rank of corps commander late in 1950. During the first few weeks of
the invasion, he was awarded the highest NKPA decoration, the “Hero of
the Korean Democratic People’s Republic,” with a concurrent award, the
“Order of the National Flag, 1st Class.”

On the other hand, the career of former Lieutenant General Kim Mu
Chong, ex-commander of II Corps and ex-chief of artillery, was blasted
by the opposition of Kim Il Sung and Nam Il. A CCF veteran, Mu had
served under Mao Tse-tung on the “Long March” as one of 30 Koreans to
survive the ordeal. He commanded a Chinese artillery brigade and was
rated the best CCF artilleryman. In 1945 he came back to Korea and
conducted a speaking tour stressing the desirability of cooperating
with Red China and omitting any reference to the Soviet Union. This
lapse explains his failure in North Korean politics, but in deference
to his high military reputation he was given command of II Corps in
June 1950. The poor showing made by his units on the central front was
ascribed by Mu to the fact that Kim Il Sung picked him for missions
which could not succeed. Although he did not lack for support in the
army, Mu was relieved of his command and other positions in the late
summer of 1950. Expulsion from the North Korean Labor Party followed
after Kim Il Sung denounced him in a speech for disobedience of orders.

Mu’s downfall was only one chapter in the bitter struggle for power
waged by two opposing tactical schools in the North Korean army from
1948 to 1950. Veterans of CCF campaigns against the Japanese and
Chinese Nationalists upheld a system of large-scale guerrilla warfare
refined into a military science. Approach marches under cover of
darkness, infiltrations, probing night attacks--these were the basic
tactics employed by Mao Tse Tung’s forces for the conquest of China.
Although mobility was the keynote, a rigid tactical system allowed
little latitude of decision to officers below the regimental level.
School solutions were provided for every military problem that could be
foreseen, and many of the North Korean officers had graduated from the
CCF military academy at Yenan.

Another group of officers advocated the tactics learned at Soviet
military schools and in Soviet campaigns of World War II. This system,
of course, made the CCF tactics seem primitive in comparison. For
the Russians placed much more dependence in armor and artillery as
preparation for infantry envelopments. Such tactics called for more
supplies and ammunition than could have been provided by the elementary
CCF logistics.

The CCF veterans seemed to have the upper hand in the North Korean army
early in 1948. But a survey of NKPA officers’ careers during the next 2
years indicates that their opponents triumphed. Thus, at the onset of
civil war, most of the key positions in the army were filled by men who
had hitched their wagons to the red star of Moscow, both militarily and

This does not mean that CCF tactics had been put aside entirely. On the
contrary, these methods had evolved out of military poverty and were
admirably adapted to an Asiatic peasant army. The North Korean forces,
being compelled to import arms, were never able to afford enough
planes, tanks, and artillery to make the best of the Soviet system. And
it was inevitable that heavy losses of such equipment in combat would
cause a reversion to CCF tactics.

_The NKPA Infantry Division_

No child ever bore a more striking likeness to its parent than did the
NKPA to the Soviet organization of World War II.

The army as a whole came under the overall control of General
Headquarters at Pyongyang, which planned and directed the invasion of
ROK territory. As the troops advanced, a Front Headquarters was set up
to control corps operations. This organization of Soviet origin was the
highest tactical echelon of command. Normally including three or four
corps of several divisions each, it resembled an army group in military
establishments of other nations. Front Headquarters had only a wartime
mission and could be disbanded in time of peace.[30]

     [30] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean Forces_, _op. cit._, 3–13.

Next to the corps in the chain of command was the infantry division,
the basic tactical formation, modeled after that of the Red Army in
World War II. Of triangular design, numbering some 11,000 men, it was
reported by POW’s to consist of a headquarters, three rifle regiments,
an artillery regiment, a signal battalion, an antitank battalion, a
training battalion, a reconnaissance troop, and such division rear
services as medical, veterinary, transport, and supply units.[31]

     [31] _Ibid._

Division Headquarters, with about 120 men, included the commander, a
major general, and officers of the division and special staff. Closely
associated with the CG, and possessing almost as much power and
responsibility, was the division political deputy, usually a senior
colonel, who supervised politico-military activities and reported
any deviations from doctrine. This was a peculiarly Communistic
institution, of course, and it was the duty of the deputy to see that
officers and men of the division remained well indoctrinated.

The NKPA rifle regiment, with a T/O strength of about 2,500 men,
consisted of 3 rifle battalions and supporting artillery. Each of these
battalions, numbering some 650 officers and men, included 3 rifle
companies, a heavy machinegun company, a mortar company, an antitank
gun platoon and an antitank rifle platoon in addition to signal,
medical, and supply platoons.

An NKPA rifle company, which had a T/O strength of about 150 men, was
made up of a headquarters, 3 rifle platoons and a heavy machinegun
section. The rifle platoon had 4 squads and a T/O strength of 45 men.
Squad weapons were said to include a light machinegun, a submachinegun
and Soviet M1891/30 rifles. Two hand grenades were carried by each

An army patterned after the Soviet system was certain to emphasize
artillery, and the NKPA artillery reserve at the outset of the invasion
consisted of 3 regiments--1 attached to GHQ, and 1 to each of the 2
corps operating at that time. But shortages of equipment and logistical
problems made it necessary in actual combat for the NKPA to concentrate
most of its artillery potential within the rifle division.

The organic artillery support of each division included a regiment with
a T/O total of approximately 1,000 men. Two 76-mm. gun battalions, a
122-mm. howitzer battalion and a headquarters company numbered some 250
men each. A battalion consisted of 3 firing batteries with 12 artillery
pieces each, and personnel carried M1938 carbines.

There was also a self-propelled artillery battalion made up of 3 gun
companies, a signal platoon and a rear services section with a total of
16 SU-76 pieces. A lieutenant colonel commanded this unit, which had a
T/O strength of 110 officers and men.

The other major components of the NKPA infantry division were as

SIGNAL BATTALION.--a wire company, radio company and headquarters
company, making a total of 260 officers and men.

ANTITANK BATTALION.--about 190 officers and men in three 45-mm.
antitank companies and an antitank rifle company.

ENGINEER BATTALION.--T/O of 250 officers and men carrying M1944 rifles
and equipped with picks, shovels, axes, saws and mine detectors.

TRAINING BATTALION.--About 500 officers and men charged with the
responsibility of training NCO’s for the division.

RECONNAISSANCE COMPANY.--an estimated strength of 4 officers and 90
enlisted men equipped with 80 submachineguns, 20 Tokarev pistols, 4
telescopes and 5 pairs of binoculars.

REAR SERVICES.--a medical battalion, a transport company, a veterinary
unit and a supply section. Of the 200 personnel in the medical
battalion, about 60 were women, according to POW testimony. The
transport company, with some 70 men, was composed of 50 2½-ton trucks,
6 or 7 motorcycles and 10 horse-drawn wagons.[32]

     [32] _Ibid._

The NKPA infantry division, in short, was a faithful copy of the World
War II Soviet model. But it must be remembered that the foregoing T/O
and T/E statistics represented the ideal more often than the reality.
Owing to the speeding up of preparations in anticipation of an easy
victory, many NKPA units lacked their full quotas of men and equipment
at the outset of the invasion.

_NKPA Air and Armor_

POW interrogations revealed that NKPA military aviation evolved from
the North Korean Aviation Society, founded in 1945 at the Sinuiju
Airfield by Colonel Lee Hwal, a Korean who had served in the Japanese
air force. The organization consisted at first of about 70 students
and 17 pilots who were veterans of Japanese air operations. Equipment
included a few aircraft of Japanese manufacture and several gliders.[33]

     [33] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean Air Force_ (InterRpt, Sup No.
          100), 2–15.

In 1946 the Society was required to transfer its aircraft and
trained personnel to the Aviation Section of the Pyongyang Military
Academy. Soviet-trained Korean officers were placed in positions of
responsibility under the command of Colonel Wang Yun, a former captain
in the Soviet air force who replaced Lee Hwal.

The Aviation Section numbered about 100 officers, 250 enlisted men and
500 students by November 1948. Estimates of aircraft are contradictory,
but one source reported 7 Japanese trainers, 6 Japanese fighters and
a Japanese twin-engine transport. Shortly afterwards the first Soviet
aircraft were received, and the NKPA Air Force was created from the
Aviation Section and moved to the Pyongyang air base.

The final phase of development came in January 1950 with the expansion
of the air regiment into a division under the command of Wang Yun,
promoted to major general. Strength of the unit in April 1950 was
estimated at about 1,675 officers and men, including 364 officers, 76
pilots, 875 enlisted men, and 360 cadets. The receipt of more Soviet
planes at this time brought the number of aircraft up to 178, including
78 YAK-7B fighters, 30 PO-2 primary and YAK-18 advanced trainers, and
70 Il-10 ground attack bombers.

Captured documents indicate that the aviation training program was
speeded up along with other NKPA activities during the last few months
before the invasion. In June 1950 each pilot was required to fly 40
training missions and attend 40 hours of lectures. As preparations for
the invasion neared completion, a forward displacement of tactical
aircraft was put into effect.[34]

     [34] _Ibid._

The North Korean armored division, a copy of its Soviet counterpart,
had only about half of the overall strength. Thus the NKPA 105th
Armored Division, comprising some 6,000 officers and men, included 3
medium tank regiments, the 107th, 109th, and 203d, with 40 tanks each.
Organic supporting units were the 206th Mechanized Infantry Regiment
and the 308th Armored Battalion equipped with self-propelled 76-mm.
guns. POW reports also mentioned reconnaissance, engineer, signal,
ordnance and medical battalions and a mixed unit identified as the
849th Antitank Regiment, attached to the division after the invasion

     [35] FECOM, ATIS, _Enemy Forces_, _op. cit._, 27–32.

All reports indicate that the division was split in combat, with each
tank regiment being assigned to an infantry division. Even the training
of the regiments had been conducted separately, and there is no
evidence of prewar maneuvers on the division level.

Each tank regiment had an estimated T/O strength of about 600 officers
and men. The three medium tank battalions were supported by a
regimental submachinegun company, a supply and maintenance company and
a headquarters section in addition to engineer, signal, reconnaissance,
and medical platoons. Forty T-34/85 medium tanks were divided into 13
for each battalion and 1 for the headquarters section, which also rated
a CAZ/67 jeep.

Responsibility for the indoctrination of the regiment rested with a
political section headed by a lieutenant colonel. As assistants he had
2 officers and 3 sergeants.

An NKPA tank battalion included a headquarters section and three 25-man
companies. A company contained three platoons, each of which was
assigned a medium tank. The standard crew consisted of the commander,
usually a senior lieutenant, the driver and assistant driver, the
gunner in charge of the 85-mm. rifle, and the assistant gunner
operating the 7.62-mm. machinegun. The usual ammunition load was 55
85-mm. shells and 2,000 rounds of machinegun ammunition.

Not much was known about the 206th Mechanized infantry Regiment, but
it was believed to consist of three motorized infantry battalions,
a 76-mm. howitzer battalion, a 45-mm. antitank battalion, a 120-mm.
mortar battalion, a signal company, and an NCO training company.[36]

     [36] _Ibid._

_NKPA Officer Procurement and Conscription_

Officer procurement problems were solved in large part by the fact
that thousands of North Koreans had seen combat service with the CCF
forces. Many of these veterans were qualified as junior officers or
NCO’s without further training. Remaining vacancies for company-grade
officers were filled by officer candidate schools or the commissioning
of qualified NCO’s.

The West Point of the NKPA, located at Pyongyang, turned out an
estimated 4,000 junior officers from the time of its activation in 1946
to the beginning of the invasion. Courses normally ranged in length
from 6 to 10 months, but were abbreviated to 3 months during the autumn
of 1949 in anticipation of the invasion. After hostilities began, the
need for replacement officers became so urgent that one entire class at
the Pyongyang academy was commissioned wholesale on 10 July 1950 and
sent to the front after 20 days of instruction.[37]

     [37] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean Forces_, _op. cit._, 35–42.

Three Soviet officers, a colonel and two lieutenant colonels,
reportedly acted as advisers to a faculty composed of NKPA majors. The
five departments of the Academy were devoted to infantry, artillery,
engineering, signaling, and quartermasters’ duties.

A second military academy at Pyongyang specialized in subjects
which Communists termed “cultural.” So much importance was attached
to political indoctrination that graduates of this school were
commissioned as senior lieutenants and given unusual authority in their
units. Although a 2-year Russian language course was offered, most of
the candidates took the standard 9-month term.

Branches of the Pyongyang military academy were established as officer
candidate schools in Hamhung, Chinnampo, Chorwon, Mesanjin, Kaechon
and Kanggye. Applicants were required to have an acceptable political
background and a 6-year minimum of schooling, though the last was
sometimes waived.

A command and staff school at Pyongyang offered advanced tactical
and administrative courses at the battalion and regimental level to
selected officers. At the other extreme, NCO schools were located at
Sadong, Sinuiju, Sinchon and Nanam. Tactical instruction was given
at the platoon and squad level with emphasis on weapons courses. NCO
training was accelerated in preparation for hostilities, and 4,000
veterans of CCF service in Manchuria completed 2-month courses at the
Sadong school alone in the spring of 1950.

Technical training in aircraft, artillery, tank and engineering
specialties was offered in schools for junior officers as well as
enlisted men. But it appears that most of the officers above the
company level received their instruction in Soviet schools.[38]

     [38] _Ibid._

Conscription, according to POW accounts, was introduced as early as
1948. In the rural districts each _myon_ (a political subdivision
smaller than a county but comprising several villages) was given its
quota of recruits to be furnished between the ages of 18 and 35. The
village chiefs then assembled all the men in this age group and made
their decisions on an arbitrary basis. Selectees had little or no hope
of appeal, but were assured that provision would be made for their
families during the 3-year term of service.[39]

     [39] _Ibid._, 29–31.

The system was much the same in North Korean cities, which were divided
into sections for conscription purposes. Sometimes the leaders in
urban areas called for volunteers. If the response was lacking in
enthusiasm, men were singled out and requested to “volunteer.” This
method was invariably successful, since a man who refused could be
deprived of employment.

The conscription program was speeded up along with other preparations
as invasion plans neared completion. About 12,000 men were inducted
from March through May 1950 and given 6 weeks of basic training at such
camps as the No. 2 People’s Training Center at Sinuiju.

In some communities the men eligible for military service were
requested to attend a meeting. Upon arrival, they were taken in trucks
to a training center and compelled to enlist.

Harsh as such methods might seem, they were gentle as compared to the
forced conscription of ROK civilians after the invasion got underway.
Both men and women in captured cities were crowded into school
buildings, given political indoctrination and forced to learn Communist
songs. After a week of this curriculum, the men were inducted both as
combat recruits and laborers. And though the women were told that their
service would be limited to duty as nurses or clerks, some of them were
coerced into carrying out reconnaissance or espionage missions.[40]

     [40] _Ibid._

_The NKPA Order of Battle_

The transition from a cold war to a shooting war in Korea should not
have surprised anyone familiar with the events of the past 2 years. For
several hours, indeed, there was a reasonable doubt on the historic
morning of 25 June 1950 whether an undeclared war had begun or merely
another large-scale NKPA raid across the frontier.

But this time it was the real thing. Commencing at 0400, 7 infantry
divisions and an armored division swept across the 38th Parallel, with
2 infantry divisions in reserve. From right to left, the NKPA order of
battle was as follows:

The 6th Infantry Division along the west coast, sealing off the Ongjin
Peninsula and moving on Kaesong; the 1st Infantry Division advancing on
Kaesong and Seoul; the 4th and 3d Infantry Divisions and 105th Armored
Division attacking in west-central Korea and converging on Seoul; the
2d and 15th Infantry Divisions driving toward the Hwachon-Chunchon
axis in east-central Korea; and the 5th Infantry Division taking the
route along the east coast. Following close behind were the two reserve
infantry divisions, the 13th and 15th.[41]

     [41] FECOM, ATIS, _History of the North Korean Army_, 25–27.

There was no question as to the outcome in the minds of observers who
knew the composition of the ROK army. The very name was misleading, for
it might more accurately have been described as a large constabulary in
process of being converted into an army. Given another year of training
and added arms and equipment, the Republic of Korea would perhaps have
built up an adequate defense establishment. But the enemy took good
care to strike while this development was still at the blueprint stage.

In June 1949, at the conclusion of the occupation, the United
States forces turned over arms and equipment to the value of about
$110,000,000. These supplies included 100,000 small arms (rifles,
pistols and machineguns) and 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition; more than
4,900 vehicles of all types; about 2,000 2.36″ rocket launchers and
40,000 rounds of ammunition; and a large number of 105-mm. howitzers,
37-mm. and 57-mm. antitank guns, and 60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars,
together with 700,000 rounds of ammunition for those weapons. Twenty
training planes (L4 and L5 types) were transferred as well as 79 light
naval craft suitable for patrolling the coast.[42]

     [42] U. S. Military Academy, Dept of Mil Art and Eng (U. S.
          MilAcad), _Operations in Korea_ (West Point, 1953), 4–5.

It is noteworthy that this list was limited to light arms for a
constabulary of about 50,000 men. Tanks, military aircraft and medium
or heavy artillery were significantly lacking.

At the request of the ROK government, a Korean Military Advisory
Group remained in South Korea after the conclusion of the American
occupation. Composed of 500 United States Army officers and enlisted
men, the KMAG took on the task of directing the training of a ROK
constabulary. The group was under the control of Ambassador Muccio,
since General MacArthur’s responsibility for the defense had ended
along with the occupation.[43]

     [43] _Ibid._

After the NKPA invasion, the United States was severely criticized
in some quarters for failing to provide the Republic of Korea with
arms and training equal to those of the enemy. American reluctance
was due in some measure to indiscreet declarations by that fiery old
Korean patriot, Syngman Rhee. The ROK president, 74 years old at the
outbreak of civil war, did not shrink from advocating the unification
of Korea by armed force. On 20 February 1949 he predicted that his
troops “could defeat North Korea within 2 weeks” if the U. S. S. R. did
not interfere. Eight months later, on 7 October, his confidence had
increased to the point where he was “sure that we could take Pyongyang
in 3 days.”[44]

     [44] A. Wigfall Green, _Epic of Korea_ (Washington: Public
          Affairs Press, 1950), 125–26.

Such remarks placed the United States in an uncomfortable position. If
aid to the Republic of Korea were to include tanks, military aircraft
and training for offensive warfare, Americans would be open to the
charge of inciting civil strife. Communist propagandists would scream
that accusation in any event, of course, but there would be grounds
for the suspicion of other members of the United Nations. Ambassador
Muccio made sure, therefore, that United States assistance did not
extend beyond the legitimate needs of ROK frontier defense and internal

The triangular ROK infantry division was modeled after the United
States unit but numbered about 9,500 troops. Eight divisions and a
regiment had been organized and partially trained by June 1950. They
were the 1st, 2d, 3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and Capital Divisions and the
17th Regiment.[45] Only 4 of these divisions, the 1st, 2d, 6th, and
7th, had their full complement of 3 regiments. All the others had 2
except the 5th, which had 2 and a battalion.[46]

     [45] The absence of a 4th Division is explained by an old
          Korean superstition. Because the symbol for that number
          resembled the ancient symbol for death, it was regarded
          as unlucky. Apparently the North Koreans managed to
          overcome this superstition, however, in numbering their

     [46] LtCol Roy E. Appleman, USA, ms. history of UN operations
          in Korea, Jul–Nov 50.

ROK military strength was estimated at 98,808 troops by the KMAG in
June 1950. About 65,000 of them had been given unit training for
combat. They were fairly proficient in the employment of small arms and
mortars, but their instruction had not included defense against tanks.
Command and staff work were still at a rudimentary stage, and both
officers and NCO’s needed seasoning.

The ROK Army of June 1950 had made good progress, in short, when it
is considered that most of its components had been activated within
the past year. But it was no match for the Red Korean columns which
attacked at dawn on 25 June 1950. The ROK order of battle, if such it
could be called, consisted of a regiment and four infantry divisions
ranged from left to right across the peninsula--the 17th Regiment and
the 1st, 7th, 6th, and 8th Divisions. The remaining divisions were
dispersed for purposes of internal security: the Capital at Seoul; the
2d at Chongju and Taejon; the 3d at Taegu; and the 5th at Kwangju.

[Illustration: NKPA ORDER OF BATTLE 25 JUNE 1950]

The ROK frontier forces were not well disposed for defense in depth.
Taken by surprise, they put up an ineffectual resistance despite brave
fights here and there against odds. On other occasions the sight of an
enemy tank or armored car was enough to scatter ROK riflemen, and the
progress of the invading columns resembled an occupation rather than an

Before sundown on the day of invasion it appeared that NKPA leaders
had not erred in allowing a timetable of 10 days for overrunning the
Republic of Korea. The question now was whether the conflict could
be confined to that Asiatic peninsula. Communist aggressions were
no novelty, to be sure, either in Asia or Europe. But in the past
there had always been some show of peaceable intentions, however
hypocritical, or some shadow of legality. This was the first time that
a Soviet puppet nation had been permitted to go as far as open warfare.
Matters had come to a showdown, and it could only be interpreted as a
challenge issued by Communism to the free nations of the world.


The Marine Brigade

_NKPA Gains of First Week--Early United States Decisions--Geography of
Korea--United States Ground Forces in Korea--Requests for United States
Marines--Activation of the Brigade--Brigade Leadership_

At three o’clock in the morning of 25 June 1950 the telephone rang in
the New York suburban home of Trygve Lie, secretary-general of the
United Nations. He was informed that North Korean forces had crossed
the 38th Parallel to invade the Republic of Korea.

The news had just been received by the United States Department of
State directly from Seoul. Ambassador Muccio had emphasized that this
was not one of the large-scale North Korean raids into ROK territory
which had become an old story during the past 2 years. For his report

  “It would appear from the nature of the attack and the manner in
  which it was launched that it constitutes an all-out offensive
  against the Republic of Korea.”[47]

     [47] U. S. Dept of State, _Guide to the U. N. in Korea_
          (Washington: GPO, 1951).

The implications were disturbing. Every middle-aged American could
recall the failure of the League of Nations to halt Japanese, Italian,
and German aggressions of the 1930’s with moral suasions. Even when
economic sanctions were invoked, the aggressors went their way
defiantly without respect for anything short of armed force. And now
history seemed to be repeating itself with dismaying fidelity as new
aggressors challenged the new union of nations striving to maintain
peace after World War II.

There was even an ominous parallel in the fact that another civil
conflict in another peninsula had been the prelude to Armageddon in the
1930’s. For it might well have been asked if the Korea of 1950 were
destined to become the Spain of a new world war.

The answer of the United Nations was prompt and decisive. At 2 o’clock
in the afternoon on 25 June 1950, a meeting of the Security Council was
called to order at New York. A dispatch had just been received from
UNCOK--the United Nations Commission on Korea--reporting that four
Soviet YAK-type aircraft had destroyed planes and jeeps on an airfield
outside of Seoul. The railway station in the industrial suburb of
Yongdungpo had also been strafed.[48]

     [48] _Ibid._

By a unanimous vote of nine member nations (with the U. S. S. R. being
significantly absent and Yugoslavia not voting) the blame for the
aggression was placed squarely upon the North Korean invaders. They
were enjoined to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw from ROK

The United Nations had no armed might to enforce its decisions. But
the Security Council did not intend to rely merely upon moral suasion
or economic sanctions. At a second meeting, on 27 June, the Council
proclaimed the NKPA attack a breach of world peace and asked member
nations to assist the Republic of Korea in repelling the invasion.

For the first time in the war-racked 20th century, a group of nations
banded together for peace had not only condemned an aggression but
appealed to armed force to smite the aggressor. On the same day that
the Security Council passed its historic resolution, the United States
announced that it was giving immediate military aid to the Republic of

President Truman, as commander in chief, ordered American naval and
air forces into action. Fifty-two other members of the United Nations
approved the recommendations of the Security Council. Their pledges of
assistance included aircraft, naval vessels, medical supplies, field
ambulances, foodstuffs and strategic materials.

Only 3 of the 56 nations responding to the Council were opposed to the
majority decision. They were the Soviet Union and her two satellites,
Poland and Czechoslovakia, which had been brought into the Communist
orbit by compulsion after World War II.

On 29 June President Truman authorized General MacArthur to send
certain supporting United States ground force units to Korea. An
American naval blockade of the entire Korean coast was ordered, and
Japan-based Air Force planes were given authority to bomb specific
military targets north of the 38th Parallel.

These decisions were upheld by the wholehearted approval of nearly all
Americans, according to contemporary newspapers.[49] Virtually the only
dissenters were such left-wing extremists as the 9,000 who attended
a “Hands off Korea” rally held early in July 1950 under Communist
auspices in New York.[50] Barring such rule-proving exceptions,
Americans had long been smoldering with indignation at Soviet cold-war
tactics. They applauded the resolute stand taken by the United Nations,
and they were proud of their country for its response. Unfortunately,
they did not anticipate that anything more serious than a brief “police
action” would be necessary to settle affairs. Never in their wildest
imaginations had it occurred to them that an Asiatic peasant army might
be more than a match for all the United States ground forces in the Far

     [49] _Newsweek_, 10 Jul 50, 17.

     [50] _Ibid._, 29.

_NKPA Gains of First Week_

It was by no means a contemptible army, judged even by Western military
standards, which ripped through ROK defenses after crossing the 38th
Parallel. The major effort was the two-pronged attack on Seoul,
conducted with precision by the 1st NKPA Infantry Division, advancing
through Kaesong and Munsan while the 4th and 3d united south of the
frontier with elements of the 105th Armored to proceed by way of the
Yonchon-Uijongbu and Pochon-Uijongbu corridors.

On the right the 6th Infantry Division made short work of overrunning
the isolated Ongjin Peninsula and thrusting eastward toward Kaesong.
On the left the offensive was covered by the drive of the 2d and 12th
Infantry Divisions on Chunchon while the 5th made rapid gains along the
east coast.

In this area the North Koreans initiated the first amphibious
operations of the war with four Soviet-manufactured torpedo boats.
Built entirely of aluminum, of about 16 gross tons displacement when
fully loaded, these craft measured slightly over 19 meters in length
and were powered by two 10-Cylinder engines rated at 850 horsepower
each. With a crew of 8 men, a cruising speed of 20 to 25 knots and a
range of 15 hours, the boats carried 2 torpedoes and were armed with a
12.7-mm. heavy machinegun and 2 submachineguns.[51]

     [51] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean Forces_, _op. cit._, 45–6.

During the first 5 days of the invasion, the 4 torpedo boats escorted
convoys which transported NKPA troops down the east coast for
unopposed landings as far south as Samchok. But on 2 July 1950 the
tiny North Korean “navy” was almost literally blown out of the water
when it encountered UN Task Group 96.5 off Chuminjin while escorting
10 converted trawlers. With more bravery than discretion, the small
North Korean craft accepted battle with the American light cruiser
_Juneau_ and two British warships, the light cruiser _Jamaica_ and the
frigate _Black Swan_. Evidently the enemy hoped to score with a few
torpedoes at the cost of a suicidal effort, but the U. N. guns sank
2 of the aluminum craft and drove a third to the beach, where it was
soon destroyed along with 7 of the convoy vessels. The North Koreans
were credited with “great gallantry” in the British dispatch after the
fourth torpedo boat escaped.[52] But it was the last naval effort of
any consequence by an enemy strangled in the net of the UN blockade.

     [52] Capt Walter Karig, USN, _Battle Report: The War in Korea_
          (New York: Rinehart, 1952), 58–59.

On land the NKPA columns advanced almost at will during the first
4 days. Nearly a hundred tanks and as many planes were employed by
the two main columns advancing on Seoul, and on 27 June 1950 the ROK
seat of government was removed to Taejon while Far East Air Force
planes were evacuating United States citizens. ROK fugitives, winding
southward in an endless stream of humanity, choked every road and
multiplied the difficulties of the defense. To add to their misery, one
of the bridges across the river Han was blown prematurely when masses
of Koreans were crossing.

The fall of Seoul on the 28th ended the first stage of the offensive
as the NKPA forces halted for regrouping. Chunchon had surrendered in
east-central Korea, so that the invaders held a ragged line stretching
from Chumunjin on the east coast through Chunchon, Kapyong and Seoul to
the port of Inchon on the west coast.

The beaten and in some instances shattered ROK forces were meanwhile
falling back through Suwon in the hope of establishing new positions of

_Early United States Decisions_

A strategy of delaying actions was the only course open to General
MacArthur for the time being. One of his first decisions led to the
establishment on 27 June of the GHQ Advanced Command Group at Suwon
under the command of Brigadier General John H. Church, USA. This group
had as its primary mission the reorganization of the demoralized ROK
forces, which were already reporting thousands of men missing in
action. Secondary missions were to keep Tokyo informed as to military
developments and expedite the delivery of supplies. As early as 27
June, 119 tons of emergency supplies had been sent to Korea by air, and
an additional 5,600 tons were being loaded on ships in Japan.[53]

     [53] U. S. MilAcad, _op. cit._, 7–8.

American naval and air forces lost no time at getting into action after
President Truman’s authorization. United States Naval Forces in the Far
East, under the command of Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, had as their
principal element the Seventh Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Arthur
D. Struble. Its tactical organization, Task Force 77, immediately
clamped down a blockade on the Korean coast after wiping out enemy
naval opposition. Other warships of the Seventh Fleet were meanwhile
blockading Formosa to guard against the possibility of Chinese
Communist intervention by means of an attack on the last Nationalist

The United States Far East Air Forces, commanded by Lieutenant General
George E. Stratemeyer, USAF, consisted of eight and a half combat
groups responsible for the defense of Japan, Okinawa, Guam and the
Philippines. Primary missions assigned to the fighter and bomber
squadrons were the elimination of NKPA air opposition and the retarding
of enemy ground forces by means of interdictory air strikes on bases
and supply routes.

_Geography of Korea_

Geography being a first cousin of strategy, maps of Korea were almost
literally worth their weight in diamonds both in Tokyo and at the
Pentagon. For that matter, they were nearly as rare as diamonds, and it
became necessary in many instances to work with outdated Japanese maps.

On the map of Asia the Korean peninsula resembles a thumb dipping down
into the Yellow and Japan seas. For centuries it has been the sore
thumb of Asiatic power politics, so that trouble in Korea resulted in a
twinge being felt in the capitals of Europe. But small as Korea appears
on the map, it is actually about 575 miles in length--a peninsula
resembling Florida in shape but having about the area of Minnesota.

Variations in climate are comparable to the gradient from Maine to
Georgia along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Extremes
ranging from summer weather of 105° F. to winter temperatures of 40°
below zero have been recorded. A monsoon season of floods is to be
expected in July and August, followed by a period when typhoons are a
possibility. Altogether, it is a climate which can contribute no little
to the difficulties of a mechanized invader.

It would be almost an understatement to say that Korea is mountainous.
Few areas of the earth’s surface are so consistently rugged. Bleak
cliffs seem to thrust themselves dripping out of the sea on the East
Korean littoral. The peaks become higher and more perpendicular as they
march inland, until altitudes of 9,000 feet are reached.

The principal chain of mountains extends from the Yalu in the north
along the east coast to the Pusan area. Just south of the 38th parallel
a spur branches off diagonally to southwest Korea in the region of
Mokpu. The remainder of the peninsula consists largely of smaller
ranges and foothills.

The few broad valleys are found chiefly on the west coast, which has
a good many indentations and estuaries. Here also are most of Korea’s
large rivers, flowing west and south. Of little aid to navigation,
these streams are broad and deep enough to hamper military operations;
and in the monsoon season, floods become a menace.

As if the west coast were paying a penalty for being less mountainous,
mud flats and islands hamper navigation. And here the tides are among
the highest in the world, with an extreme range of about 30 feet
existing at Inchon in contrast to unusually moderate tides along the
east coast.

The west and south are the agricultural areas of Korea. Nothing is
wasted by peasants who till every inch of the lowland flats, rice
paddies, and terraced hills. Due to their back-breaking toil rather
than many natural advantages, Korea was able to export as much as
half of its two food staples, rice and fish, under the Japanese

The population, estimated at 25,000,000 in 1945, increased both by
immigration and a high birth rate during the next 5 years until as
many as 29,000,000 inhabitants were claimed. Seoul was a capital of a
million and a half residents, and the two leading seaports, Pusan and
Inchon, had not far from a quarter of a million each. Modern office
buildings, factories and street railways were found in combination with
muddy streets and thatched huts on the outskirts.

A standard-gauge rail network, built largely by the Japanese, linked
the principal cities and connected in the north with the Manchurian
railways. The highway system was good for an Asiatic country but
inadequate for the purpose of an invader on wheels and tracks.
Hard-surfaced roads were few and far between, and the ordinary
earth roads were churned into bogs during the monsoon season. Air
transportation was limited to only a few large airfields and emergency
landing facilities.

Altogether, Korea promised to be a tough nut to crack, when it came to
geography, for the officers poring over maps in Tokyo.

_United States Ground Forces in Korea_

The United States ground forces in the Far East comprised the
understrength 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions and the 1st
Cavalry (dismounted) Division of the Eighth United States Army, which
had been stationed in Japan since the end of World War II. These
divisions had only about 70 percent of their personnel, the regiments
being limited to two battalions.

The explanation of these deficiencies goes back to the end of World War
II. Popular clamor for the speedy discharge of the victorious United
States forces had resulted in American military sinews becoming flabby
during the next few years. Strenuous recruiting had been necessary to
maintain the small army of occupation in Japan at part strength, and it
was no secret that many of the men were attracted by the expectation
of travel and light occupation duties. The possibility of battle had
scarcely been anticipated when the invasion began, and combat readiness
left a good deal to be desired. Training on the company level had been
good on the whole, but both officers and men were handicapped by the
lack of maneuvers for units larger than a battalion.

Shortages in equipment were equally serious. There were not enough
mortars, recoilless rifles and other weapons even if there had been
enough maintenance parts and trained maintenance technicians. Most of
the arms, moreover, consisted of worn World War II equipment which
had seen its best days. Finally, the divisional armored units had
been provided with light M-24 tanks, instead of the heavier machines
normally employed, because of the weak bridges in Japan.[54]

     [54] U. S. MilAcad, _loc. cit._

It was, in brief, an unprepared and ill-equipped little army of
occupation which represented the first line of United States defense in
the Far East.

[Illustration: NKPA INVASION

15 JULY 1950]

On 2 July the advance elements of the 24th Infantry Division, commanded
by Major General William F. Dean, were flown from Japan to Korea. Two
days later, on the American national holiday, the first contact of the
United States ground forces with the enemy was made near Osan, about 8
miles south of Suwon.

The American force consisted of 2 infantry companies, a battery of
artillery, two 4.2″ mortar platoons, a platoon of 75-mm. recoilless
rifles, and six 2.36″ rocket-launcher teams. Named Task Force Smith
after its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith,
the first United States contingent collided on the morning of 5 July
with a whole NKPA division supported by 30 T-34 tanks. Despite the
odds against it, Task Force Smith put up a good delaying fight of 4 or
5 hours before pulling out with the loss of all equipment save small

     [55] 24th InfDiv, Supporting Documents, 24 Jul-16 Aug 50, 6–7.

On 7 July, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for a
unified command in Korea, and President Truman named General MacArthur
as commander in chief. Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, who had
been one of Patton’s best officers in World War II, was appointed
commander of the Eighth United States Army in Korea (EUSAK) on 12 July,
and 4 days later he assumed control of all ROK ground forces.

The ROK army, as might be supposed, was badly battered and much in need
of reorganization. At the end of the first week of invasion, the ROK
missing in action had reached a total of about 34,000. Whole battalions
had been scattered like chaff, yet it speaks well for the spirit of the
troops that most of the missing eventually returned to their units.[56]
The odds against them had made it a hopeless fight, but these Korean
soldiers would give a good account of themselves when they had better
training and equipment.

     [56] Appleman, _op. cit._

The United States forces were finding it hard sledding, for that
matter. The remaining units of the 24th Infantry Division were in
action by 7 July, having arrived by sea from Japan. They were followed
by the 25th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General William B.
Kean, which completed the movement to Korea on 14 July.

These first outweighed United States forces had no choice except to
trade space for time in a series of delaying actions. Although the
units had to be employed piecemeal at first, they slowed up the
main thrust of the enemy--the advance of three NKPA divisions, well
supported by armor, down the Seoul-Taejon axis.

Seldom in history have American forces ever endured a worse ordeal by
fire. Unprepared morally as well as materially, snatched from soft
occupation duties in Japan, they were suddenly plunged into battle
against heavier battalions. The “Land of the Morning Calm” was to them
a nightmare land of sullen mountains and stinking rice paddies. There
was not even the momentary lift of band music and flag waving for these
occupation troops, and they were not upheld by the discipline which
stiffens the spines of old regulars.

Considering what they were up against, the soldiers of the 24th and
25th have an abiding claim to a salute from their countrymen. They
fought the good fight, even though they could keep militarily solvent
only by withdrawals between delaying actions.

Officers as well as men were expendables in this Thermopylae of
the rice paddies. Because of the large proportion of green troops,
colonels and even generals literally led some of the counterattacks
in the 18th-century manner. Colonel Robert R. Martin, commanding the
34th Infantry of the 24th Division, fell in the thick of the fighting
while rallying his troops. General Dean stayed with his forward units,
personally firing one of the new 3.5″ bazookas until the enemy broke
through. He was reported missing for months, but turned up later as
the highest ranking United States military prisoner of the conflict in

American light tanks could not cope with the enemy’s T-34’s; and even
when the first few medium tanks arrived, they were equipped only with
75-mm. guns against the heavier NKPA armament. Not until the third week
of ground force operations, moreover, did the United States artillery
units receive 155-mm. howitzers to supplement their 105’s.

There was nothing that the ground forces could do but withdraw toward
the line of the river Kum. Here a stand was made by 24th Division units
at Taejon, an important communications center. But the enemy managed to
establish bridgeheads, and the fall of the town on 20 July marked the
end of the first phase.

Two days later the 24th Division, now commanded by General Church, was
relieved south of Taejon by Major General Hobart R. Gay’s 1st Cavalry
(dismounted) Division, which had landed at Pohang-dong on the 18th. And
on 26 July the separate 29th Infantry RCT disembarked at Chinju on the
south coast after a voyage from Okinawa.

The reinforced Eighth Army was still too much outnumbered to vary its
strategy of delaying actions with sustained counterattacks. While the
new American units and the 25th Division fell slowly back toward the
line of the Naktong, the regrouped ROK divisions were assigned sectors
toward the north and east, where a secondary NKPA offensive threatened
Pohang-dong. Meanwhile, the exhausted 24th Division went into Eighth
Army reserve.

The ground forces would doubtless have been in a worse situation if
it had not been for hard-hitting United States naval and air support.
Major General Emmett O’Donnell’s B-29 Superforts of the FEAF Bomber
Command took off from Japanese bases to fly strikes on enemy supply
routes, communications hubs, marshaling yards and other strategic
targets all the way back to the Yalu.

Task Force 77, ranging along the west coast, gave Pyongyang its first
large-scale bombing on 3 July. Gull-winged F4U Corsairs, leading off
from the _Valley Forge_ flight deck with 5-inch rockets, were followed
by AD Skyraiders and new Douglas dive bombers. Bridges and railway
yards were destroyed by raiders who shot down two YAK-type planes in
the air and destroyed two on the ground.

Along the east coast the _Juneau_ and other warships of the
Anglo-American blockading force patrolled the enemy’s MSR, which
followed the shoreline. Salvos from the cruisers, fired at the sheer
cliffs, loosed avalanches of earth and rock to block the highway.
Railways were mined and tunnels dynamited by commando parties landing
from ships’ boats.

The combined U. N. efforts inflicted heavy material and personnel
losses while slowing up the NKPA offensive. But it is a testimonial
to Soviet and Red Korean preparations for aggression that the army of
invasion kept on rolling. There was even some prospect late in July
that the enemy would yet make good his boast of being able to take
Pusan within 2 months in spite of United States intervention.

_Requests for United States Marines_

Upholding their long tradition as America’s force-in-readiness, the
Marines have usually been among the first troops to see action on a
foreign shore. Thus it might have been asked what was holding them back
at a time when Army troops in Korea were hard-pressed.

The answer is that the Marines actually were the first United States
ground forces to get into the fight after completing the long voyage
from the American mainland. There were no Marine units of any size
in the Far East at the outset of the invasion. But not an hour was
lost at the task of assembling an air-ground team at Camp Pendleton,
California, and collecting the shipping.

The spirit of impatience animating the Marine Corps is shown by an
entry on the desk calendar of General Clifton B. Cates under the date
of 26 June 1950. This was the day after the news of the invasion
reached Washington, and the Commandant commented:

“SecNav’s policy meeting called off. Nuts.”[57]

     [57] Gen Clifton B. Cates ltr to authors, 7 Apr 54 (Cates, 7
          Apr 54).

On the 28th General Cates had his first conference with Admiral Forrest
P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations. He noted on his calendar the
next day: “Recommended to CNO and SecNav that FMF be employed.” Two
days later General Cates “attended SecNav’s conference.” And on 3 July
his calendar recorded more history:

  “Attended JCS meeting. Orders for employment of FMF approved.”[58]

     [58] _Ibid._

The steps leading up to this decision may be traced back to the
conference of 28 June, when Cates gave Sherman a summary of the
strength of the Marine Corps. Along with other branches of the service,
it had taken cuts in appropriations since World War II, so that total
numbers were 74,279 men on active duty--97 percent of authorized
strength. The Fleet Marine Force had a strength of 27,656--11,853 in
FMFPac (1st Marine Division, Reinf., and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing) and
15,803 in FMFLant (2d Marine Division, Reinf., and 2d Marine Aircraft

     [59] Ernest H. Giusti, _The Mobilization of the Marine Corps
          Reserve in the Korean Conflict_ (Washington, HQMC, G-3,
          HistSec, 1951), 1–2.

Neither of these understrength divisions, General Cates pointed
out, could raise much more than an RCT of combat-ready troops with
supporting air.

Admiral Sherman asked CinCPacFlt on 1 July how long it would take to
move (_a_) a Marine BLT and (_b_) a Marine RCT from the Pacific Coast.
Admiral Radford replied the next day that he could load the BLT in 4
days and sail in 6; and that he could load the RCT in 6 days and sail
in 10.[60]

     [60] CNO disp to CinCPacFlt, 1 Jul 50; and CinCPacFlt disp to
          CNO, 2 Jul 50.

Next, a dispatch from CNO to Admiral C. Turner Joy announced that a
Marine RCT could be made available if General MacArthur desired it.
COMNAVFE called personally on the general, who had just returned from
a depressing inspection of the invasion front. Not only did CINCFE
accept immediately, but he showed unusual enthusiasm in expressing his

     [61] Marine Corps Board, _An Evaluation of the Influence of
          Marine Corps Forces on the Course of the Korean War_ (4
          Aug-15 Dec 50) (MCBS) I-B-1, I-B-2.

Sunday 2 July was the date of the message from General MacArthur
requesting the immediate dispatch of a Marine RCT with supporting air
to the Far East. CNO acted that same day. With the concurrence of JCS
and the President, he ordered Admiral Radford to move a Marine RCT with
appropriate air to the Far East for employment by General MacArthur.[62]

     [62] CINCFE disp to CNO, 2 Jul 50; CNO disp to CinCPacFlt, 2
          Jul 50; and JCS disp to CINCFE, 3 Jul 50.

Later, when General Cates asked CNO how the historical decision had
been accomplished, Admiral Sherman replied cryptically in baseball
language, “From Cates to Sherman, to Joy, to MacArthur, to JCS!”[63]

     [63] Cates, 7 Apr 54.

_Activation of the Brigade_

Even at this early date there was talk both in Washington and Tokyo of
forming an entire Marine division after mobilizing the Reserve. For the
present, however, it sufficed to organize the RCT requested by General
MacArthur. There could be little doubt that the assignment would be
given to an air-ground team built around the two main West Coast units,
the 5th Marines and Marine Aircraft Group 33. They were activated along
with supporting units on 7 July as the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade,
commanded by Brigadier General Edward A. Craig, senior officer at Camp
Pendleton. The air component, consisting of three squadrons of MAG-33,
was placed under the command of Brigadier General Thomas H. Cushman,
who was named deputy commander of the Brigade.

Lieutenant General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., commanding general of
FMFPac, and a G-3 staff officer, Colonel Victor H. Krulak, had been
ordered on 4 July to proceed immediately to Tokyo and confer with
General MacArthur. Before leaving, Shepherd found time to recommend
formation of third platoons for rifle companies of the 5th Marines, and
CNO gave his approval the following day.[64]

     [64] CNO disp to CinCPacFlt, 5 Jul 50.

Unfortunately, there was not enough time to add third rifle companies
to the battalions of the 5th Marines which had been training with two
companies on a peacetime basis. Camp Pendleton and its neighboring
Marine Air Station, El Toro, hummed with day and night activity as the
Brigade prepared to sail in a week. Weapons and clothing had to be
issued, immunization shots given, and insurance and pay allotments made
out. Meanwhile, telegrams were sent to summon Marines from posts and
stations all over the United States.

Among these Marines were the first helicopter pilots of the United
States Armed Forces to be formed into a unit for overseas combat
service. Large-scale production of rotary-wing aircraft had come too
late to have any effect on the tactics of World War II, though a few
Sikorsky machines had been used experimentally both in the European and
Pacific theaters toward the end of the conflict. But it remained for
the United States Marine Corps to take the lead in working out combat
techniques and procedures after organizing an experimental squadron,
HMX-1, at Quantico in 1947.

Seven pilots, 30 enlisted men and 4 HO3S-1 Sikorsky 2-place helicopters
were detached from HMX-1 on 8 July 1950 for service with the Brigade.
Upon arrival at El Toro, these elements were combined with 8 fixed-wing
aircraft pilots, 33 enlisted men and 8 OY planes to form the Brigade’s
air observation squadron, VMO-6.

This is an example of how units were assembled at Pendleton and El
Toro. Major Vincent J. Gottschalk, appointed commanding officer
of VMO-6 on 3 July, had orders to ready his squadron for shipment
overseas by the 11th. Thus he had just 48 hours, after the arrival of
the Quantico contingent, in which to weld the elements of his outfit
together. Among his other problems, Gottschalk had to grapple with the
fact that there were not enough OY’s in good condition at El Toro. He
found a solution by taking eight of these light observation planes
overseas with a view to cannibalizing four of them for parts when the
need arose.[65]

     [65] Lynn Montross, _Cavalry of the Sky_ (New York: Harper,
          1954), Chapter VII. This book is devoted entirely to the
          operations of the U. S. Marine helicopter units organized
          from 1947 to 1953 for service both in the United States
          and overseas.

There was not enough time in most instances for weapons familiarization
training. Company A of the 1st Tank Battalion had been accustomed
to the M4A3 Medium tank with either the 75-mm. gun or the 105-mm.
howitzer. Activated on 7 July for service with the Brigade, the unit
was equipped with M-26 “Pershing” tanks and 90-mm. guns. Captain Gearl
M. English, the commanding officer, managed to snatch 1 day in which
to take his men to the range with 2 of the new machines. Each gunner
and loader was limited to 2 rounds, and the 90-mm. guns were never
fired again until they were taken into combat in Korea.[66]

     [66] 1st Tank Bn Special Action Report (SAR), 7 Jul-29 Aug 50,
          in 1st Provisional Marine Brigade (Brig) SAR, 2 Aug-6 Sep

Support battalions were cut down to company size, generally speaking,
for service with the Brigade. Thus Company A of the 1st Motor Transport
Battalion numbered 6 officers and 107 men; and Company A of the 1st
Engineer Battalion (reinf.) totaled 8 officers and 209 men.

The largest unit of the ground forces, of course, was the 5th Marines
with 113 officers and 2,068 men commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Raymond
L. Murray. Next came the 1st Battalion (reinf.) of the 11th Marines,
numbering 37 officers and 455 men under the command of Lieutenant
Colonel Ransom H. Wood.

Altogether, according to a report of 9 July 1950, the Brigade ground
forces reached a total of 266 officers and 4,503 men.[67]

     [67] CinCPacFlt disp to CINCFE, 9 Jul 50.

On this same date, the Brigade’s air component amounted to 192 officers
and 1,358 men. The principal units were as follows:

 VMF-214         29 officers, 157 men, 24 F4U4B aircraft.
 VMF-323         29 officers, 157 men, 24 F4U4B aircraft.
 VMF(N)-513      15 officers, 98 men, 12 F4U5N aircraft.
 VMO-6           15 officers, 63 men, 8 OY and 4 HO3S-1 aircraft.[68]

     [68] _Ibid._

Adding the ground force and air figures gives a grand total of
6,319--458 officers and 5,861 men--on 9 July 1950. Before sailing,
however, the activation of third rifle platoons and the last-minute
attachment of supporting troops brought the strength of the Brigade and
its air components up to 6,534.

Most of the equipment came from the great Marine supply depot at
Barstow in the California desert. Here were acres of “mothballed”
trucks, jeeps, DUKW’s and amphibian tractors dating back to World War
II. It has been aptly remarked, in fact, that “there were more veterans
of Iwo and Okinawa among the vehicles than there were among the men who
would drive them.”[69]

     [69] Andrew Geer, _The New Breed_ (New York: Harper, 1952),
          2–7. This book about U. S. Marine operations of 1950 in
          Korea contains an excellent account of the mounting out
          of the Brigade from Camp Pendleton.

Rail and highway facilities were taxed to the limit by the endless
caravan of equipment moving from Barstow to Pendleton and El Toro
after being hastily reconditioned and tested. Not all the arms were
of World War II vintage, however, and the Marines of the Brigade were
among the first American troops to be issued the new 3.5″ rocket

_Brigade Leadership_

It appeared to be a scene of mad confusion at Pendleton as Marines
arrived hourly by train, bus, and plane. But the situation was kept
well in hand by General Craig, who had seen many other departures
for battle during his 33 years in the Corps. Born in Connecticut and
educated at the St. Johns Military Academy, Delafield, Wis., he was
commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in 1917 at the age of 21.
Throughout the next 3 decades he served with distinction both as a line
and staff officer, and both as student and instructor at the Marine
Corps Schools.

During World War II he was executive and later commanding officer of
the 9th Marine Regiment, which he led in the landing at Empress Augusta
Bay on Bougainville and the recapture of Guam in the Marianas. Awarded
the Bronze Star and Navy Cross for gallantry in these operations, Craig
became operations officer of the V Amphibious Corps in time to help
plan the Iwo Jima operation. After the war he returned to Guam for 2
years in 1947 to command the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, Fleet
Marine Force, before becoming ADC to Major General Graves B. Erskine,
CG 1st Marine Division, in 1949.

The white hair and slender, erect figure of the dynamic Brigade
commander would soon become a familiar sight to every platoon leader
at the front. His assistant, General Cushman, was born in St. Louis,
Mo. in 1895 and attended the University of Washington. Enlisting in the
Marine Corps shortly after the outbreak of World War I, he completed
flight training and was designated a naval aviator. Subsequent tours
of aviation duty in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Guam were varied with
assignments as instructor at Pensacola and administrative officer with
BuAer in Washington. Cushman was a wing commander in World War II and
was awarded a Bronze Star and Legion of Merit while serving in that
capacity and later as chief of staff to the CG of Marine Aircraft
Wings, Pacific. After the war he became commander of the Marine Corps
Air Bases and CG of Aircraft, FMFPac.

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, CO of the 5th Marines, was born in Los
Angeles in 1913. He graduated from Texas A. and M. College in 1935
and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant. After prewar service
in China and Iceland, he became a troop leader in three of the
hardest-fought Marine operations of World War II--Guadalcanal, Tarawa,
and Saipan. Awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, and the Purple
Heart medal, Murray made a name for heroism that was noteworthy even in
Marine circles.

This was no light achievement, for both CMC and CG FMFPac--General
Cates and General Shepherd--had distinguished themselves as Marine
combat leaders. Both were wounded in Marine operations of World War I,
and both won later honors during Caribbean actions of the Marine Corps.

On 11 July, as Brigade preparations for sailing neared a climax,
General Shepherd sent the first report of his visit to Korea. He and
Colonel Krulak had held conferences with General MacArthur, Admiral Joy
and Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, commanding Amphibious Planning Group
1. The commander in chief, said Shepherd, already envisioned a great
amphibious operation with a complete Marine division and air components
as his landing force. Not only was he “enthusiastic,” about the
employment of Marines, but he believed in the necessity for employing
them as an air-ground team.[70]

     [70] CG FMFPac memo for record, “Visit to Far East Command,”
          11 Jul 50.

MacArthur was “not sanguine” about the situation in Korea. He felt that
the nature of enemy resistance, combined with the rugged terrain and
the possibilities of Soviet or Red Chinese intervention, threatened to
protract operations. Thus he favored a Marine amphibious landing far
in the enemy’s rear to cut off and destroy the North Korean columns of

     [71] _Ibid._

General Shepherd’s report made it seem likely, just before the Brigade
sailed, that its units would probably be absorbed soon into a Marine
division with an amphibious mission. For the present, however, it was
enough to start the movement from Pendleton and El Toro to San Diego,
where the convoy awaited. MAG-33 had orders to embark in the transports
_Anderson_ and _Achernar_ and the carrier (CVE-116) _Badoeng Strait_.
The ground forces would make the voyage in the LSD’s _Fort Marion_ and
_Gunston Hall_, the AKA’s _Alshain_ and _Whiteside_, and the APA’s
_Pickaway_, _Clymer_ and _Henrico_.[72]

     [72] For the Brigade’s task organization in detail, with
          names of commanding officers and strength of units, see
          Appendix B.

General Cates was on hand at the docks from 12 to 14 July when the
Brigade sailed. His long cigarette holders were famous, and no second
lieutenant in the Corps could throw a more military salute. As he eyed
the ground forces filing past, the Commandant could only have felt
that Marine traditions would be upheld. A good many of the PFC’s, it
is true, were too young to have seen action in World War II, though
nearly all had been well grounded in fundamentals. Perhaps at the front
they might become victims at first of their own over-anxiety. But
they would doubtless grin sheepishly about it afterwards and become
combat-hardened in a short time.

A glance at the NCO’s, the platoon leaders and company commanders
of the Brigade could only have brought a gleam of pride to the
Commandant’s battlewise eye. With few exceptions, they were veterans of
World War II who could be relied upon to get the best out of their men.
And it may be that the Commandant was reminded of the remark attributed
to General William T. Sherman during the Civil War:

  “We have good corporals and sergeants and some good lieutenants and
  captains, and those are far more important than good generals.”[73]

     [73] Quoted in Lynn Montross, _War Through the Ages_ (New
          York: Harper, 1946), 609.

Nobody could give a more smooth and eloquent talk than General Cates
before a Washington audience. But when it came to saying farewell to
the Brigade troops, he addressed them in the language of Marines.

“You boys clean this up in a couple of months,” said the Commandant,
“or I’ll be over to see you!”[74]

     [74] Geer, _op. cit._, 6.


The Advance Party

_Conference With CINCFE--The Washington Scene--The Advance Party in
Japan--Voyage of the Brigade--The Advance Party in Korea--Crisis of the
Eighth Army_

As the ships of the Brigade vanished over the horizon, Generals Craig
and Cushman rushed to complete final administrative details at their
respective West Coast bases. Then, in the early morning of 16 July,
the advance party, consisting of the two commanders and parts of their
staffs, boarded a transport plane at the Marine Corps Air Station, El
Toro, and began the long journey westward.

The first stop was Pearl Harbor, T. H., island “Pentagon” of America’s
vast defensive network in the Pacific. On arrival, Craig and Cushman
immediately reported to General Shepherd. In company with him, the
two visitors called briefly on Admiral Radford. Later, Shepherd, his
staff, and the advance party met at Fleet Marine Force Headquarters
for a conference on the problems incident to the Marine commitment in

     [75] LtGen E. A. Craig ltr to authors, 25 Jan 54 (Craig, 25
          Jan 54).

The Brigade commander painted a vivid picture of his provisional
fighting force, stressing both its potential and its handicaps. He
repeatedly emphasized the necessity for the addition of a third rifle
company to each infantry battalion. With equal fervor he spoke of the
need for two more 105-mm. howitzers in each battery of his artillery
battalion. He told how the Brigade had been forced to leave behind
much of its motor transport because of limited shipping space, and he
requested that replacement vehicles be provided as soon as possible.

His presentation was not falling on deaf ears; for combat-wise
officers knew only too well how such shortages would restrict the
maneuverability, firepower, and mobility of the Brigade. Finally,
Craig repeated his earlier request that steps be taken immediately
to provide for monthly replacement drafts of 800 men. If the
peace-strength Marine unit were committed to combat in the near future,
he said, it could ill afford to watch its already thin ranks dwindle

     [76] Col J. L. Stewart interv with authors, 15 Jan 54
          (Stewart, 15 Jan 54).

Leaving behind a maze of support and reinforcement problems for FMFPac
Headquarters, the Brigade advance party boarded its plane and set out
for Japan. On 19 July the big aircraft discharged its passengers at
the Haneda Airport, near Tokyo. General Craig immediately reported to
his naval superior, Admiral Joy. Later the Brigade commander, General
Cushman, and the other officers of the advance party, assembled at
General Headquarters, Far East, where they would get their first
glimpse of the war through the eyes of the United States Army.

They conferred first with Major General Edward A. Almond, USA, and
Brigadier General Edwin K. Wright, USA. The former was Chief of Staff
to General MacArthur, while the latter served as G-3 on the staff.
After Almond and Wright had received a report on the organization and
capabilities of the Brigade air-ground team, they ushered the two
Marine generals into the office of MacArthur.[77]

     [77] _Ibid._; and Col K. H. Weir ltr to CMC, 16 Apr 54 (Weir,
          16 Apr 54).

_Conference With CINCFE_

The commander in chief greeted his visitors cordially and expressed
his pleasure at having Marines in his command again. He commented
briefly on the excellence of the 1st Marine Division and certain
Marine air units which had served under him during World War II. The
general smiled as he mentioned a rumor to the effect that he had been
prejudiced against Marines during the Pacific War. Sweeping aside this
tale as being unfounded, he said that he had always held the greatest
admiration for the Corps and would welcome its units to his command any

     [78] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Following this reception, MacArthur meticulously briefed Craig
and Cushman on the critical situation in Korea, where the war was
already entering its fourth week. The commander in chief disclosed
his tentative plans for commitment of the Marines: he would hold
the Brigade in Japan as a force in readiness until an entire Marine
division could be assembled. If he could have this division by
September, he intended to launch an amphibious assault against the port
of Inchon on the west coast. Striking deep in the Communist rear, he
would sever the long lines of communications linking North Korean bases
to the Communist invaders at the front. Thus isolated, the latter would
quickly wither, and Walker’s Eighth Army could smash out of the Pusan

     [79] _Ibid._; and Brig SAR, 2 Aug-6 Sep 50, basic rpt.

When MacArthur concluded, he and Craig discussed the organization of
the Brigade. The Marine general emphasized that his command was an
air-ground team; and though few in numbers, the Brigade had a powerful
potential if its air arm remained integral. MacArthur assured him that
the Marine combination would remain intact, unless some emergency
dictated otherwise.

Craig next mentioned that the infantry and artillery units of the
Brigade were at peace strength. MacArthur was surprised to learn that
each battalion had just 2 rifle companies, and each battery only 4 guns
instead of 6. He was even more surprised to find that each of the 6
infantry companies had 50 men less than the number called for in Marine
war tables. The Army leader had been aware of certain shortages when he
sent a message to the Pentagon on 10 July, requesting the Joint Chiefs
of Staff to authorize expansion of the Brigade to a full war-strength
division.[80] He believed at the time, however, that the Brigade itself
would be formed on a wartime basis. Now, confronted with reality, he
ordered his chief of staff to prepare another dispatch to the Joint
Chiefs, asking that the Brigade be expanded to full war strength and
reiterating his request for an entire division.[81]

     [80] CINCFE disp to JCS, 10 Jul 50.

     [81] CINCFE disp to JCS, 19 Jul 50.

MacArthur concluded the conference by informing Craig that the Marine
fighting team would remain in Japan under operational control of Joy’s
headquarters. This was good news to the Brigade commander. Being
attached to the Naval command meant that his Marines would be free
to train and otherwise prepare for their future amphibious mission;
whereas an assignment to the Eighth Army’s rear echelon might have
entailed time-consuming occupational and administrative duties.[82]

     [82] Brig SAR, _loc. cit._

_The Washington Scene_

Although the solution to Marine Corps problems had seemed simple enough
in MacArthur’s office, it was quite another story on the other side
of the world in Washington. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had rendered
no decision on the general’s 10 July request for a Marine division.
Nevertheless, General Cates ordered his staff to draw up detailed plans
for expansion so that immediate action could be taken if authorization
were forthcoming. As a result, Plans Able and Baker were prepared,
the one designed to augment the Brigade to war strength, the other to
explore the requirements for creating a full division. To cover these
possibilities together with the Corps’ other irrevocable commitments
throughout the world, Marine planners were drawn more and more toward
a single basic conclusion--if President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff granted MacArthur’s request, the Marine Corps Reserve would have
to be mobilized at once.

When the Joint Chiefs received the message which MacArthur had dictated
in General Craig’s presence, they requested an estimate from the Marine
Corps on how long it would take to form a war-strength division.
General Cates summed up his case: the Marine Corps, numbering only
74,279 officers and men,[83] was committed on a global basis. There
was a brigade on its way to Korea, a peace-strength division on the
Atlantic Coast,[84] and a battalion landing team permanently assigned
to the Mediterranean Fleet. There were detachments of Marines assigned
for domestic security, shipboard duty, and overseas security. Moreover,
in order to carry out any expansion program on a sound basis, it would
be necessary to maintain cadres of experienced personnel in various
training centers. The Commandant’s presentation made it clear that any
immediate expansion would, as proved by simple arithmetic, be dependent
upon mobilization of the Reserve.

     [83] Figure as of 30 Jun 1950.

     [84] The 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N. C.

Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to President Truman
that the Organized Marine Corps Reserve be called to active duty.
That same morning, 19 July, Admiral Sherman notified General Cates
of this decision. The Commandant lost no time at ordering his staff
to alert all Reserve units. His grounds for haste were well founded;
for in the afternoon a presidential proclamation announced that the
“citizen-Marines” would be mobilized. The following day Cates called
CNO and submitted Plans Able and Baker, the proposed procedures for
building both the Brigade and 1st Marine Division to war strength.

In the meantime JCS had notified MacArthur that his request could not
be granted until late fall “without unacceptable weakening [of] the
Fleet Marine Force Atlantic.”[85] When the U. N. commander received
this message, he countered immediately with the reply:

  “... Most urgently request reconsideration of decision with reference
  to First Marine Division. It is an absolutely vital development
  to accomplish a decisive stroke and if not made available will
  necessitate a much more costly and longer operational effort both in
  blood and expense.

  “It is essential the Marine Division arrive by 10 September 1950 as
  requested. While it would be unwise for me to attempt in this message
  to give in detail the planned use of this unit I cannot emphasize
  too strongly my belief of the complete urgency of my request. There
  can be no demand for its potential use elsewhere that can equal the
  urgency of the immediate battle mission contemplated for it.[86]

                        “Signed MacArthur”

     [85] JCS disp to CINCFE, 20 Jul 50.

     [86] CINCFE disp to JCS, 21 Jul 50.

On 22 July the gears of mobilization were already enmeshed. Taking this
into account along with the urgency of MacArthur’s last communication,
the Joint Chiefs showed the first signs of relenting in their reply
to Tokyo. This time they informed the Army general that they were
reconsidering his problem, but added that he must advise them of
the proposed employment of the Brigade up to 10 September and the
possibility of adjusting that deadline. The same message carried the
encouraging news that a directive had already been issued to bring both
the Brigade and its air group to full war strength.[87]

     [87] JCS msg 86778 to CINCFE, 22 Jul 50.

In answer, MacArthur stated his intention to retain the Brigade in
Japan, unless a more critical situation developed in Korea prior to
10 September. He described his operation planned for mid-September
as an amphibious landing in the rear of the enemy’s lines. This
seaborne attack, he added, would be designed to envelop and destroy
the Communist invader in conjunction with an offensive from the south
by the Eighth Army. The General concluded his message on notes of
conditional optimism and grave warning:

  “Although exact date of D-day is partially dependent upon enemy
  reaction during month of August, I am convinced that an early
  and strong effort behind his front will sever his main lines of
  communications and enable us to deliver a decisive and crushing blow.
  Any material delay in such an operation may lose this opportunity.
  The alternative is a frontal attack which can only result in a
  protracted and expensive campaign to slowly drive the enemy north of
  the 38th parallel.”[88]

     [88] CINCFE msg C-58473 to JCS, 23 Jul 50.

On 25 July these exchanges came to a climax when the Pentagon directed
the Marine Corps to build its 1st Division to full war strength.

At this point the change of heart among the joint Chiefs of Staff is
pertinent because of its direct effects on the 1st Provisional Marine
Brigade. As previously noted, the Pentagon on 22 July approved the
Marine Corps’ plan Able which provided for the expansion of the Brigade
to war strength. General Cates immediately set machinery in motion to
bolster the ranks of that unit. With the approval of Admiral Sherman,
he cut into the rosters of Marine security detachments throughout
the United States and arranged for the personnel thus released to be
channelled to Craig’s command. It was also possible now to implement
an earlier plan relating to casualty replacements for the Brigade. As
far back as 14 July, the Commandant had ordered activation of the First
Replacement Draft, fixing its departure for Korea at 10 August.[89]
Thus Craig could be assured of early reinforcement by more than 800
officers and men if the course of the war necessitated a premature
commitment of his Brigade.

     [89] CMC disp to FMFPac, 22 Jul 50.

_The Advance Party in Japan_

Generals Craig and Cushman were meanwhile assigned a large office
in General Headquarters, Tokyo. There they cleared away much
administrative detail which accumulates in the path of every military

On 20 July the two commanders called on General Stratemeyer. Marine
Air was the focal point of discussion as they again explained the
organization of their fighting team. When they informed Stratemeyer of
MacArthur’s decision to keep the Brigade intact, the air officer gave
them further assurance that MAG-33 would always be available to support
the Marine ground force.[90]

     [90] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Originally, the Army planned to base the Marine ground elements at
Sasebo, Japan, and the air group 400 miles away at Itami Field, near
Kobe. Craig and Cushman realized that the resulting large gap would
give rise to problems in liaison, training, and supply. Hoping to
change such an undesirable arrangement, the Brigade staff carefully
studied the layout of available land and facilities. Armed with the
results of this research, Craig proposed to General Headquarters that
all Marines be based in the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto area. After he outlined
the advantages of keeping the Brigade and its supporting aviation close
together, Wright responded encouragingly to the recommendation.[91]

     [91] _Ibid._

[Illustration: (Japan and Korea)]

Confident that the suggestion would be favorably considered,
the advance party flew to Itami on 21 July and made a detailed
reconnaissance of debarkation, billeting, and training sites. While
Craig inspected the area and prepared a report, Cushman examined the
air base facilities and established his headquarters according to the
initial plan. The Marine officers then returned to Tokyo 2 days later
to push the request for getting both air and ground forces located in
the same area. To support his proposal, Craig submitted a complete
“floor plan” not only for the Brigade but also for the entire 1st
Marine Division. MacArthur’s staff promptly approved.[92]

     [92] _Ibid._; LtGen E. A. Craig ltr to authors, 15 Apr 54
          (Craig, 15 Apr 54); Weir, 16 Apr 54; and Brig SAR, _loc.

On the 25th the advance party again set out for Itami, this time to
prepare for the arrival of the Brigade. Their plane was a scant 20
minutes out of Tokyo when an urgent message from General Headquarters
directed their return to that city at once. The big aircraft roared
back to the field, and a few minutes later the Marines were driving
through the Japanese capital.

At headquarters, Wright summed up the most recent reports from the
front. The American forward wall was crumbling under continuous
hammering. A wide envelopment had just netted the whole southwestern
tip of the peninsula for the Communists, who were now pressing in on
Pusan from the west as well as north. Lacking sufficient troops to
defend its broad frontage, the Eighth Army was falling back. If the Red
tide continued unabated, there was imminent danger of losing Pusan, the
one remaining major port in American hands. Should this coastal city
fall, South Korea would be lost.

Wright told Craig that all available troops had to be thrown into the
line to meet this threat. Therefore, General MacArthur had diverted
the seaborne Brigade from Japan to Korea, where it would join General
Walker’s beleaguered forces.[93]

     [93] Stewart, 15 Jan 54; and Brig SAR, _loc. cit._

Obviously, the Marines were not far from a fight.

_Voyage of the Brigade_

At sea the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was unaware of the decisions
and difficulties developing on higher levels. Nevertheless, that
tactical organization was having enough trouble of its own. On 12
July, Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, and the 1st Amphibious Tractor
Company departed San Diego on board the LSD’s _Fort Marion_ and
_Gunston Hall_. Designated Task Unit 53.7.3, the twin amphibious
ships sailed 2 days before the rest of the Brigade and were scheduled
to join the main convoy, Task Group 53.7, before crossing 160° east

     [94] Brig SAR, _loc. cit._

At noon on 13 July, the well deck of the _Fort Marion_ accidentally
flooded, the water rising to a height of 5 feet among the Brigade’s
M-26 tanks. An hour passed before the ship’s pumps could drain the
compartment, and briny water damaged 14 of the new armored vehicles,
300 90-mm. projectiles (then in critical supply), and 5,000 rounds of
.30-caliber ammunition.

When news of the flood damage reached Brigade headquarters, then still
at San Diego, the message was rushed to Craig. He immediately sent a
dispatch to Captain English, authorizing him to jettison the ruined
ammunition. He added that replacement armor would be requisitioned from
the Barstow depot without delay. Craig then contacted the supply base
and was promised that 14 M-26’s would be commissioned and on their way
to San Diego within 24 hours. The Brigade commander was preparing to
request additional shipping for the vehicles when messages from the
_Fort Marion_ reported that 12 tanks could be restored to operating
condition at sea. The remaining two would require new parts and 72
hours of repair work upon debarkation.[95]

     [95] _Ibid._; and Craig, 15 Apr 54.

As already noted, the Marines were placing heavy reliance on their
armor, confident that it was a match for the enemy’s Russian-built T-34
tank in Korea. Consequently, Craig’s staff reacted to the flood reports
with concern. Headquarters FMFPac was asked to include four M-26’s in
its first resupply shipment to the Brigade; arrangements were made for
new parts to be flown to the port of debarkation, and ammunition to
replace that damaged in the flood was loaded on board the larger convoy.

Misfortune struck again a few hours after Task Group 53.7 steamed from
San Diego on 14 July. The transport _Henrico_ developed a serious
mechanical failure and was declared temporarily unseaworthy. This
ship was carrying Lieutenant Colonel Murray, his regimental staff,
and the entire 1st Battalion Landing Team.[96] After Murray and his
headquarters transferred to the APA _Pickaway_ off San Clemente island,
the _Henrico_ limped back toward California with about one-third of the
Brigade’s fighting force. The vessel docked at the United States Naval
Supply Depot, Oakland, on the 16th. Repairs were started in urgent
haste, since there was no other ship available. For security reasons,
the Marines were forbidden to leave ship except for training on the
dock. On the nights of the 16th and 17th, they sat on deck and gazed
longingly at the beckoning lights of San Francisco. Twice during this
time the _Henrico_ weighed anchor and passed westward under the Golden
Gate bridge; twice it was forced to return for additional repairs.
Finally, on the evening of the 18th, the vessel steamed under the great
bridge for its third attempt. This time it kept going, but it would not
overtake the convoy until the morning of the very day the ships reached
their destination.

     [96] 1st Bn, 5th Marines, with supporting units.

During the voyage, strict wartime security measures, including radio
silence, were enforced on all ships. While the North Koreans were
believed to have no warships left afloat, their naval capabilities
remained hidden from the outside world by a blur of question marks. No
one realized more than the commander of Task Group 53.7[97] that it was
much too early to take Soviet Russia for granted.

     [97] Capt L. D. Sharp, Jr., USN.

The _Henrico_, now travelling independently, had a spine-chilling
experience during her second night out of Oakland. The ship’s radar
picked up two “unidentified submarines” which appeared to be converging
on the stern of the lone vessel. General Quarters was sounded.
While sailors peered into the darkness from their battle stations,
several hundred Marines joked weakly in the troop compartments below
the waterline. After an anxious hour, the persistent spots on the
electronic screen vanished.

Shipboard life for the Brigade was otherwise uneventful. The troops
took part in physical drills as vigorously as the limited confines
of vessels would allow. Daily classes and conferences emphasized
those subjects most relevant to the news reports trickling back from
the front. Success of North Korean armor stimulated keen interest in
land mines and the new rocket launchers. Press commentaries on the
battleground’s primitive environment made even field sanitation a
serious matter. Since there was no military intelligence available on
the North Korean forces, officers and NCO’s turned to publications on
Russian tactics and weapons.

As previously noted, Sasebo, Japan, was the original destination of
the ships transporting the Brigade’s ground elements. The _Achernar_,
_Anderson_, and _Badoeng Strait_ were bound for Kobe with MAG-33.
When Craig’s proposal for consolidation was approved by General
Headquarters, the entire convoy was ordered to Kobe. Then, on 25 July,
Colonel Edward W. Snedeker, Chief of Staff, received the dispatch
sending the ground force directly to Pusan.

This announcement came as no surprise to the majority of officers
and men. Day by day, news reports had been outlining the course of
the war. The shrinking perimeter of Walker’s army was traced on maps
and sketches throughout every ship. After the Communist “end run” in
southwest Korea, Marines began to wonder if there would be any front at
all by the time they arrived. In the captain’s mess of the _Pickaway_,
senior Marine and naval officers were giving odds that the Brigade
would reach the South Korean port only in time to cover a general
evacuation of the peninsula.[98]

     [98] Col R. L. Murray interv with author, 15 Feb 54 (Murray,
          15 Feb 54).

_The Advance Party in Korea_

With the Brigade well beyond the halfway point in its Pacific voyage,
Craig and his staff could not afford to waste a minute. At 1700 on 25
July they left Tokyo by plane for Korea. En route they landed at Itami,
where the Brigade commander and Cushman made hurried adjustments to
meet the new situation.[99]

     [99] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Leaving Itami on the 26th, they flew to Fukuoka, Japan. There they
transferred from their 4-engine Marine aircraft to a smaller Air Force
plane which could be accommodated on the primitive landing fields of
Korea. On the last lap of their journey, they reached Taegu at 1400.

Taegu was a dismal place during this crucial phase of the UN delaying
action. Hastily chosen as a headquarters by General Walker, the ancient
town gave the appearance of a remote outpost. Its airstrip was crude.
The fewness of the airmen and soldiers among the handful of transport
and fighter planes served only to emphasize the critical situation of
the UN forces.[100]

     [100] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

General Craig reported to General Walker immediately, while the Brigade
G-3, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph L. Stewart, met with his Eighth Army
opposite, Colonel William E. Bartlett. Later, Walker’s chief of staff,
Colonel Eugene M. Landrum, assembled all the Marine officers for an
official briefing. He explained that the Brigade had not been earmarked
for any specific mission. The battle situation was too fluid for
firm plans. Information from the field was sketchy and unreliable,
as outnumbered Army forces slowly retreated. From the time of first
contact by American units, the front had been more of a blur than
a distinct line. Landrum concluded by saying that the Brigade must
be prepared to move anywhere after debarkation--and on a moment’s

     [101] _Ibid._

After he and his officers had been assigned rooms in a temporary
barracks, Craig requested permission to reconnoiter the combat
zone.[102] Walker assented, providing his own plane and pilot for
the trip. Accompanied by Stewart and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur A.
Chidester, his G-4, Craig flew first to Pusan, where he checked harbor
facilities, roads, and railways. There he conferred with Brigadier
General Crump Garvin, USA, to initiate preparations for the Brigade’s

     [102] The _combat zone_ comprises that part of the theater
           of operations required for the conduct of war by field
           forces. In this case it included all of Korea remaining
           in UN hands.

     [103] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Leaving Pusan, the Marine officers flew over Chinhae, which they
discovered to be a suitable base, if necessary, for VMO-6 and the
Brigade’s air support control unit. Cruising westward, they passed
over Masan, then continued toward Chinju. From the latter vicinity,
the enemy’s envelopment was then threatening the western approaches
to Pusan. Veering northward, the reconnaissance party paralleled the
Naktong River. The pilot, who was familiar with the ground, briefed his
passengers along the way. By the time the plane returned to Taegu, the
Marines had a broad picture of the critical areas most likely to become
Brigade battlefields.[104]

     [104] _Ibid._

General Craig and his ground officers remained at Taegu 4 days.
Attending daily briefings of the Eighth Army staff, they acquired a
sound knowledge of the tactical situation. At a conference with Major
General Earle E. Partridge and his Fifth Air Force staff,[105] the
Marines were brought up to date on the disposition of aviation and its
policy for supporting UN ground forces.[106]

     [105] Hq 5th AF was also located at Taegu.

     [106] Craig, 15 Apr 54.

In the fight for time, ground force units in line were frequently
withdrawn and shuttled to plug gaps in the sagging front. Reports from
the battlefield more often were food for the imagination rather than
fact for the planning room. All of this created confusion among Eighth
Army staff officers.[107]

     [107] _Ibid._; and Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

In the Taejon area the 24th Infantry Division had lost 770 officers
and men during the single week of 15–22 July. Of these casualties, 61
were known dead, 203 wounded, and 506 missing in action.[108] Among
the missing was General Dean, and the wounded included a regimental
commanding officer, a regimental executive officer, and a battalion

     [108] 24th InfDiv Periodic Personnel Rpt No. 2, 15–22 Jul 50.

     [109] _Ibid._

Following this ordeal, the 24th had been relieved by the recently
arrived 1st Cavalry Division, which went into line alongside the 25th
Division in the Kumchon area. ROK divisions held to the north and east,
where NKPA forces were driving toward Pohang-dong.

The shape of strategic things to come was indicated late in July when
two NKPA divisions completed a much publicized “end run” past the open
UN left flank to the southwest tip of the peninsula, then wheeled
eastward for a drive on Pusan.

General Walker reacted promptly to the danger by recalling the 24th
Division from Eighth Army reserve and moving it southward from Kumchon
to block the enemy near Hadong. With the recently landed 29th Infantry
attached, the division totalled only 13,351 officers and men.[110]
Its front extended from the southern coast near Hadong to the town of
Kochang, 40 miles north.[111] In addition to manning this mountainous
line, the 24th had troops in action at Pohang-dong, more than 100 miles
away on the east coast. There some of its units fought as Task Force
Perry, under direct control of Eighth Army headquarters.[112]

     [110] _Ibid._, No. 3, 29 Jul 50. Actually, as the report
           itself states, this figure is a meaningless statistic,
           and exceeds the _real_ total by several hundred. It
           was the practice not to subtract missing-in-action
           casualties until 30 days after losses were reported.
           Also, casualty reports from far-flung subordinate units
           were received irregularly, and some of these undoubtedly
           were not available when this tally was made.

     [111] 24th InfDiv Op Instr, 24–28 Jul 50.

     [112] Hq EUSAK Op Dir, 29 Jul 50.

The 24th Division and 29th Infantry had no more than deployed when they
found themselves plunged into a confused 5-day fight. Although they
sold ground as dearly as possible, the Army units were compelled to
give up Hadong and fall back toward Chinju.[113]

     [113] 24th InfDiv Op Instr, 24–28 Jul 50.

As the threat to Pusan grew more serious, the Eighth Army commander
shifted units. In order to protect the approaches from Chinju to Pusan,
he pulled the 25th Infantry Division back across the river Naktong near
Waegwan and moved it from the northern to the southern front in 48
hours. The next day saw the 1st Cavalry withdrawing across the Naktong
in the Waegwan area and blowing the bridges.

After being relieved in the south by the 25th Division, the 24th joined
the 1st Cavalry withdrawal to hastily organized defensive positions
east of the Naktong. ROK divisions continued to defend the northeast
approaches, while the 25th Division stood guard to block any enemy move
toward Chinju.[114]

     [114] Hq EUSAK Op Dir, 29 Jul 50.

At this juncture General Craig became increasingly concerned about
prospects of maintaining the Brigade’s integrity as a Marine air-ground
team. He and his staff were aware that elements of the 29th Infantry
had been rushed from their ships directly into combat in the Chinju
area, and some units were badly mauled. Craig took occasion, therefore,
to remind Army leaders once more of the Marine tactical concept of the
indivisible air-ground team.[115]

     [115] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

MAG-33, said Craig, would have to unload its planes and prepare them
for action; and the control squadron would need an interval to set up
co-ordinated tactical air support.[116]

     [116] _Ibid._; and Craig, 15 Apr 54.

_Crisis of Eighth Army_

As July drew to an end, the situation both on the northern and
southwestern fronts was developing into a crisis. Hourly it grew
apparent that the Eighth Army’s perimeter would have to shrink even
more, so that defenses could assume some depth in sensitive areas.
Landrum indicated for the first time that the Brigade was being
considered primarily for a mission on the left flank.[117] Guided by
this possibility, Craig and his staff officers devoted a day to drawing
up a flexible operation plan. The purpose of this directive was to
advise the Brigade’s subordinate commanders of possible commitment in
the Chinju, Kochang, or Kumchon areas, in that order of probability.
Also included were detailed instructions for movement to forward
assembly areas, broad missions for supporting units, security measures
to be taken, and a general outline of the situation ashore.[118]

     [117] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

     [118] Brig Op Plan No. 3-50, 31 Jul 50; Craig, 25 Jan 54. The
           “Kochan” and “Kumwan” referred to in the operations plan
           are actually Kochang and Kumchon. The odd assortment
           of maps available in the early days of the war offered
           a variety of spelling along with far more serious

[Illustration: 8th ARMY SITUATION


The advance party extracted from the plan a fragmentary warning order
suitable for radio transmission. This message was delivered to Eighth
Army headquarters with a request that it be sent immediately to the
Brigade at sea.[119] Now Craig assumed that Snedeker and Murray would
have a reasonable impression of the situation awaiting them.[120]

     [119] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

     [120] _Ibid._

At an Army briefing on the 29th, the Marines learned that the UN
left flank was collapsing. An air of uneasiness pervaded Taegu, and
Eighth Army headquarters began preparations for displacement to Pusan.
Craig was told that the Brigade definitely would be committed in
the southwest, unless a more critical situation suddenly sprang up
elsewhere. Again the Army officers added that the Marine unit actually
must be prepared to move in any direction on short notice.[121]

     [121] Craig, 25 Jan 54 and 17 Apr 54.

With the approval of the Eighth Army, the Brigade commander immediately
sent a message to COMNAVFE requesting that the Marine air group be
made available to support the ground force by 2 August, and that VMO-6
be transported to Korea as quickly as possible.[122] Time was drawing

     [122] _Ibid._

On 30 July, General Craig had a final conference with Generals Walker
and Partridge. This time, Walker himself told the Marine leader that
the Brigade would be sent to the southwest; and that the unit, once
committed, would be free to push forward without interference from
Eighth Army.[123] Partridge interjected that his planes would be
available to support Craig’s ground troops if Marine air did not arrive
in time.[124]

     [123] _Ibid._

     [124] _Ibid._

Immediately after the conference, the Marine officers set out for Pusan
by jeep. While their vehicles bounced southward on the ancient road,
army headquarters in Taegu was sinking to new depths of dejection.
Chinju had just fallen, and the Red column was pounding on toward

     [125] _Ibid._

[Illustration: _Commandant Says Farewell--General Clifton B. Cates
visits San Diego for embarkation of 1st Provisional Marine Brigade
(Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _All Aboard--Marines of the Brigade waiting to embark at
San Diego for the Far East (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Mountains of Supplies--Hundreds of tons of equipment
ready for loading aboard ships taking Marines to the Far East (Marine
Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Arrival at Pusan--Marines catch their first glimpse of
Korea as the U. S. S. _Pickaway_ docks (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Movement to the Front--Brigade troops preparing to
entrain at Pusan for the Changwon bivouac area (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Visit to the Front--Above, General of the Army Douglas
MacArthur with Ambassador John J. Muccio and Major General Edward M.
Almond, Chief of Staff, GHQ, FEC; and, below, with Lieutenant General
Walton H. Walker, commanding the Eighth U. S. Army in Korea (U. S. Army

[Illustration: _Marine Air Strikes First--Above, the U. S. S. _Badoeng
Strait_ (CVE 116) nearing Japan with Corsairs on deck; and, below, an
F4U armed with eight rockets and a 500-lb. bomb takes off from the
U. S. S. _Sicily_ (CVE 118) (U. S. Navy Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Korea the Vertical--Marines of the Brigade literally
climb into battle during their first fights in the Chindong-ni area
(Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Marines in Action--Above, Brigade infantry and M-26
tank, advancing under fire, pass body of dead United States soldier on
left; and, below, ambushed Marines are pinned down temporarily by enemy
machinegun fire at Naktong Bulge (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _At the Brigade CP--Lieutenant Colonel Joseph L.
Stewart, Brigade G-3 and Brigadier General Edward A. Craig, with
Colonel Edward W. Snedeker, Brigade chief-of-staff, in background (Life
Magazine Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Combat Leaders of 5th Marines--Front row, Lieutenant
Colonel Raymond L. Murray, regimental commander, and Lieutenant
Colonel L. C. Hays, Jr., Executive Officer; rear, Lieutenant Colonel
H. R. Roise, CO 2d Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel G. R. Newton, CO
1st Battalion, and Lieutenant Colonel R. D. Taplett, CO 3d Battalion
(Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Marine Air in Action--Above, rocket-laden planes of
VMF-214 warming up on the flight deck of the _Sicily_; and, below, a
Corsair takes off for the front in Korea (U. S. Navy Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Marine Mortar Crew--Supporting the infantry advance
with 81-mm. shells are, left to right, Private First Class Jesse W.
Haney, Jr., Bakersfield, Calif.; Private First Class Bennie M. John,
Ardmore, Okla.; Private First Class Richard A. Robey, Houston, Tex.;
and an unidentified Marine in background (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Introducing the Enemy--No prisoner of war appears at
his best, but Marine veterans of the Brigade can attest that some of
the tough well-trained NKPA soldiers put up a good fight in Pusan
Perimeter operations (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Crest of the Ridge--Two Marine PFC’s, Harold R. Bates
(left) of Los Angeles, and Richard N. Martin, of Elk River, Minn., take
a break after fighting their way to the top of a ridge in the Naktong
Bulge (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _The Flying Windmills--Above, Generals Craig (left)
and Cushman waiting for the pilot to take them aloft in an HO3S-1
helicopter; and, below, a VMO-6 helicopter lands near the artillery
positions of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines (Marine Corps Photo)._]


Prelude to Battle

_Reconnaissance by Jeep--Brigade Air Lands--Landing of Ground
Force--Bedlam on Pusan Water Front--The Brigade at Changwon--The Pusan
Perimeter--Brigade Air Strikes First--Planning the Sachon-Chinju

After the advance party reached Pusan, General Craig established a
temporary command post in the headquarters building of General Garvin’s
Base Command. Then the Marine officers plunged into the final phase
of planning and preparation for the Brigade, although they were still
handicapped by the undisclosed secret of the convoy’s arrival date.
Staff gears were meshing smoothly by this time, with solutions being
ground out for one problem after another.

On the night of 30 July, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart and other staff
officers were discussing whether MAG-33 would be able to get its planes
airborne in time to support the Brigade in its initial combat. Acting
on a hunch, Stewart picked up a telephone in the slim hope of placing a
call through to Japan. The long shot paid off. After some wrangling by
startled operators, he managed to contact Itami Air Force Base and talk
to Colonel Kenneth H. Weir, Cushman’s chief of staff.

Stewart briefed the Marine aviator on the latest developments,
emphasizing that the Brigade would undoubtedly get into the fight
soon after arrival. He asked Weir to send the Air Support Section and
helicopters to Korea by LST as quickly as possible after unloading in

     [126] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

Craig received a radio message that same night from FMFPac, informing
him that the replacements for the Brigade would not be sent directly to
Pusan, as requested. They were to be assembled at Camp Pendleton for
travel with the 1st Marine Division, and this meant a delay which could
be critical. Craig immediately insisted that the reinforcements be
sent to Pusan to replace Brigade battle losses and form the third rifle
companies.[127] The Marine leader’s determination in this instance
proved to be a blessing a few weeks later.

     [127] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

_Reconnaissance by Jeep_

On the morning of 31 July, Craig and Stewart set out by jeep to
reconnoiter the rear areas of the crumbling southwestern sector. Kean’s
25th Division, having just replaced the 24th in line, was now blocking
the threatened western approaches to Pusan. Since all indications
pointed to the Brigade’s commitment in this area, Craig wanted to walk
and ride over the terrain he had previously scouted from the air.[128]

     [128] _Ibid._

He returned to Pusan just in time to receive a telephone call from
Colonel Landrum of Eighth Army Headquarters. The chief of staff told
him of General Walker’s intention to attach the Army’s 5th Regimental
Combat Team, newly arrived from Hawaii, to the 1st Provisional Marine
Brigade. With two regiments under his command, Craig would be assigned
a vital area of responsibility along the Nam River, near its confluence
with the Naktong north of Masan.[129] Unfortunately, the Brigade
reached Korea 1 day too late. When the 5th RCT debarked at Pusan on 1
August, it was earmarked for the 25th Division and placed in Eighth
Army reserve.[130]

     [129] _Ibid._

     [130] MCBS, II-A-7.

Also debarking on the 1st was the Army’s skeletonized 2d Division. This
unit cleared Pusan and hurried to the hard-pressed Taegu area where it
also passed into Eighth Army reserve.[131]

     [131] Hq EUSAK Op Dir, 3 Jul 50.

During the last hours before the Brigade’s arrival, Lieutenant Colonel
Chidester was diligently engaged in the task--or art--of procurement.
It has already been explained why the Marine ground force would debark
for combat with little more than what its troops could carry on
their backs. In order to offset partially the deficiencies, the G-4
successfully negotiated with Army authorities for 50 cargo trucks,
several jeeps, some radio vans, and various other items of equipment.
Officers of the Pusan Base Command reacted to all of Chidester’s
requests with as much generosity as their meager stocks of materiel
would allow.[132]

     [132] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Not until the morning of 2 August did General Craig learn that Task
Group 53.7 was scheduled to dock at Pusan that very evening. The
last-minute disclosure relieved him of considerable anxiety, but he was
still disturbed for want of specific orders concerning departure of the
Brigade from Pusan. His instructions from General Walker were to debark
the ground force immediately and have it prepared to move forward by
0600 the following morning. The same orders advised him that a specific
destination “would be given later.”[133]

     [133] _Ibid._

“Later” did not come soon enough for the Marine commander. As the
long column of ships steamed into Pusan Harbor in the early evening,
he still did not know where he would lead his Brigade the next

     [134] _Ibid._

_Brigade Air Lands_

When Task Group 53.7 entered Far Eastern waters, the ships transporting
the forward echelon of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing veered toward
Japan, while the others continued to Korea. The Brigade’s air arm
arrived at Kobe late in the afternoon of 31 July.

Within three hours debarkation had been completed and unloading was
in full swing. A waiting LST took on Marine Tactical Air Control
Squadron Two and the ground personnel and equipment of VMO-6. By the
next morning it was steaming toward Pusan, carrying the vital link in
General Craig’s air-ground team. Cushman and Weir were making good
their promises.[135]

     [135] Annexes Charlie and Fox to MAG-33 SAR, 5 Jul-6 Sep 50.

Since harbor facilities at Kobe were unsuitable for offloading
aircraft, the _Badoeng Strait_ stood out to sea on 1 August and
catapulted 44 of its Marine fighter planes into the air. The aircraft
sped to the field at Itami, where they were quickly checked by pilots
and crews for their imminent role in combat. On the following day, the
other 26 fighters left the carrier and joined the first group ashore
for maintenance and testing.[136]

     [136] Annex Charlie, _ibid._

To achieve maximum mobility and striking power, Marine and Navy
commanders agreed to base VMF’s 214 and 323 aboard aircraft carriers
for initial operations over Korea. After only 1 day of refresher
flights at Itami, the pilots of VMF-214 landed their planes aboard the
U. S. S. _Sicily_. Two days later, on 5 August, Major Arnold Lund led
his VMF-323 back to the _Badoeng Strait_.[137]

     [137] VMF-323 SAR, 3 Aug-6 Sep 50.

The squadron of night fighters, VMF(N)-513, was land-based. Having been
assigned to the Fifth Air Force, it would be controlled by the Itazuke
field for night heckler missions over Korea. This unit had time for
only a few night training flights before being committed to combat.[138]

     [138] Annex Charlie, _op. cit._

Kobe’s waterfront was the scene of feverish activity around the clock.
The light observation planes and helicopters of VMO-6 were unloaded,
assembled, and--to the amazement of local Japanese--flown from the very
streets of the city to the base at Itami. There they were hurriedly
checked by mechanics and prepared for the short ferry flight to

     [139] _Ibid._

Headquarters and Service Squadrons of MAG-33 were left with the task of
unloading supplies and equipment from the _Achernar_ and _Anderson_.
Since the three fighter squadrons were farmed out to the carriers and
Air Force, Group headquarters turned its attention to administrative
and maintenance matters. For the next month it would be hard-pressed to
keep the carrier squadrons supplied with spare parts while providing
replacement aircraft for the seaborne units, handling a variety of
airlift requests with its lone transport plane, and making arrangements
for the support of VMF(N)-513 at Itazuke.[140]

     [140] _Ibid._

_Landing of Ground Force_

The hapless _Henrico_ finally overtook Task Group 53.7 in the Tsushima
Straits on the morning of 2 August. A few hours later the Marines of
the Brigade got their first glimpse of Korea’s skyline. Seen from a
distance, the wall of forbidding, gray peaks was hardly a welcome
sight to men who had been broiled and toughened on the heights of Camp

For reasons unknown, neither Colonel Snedeker nor anyone else had
received the operations plan which Craig had sent via Eighth Army
at Taegu. Although every Marine in the convoy realized the gravity
of the situation ashore, there could be no specific preparations by
troop leaders whose only source of information was an occasional news

Having heard nothing from his superiors, Lieutenant Colonel Murray was
thinking in terms of a purely administrative landing. Had he known
what awaited his 5th Marines ashore, he would have had his troops draw
ammunition and rations while still at sea. Throughout the sleepless
night that followed, he had ample time to reflect sourly on the
fortunes of war.[141]

     [141] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

Shortly after 1700 on 2 August, the first ship steamed into Pusan
Harbor. As it edged toward the dock, Leathernecks crowding the rail
were greeted by a tinny and slightly tone-deaf rendition of the Marine
Corps Hymn, blared by a South Korean band. Army troops scattered
along the waterfront exchanged the usual barbed courtesies with their
webfooted brethren aboard ship, and old salts smiled while noting that
tradition remained intact.

When the _Clymer_ approached its berth, Craig waved a greeting to
Snedeker and shouted, “What battalion is the advance guard?”[142]

     [142] BrigGen E. W. Snedeker ltr to CMC, 21 Apr 54.

The chief of staff registered an expression of astonishment.

“Did you get my orders?” Craig called to Murray when the _Pickaway_
slid against the dock.

“No, sir!”[143] replied the CO of the 5th Marines.

     [143] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

Craig ordered a conference at 2100 for the Brigade staff, Murray,
battalion commanders, and the leaders of supporting units. When the
officers entered the wardroom of the _Clymer_ at the specified time,
the last ship of Task Group 53.7 was being moored in its berth.

After introductory remarks by the general, his G-2, Lieutenant Colonel
Ellsworth G. Van Orman, launched the briefing with a grim narrative
of the enemy situation. Next came Stewart, who outlined tentative
operations plans. The Brigade would definitely begin moving forward at
0600 the next morning, although a specific destination had yet to be
assigned by the Army. Travel would be by road and rail. The necessary
trains were already awaiting in the Pusan terminal, and the 50 trucks
procured by Chidester were standing by, complete with Army drivers.[144]

     [144] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

Craig then summed up his earlier discussions with Walker. The Army
leader had voiced a strong desire to use the Marines in an attack, for
he felt it was high time to strike back at the Red invader. Employment
of the Brigade as an offensive force was a natural conclusion to its
commander, and he told his subordinates how he had won assurances for
the integrity of the air-ground team. This was an encouraging note on
which to close one of the strangest combat briefings in the history of
the Corps. The leaders of over 4,000 Marines rushed from the ship to
alert their units for movement into a critical tactical situation. They
would leave in a few hours, but didn’t know where they were going.[145]

     [145] _Ibid._

_Bedlam on Pusan Waterfront_

It is not surprising that the Pusan waterfront turned into a bedlam. As
darkness settled, thousands of Marines poured onto the docks. Cranes
and working parties unloaded vehicles, supplies and equipment, while
a chorus of commands and comments was added to the roar of machinery.
Supply points were set up under searchlights, and long lines of
Marines formed on the docks, in buildings and along streets. Armfuls
of C-rations, machinegun belts, grenades, and bandoleers gave men the
appearance of harried Christmas shoppers caught in a last-minute rush.

The activity and din continued all night. Few men could sleep through
the noise, crowding, and shuffling. Before dawn, new lines began to
form in reverse as groggy Marines filed back aboard ships to get their
last hot meal for many a day.

After the conference aboard the _Clymer_, Brigade headquarters resumed
its efforts to obtain specific information from Taegu. Finally, at
2325, Landrum telephoned Craig and announced Walker’s decision--the
Brigade would go westward to the vicinity of Changwon, where it would
remain for the time being in Eighth Army reserve. Only Walker himself
could order any further move. If some extreme emergency arose and
communications with Eighth Army were lost, the Brigade would then come
under the control of the CG, 25th Infantry Division.[146]

     [146] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

The long-awaited message gave added impetus to the unloading
operations. Major William L. Batchelor’s shore party company devoted
one of its principal efforts to the big howitzers and vehicles of 1/11,
while English and his tankmen struggled to get their steel monsters
ashore from the LSD’s. Engineer heavy equipment, mobile maintenance
shops of the Ordnance Detachment, fuel, ammunition, and medical
supplies swung from decks to docks, where waiting Marines rushed them
off to staging areas around the waterfront.

Altogether, 9,400 tons of supplies were unloaded, and the vast majority
were turned over to Army quartermaster authorities in Pusan. Four
officers and 100 men of Major Thomas J. O’Mahoney’s Combat Service
Detachment were designated as the Brigade rear echelon. This group
would remain in the port city to handle logistical and administrative
matters. Supplies were moved into Army warehouses, where they became
part of the common pool shared by all units at the front. This led to
confusion later, when the Brigade requested its own Class II and IV
items, only to discover that they had already been issued to other
outfits. But the Army divisions had already been fighting for a month
in a war which caught the nation unprepared, so that the Pusan Base
Command had no alternative but to issue supplies on the basis of
immediate need, not ownership.[147]

     [147] Brig SAR, basic rpt.

The Brigade was prepared to travel light. Not only the bulk of supplies
but also all personal baggage was left behind in Pusan, to be stored
and safeguarded by the rear echelon. When dawn broke on 3 August, each
Marine carried only his pack, weapon, ammunition, and rations.[148]

     [148] Annex Queen, _ibid._

_The Brigade at Changwon_

Despite the tumult of the sleepless night at Pusan, Lieutenant Colonel
George R. Newton’s 1st Battalion set out for Changwon shortly after
0600 on 3 August. As advance guard for the Brigade, it made the 40-mile
trip in Marine and Army trucks, reaching a point 1 mile west of the
town at 1400. There the battalion took up defensive positions astride
the Changwon-Masan road in order to cover the arrival of the remainder
of the Brigade.[149]

     [149] Annex How.

Although he had orders to bivouac at Changwon, General Craig decided to
deploy the Brigade defensively to the west of the town. This decision
was prompted by the enemy situation west of Masan, which was a scant 6½
miles from Changwon. Then, too, the Marine commander saw the layover as
a final opportunity to check the field discipline of the Brigade.[150]

     [150] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Between 0630 and 0700, the main body of the Marine ground force moved
out of Pusan by road and rail. Vehicles over 2½ tons, all heavy
equipment, and the M-26 tanks were transported on flatcars.

The roads were narrow and bumpy, and the churning wheels of the
trucks threw up clouds of stifling dust that hung in the air and
painted Marines and equipment a ghostly gray. Aboard the primitive
trains, which frequently jolted to stops for no apparent reason, men
tried vainly to fit themselves to miniature wooden seats constructed
in perfect right angles. And always, the troops inhaled that
characteristic odor drifting in from well-fertilized rice paddies.

By 1600, all combat and support elements of the Brigade, with
the exception of one tank platoon, had arrived in the Changwon
area. Southwest of the city the 1st Battalion was relieved of its
responsibility on the left side of the Changwon-Masan road, when 3/5
occupied the high ground in that area. Newton was then able to extend
his right flank farther along the towering ridge north of the road.[151]

     [151] Annex How.

South of the MSR, a wide rice paddy stretched between 3/5’s positions
and the town. Almost in the center of this low ground was a hill
commanding a good all-around view of the entire area. It was on this
dominating height that Lieutenant Colonel Harold S. Roise deployed
his 2d Battalion. Behind Roise, General Craig established his CP in a
small basin among hills in the immediate vicinity of Changwon. Close-in
protection for his headquarters was provided by the engineer company
and various headquarters units. Throughout the interior of the bivouac
area were tank platoons and the batteries of Lieutenant Colonel Wood’s
artillery battalion.

As night settled on 3 August, an army of phantoms invaded the Brigade
perimeter and drove to the very fringe of Craig’s CP. The reaction of
green troops was typical of men new to combat. Shortly after 2200, a
rifle shot cracked. Many Brigade Marines had never heard a weapon fired
in combat, so they concluded that likely targets were present in the
perimeter area. As nerve-taut men stared fixedly into the blackness,
forms that had been harmless bushes and rocks took on the guise of
Communist infiltrators.

The first shot was soon followed by others. Toward midnight, the firing
developed into a continuous crackle, particularly in the immediate
vicinity of the Brigade CP. Palpitating hearts pounded even more
strenuously when two Marine machineguns began chattering in positions
occupied by Brigade headquarters troops.

Anxiety also spread to the foxholes of the 5th Marines. In 2/5’s area
one man was shot. The 1st Battalion suffered 2 casualties, 1 resulting
from mistaken identity during challenging, the other inflicted when a
weapon discharged accidentally.[152]

     [152] _Ibid._

The commotion finally died down around 0300, after cursing NCO’s
convinced the military novices that they had been firing at delusions
of their own overwrought imaginations.

Although such a reaction is not uncommon among untried troops, this
realization was no balm to a wrathful Brigade commander at dawn on
4 August. Craig called in leaders of the most obvious offenders and
severely reprimanded them. He made it known in no uncertain terms that
such conduct would not be tolerated again; and from that time on, every
man in the Brigade took him at his word.

The remainder of the stay at Changwon was relatively calm. On one
occasion a group of seven unidentified persons was spotted atop a
mountain overlooking the Brigade area. Closer scrutiny disclosed that
the individuals had radios and were carefully observing all activity
within the Marine perimeter. A platoon of infantry was dispatched to
destroy what was apparently an enemy observation post; but by the
time the rifleman scaled the height, both intruders and radios had

The climb caused a number of heat prostration cases within the platoon,
for Korean terrain and heat were giving Marines their first bitter
taste of a crippling combination. Brigade helicopters, flown to Pusan
on 2 August, set a combat precedent by delivering rations and water to
the infantrymen on the mountain, and by evacuating the more severe heat

     [153] Brig SAR, basic rpt.

While Craig’s ground force spent its time patrolling and training
around Changwon, VMO-6 and the Air Support Section (MTACS-2) were
readying themselves. Accompanying the 4 HO3S helicopters in the flight
to Pusan from Japan on 2 August were 4 of VMO-6’s OY-2 observation
planes. The other 4 light aircraft remained in Japan, to be used as
spares. On 4 August the LST which had been dispatched by Cushman and
Weir also arrived at the South Korean port. While two helicopters flew
to Changwon to operate from Craig’s CP, the others, together with the
rest of VMO-6 and the Air Support Section, moved to the airfield at
Chinhae. By 5 August, MTACS-2 had established communications with the
_Sicily_ and _Badoeng Strait_ and was ready for business.

_The Pusan Perimeter_

The big picture, militarily speaking, was outlined in somber colors
during the first few days of August 1950. Only the southeast corner of
Korea was left to the Eighth Army and its battered ROK allies. Space
had been traded for time until there remained in effect merely a UN
beachhead about 90 miles long and 60 wide.

Unremitting enemy pressure throughout July had pushed the UN forces
back to positions stretching raggedly from Pohang-dong on the east
coast to Masan on the south coast by way of Taegu in the center. The
logistical lifeline extended from Pusan to Taegu both by road and rail,
and some 300,000 tons of supplies were moved in July by the Pusan
Logistical Command.

The vital seaport had to be held if the UN forces were to retain a
foothold in the peninsula, and the enemy was already threatening both
Pohang-dong and Masan, each within 50 miles. Only by courtesy could the
irregular chain of UN positions have been called a line. Gaps were the
rule rather than exception, and an entire enemy corps might have driven
through the mountainous area between Andong and Yongdok without meeting
serious opposition. Nor was this the only spot where the dangerously
stretched UN forces had to depend on the terrain for support. Yet the
time had come to make a stand, and this final UN beachhead has gone
down in history by the name of the Pusan Perimeter.

From Taegu in the center to the eastern coast, five depleted ROK
divisions were arrayed during the first week in August. East of the
Naktong, from the Taegu-Waegwan area southward, the 1st Cavalry and the
24th Infantry Division held defensive positions. This left the southern
sector to the 25th Division, reinforced by the Army 5th RCT and the 1st
Provisional Marine Brigade.

The principal enemy units pressing toward Masan and Pusan in the
southern sector were identified as the NKPA 6th Infantry Division and
the 83d Motorcycle Regiment. Composed entirely of Chinese civil war
veterans in July 1949, the 6th Division had at that time been the 166th
Division, 56th CCF Army, which later entered Korea as a completely
equipped unit. Its three infantry regiments, the 13th, 14th, and 15th,
were distinguished throughout the invasion for a high esprit de corps.
After capturing Yongdungpo, an industrial suburb of Seoul, the 6th had
pushed southward and won fresh honors by forcing the river Kum and
taking Kunsan by storm.[154]

     [154] FECOM, ATIS, _North Korean 6th Infantry Division_
           (InterRpt, Sup No. 100), 33–6.

On the eve of the Kunsan operation, according to a captured enemy
document, troops of the 6th were informed that they were facing a
United States Army regiment. “Since this unit is planning to advance to
the north, it is our mission to envelop and annihilate it.... We are
fully prepared and confident of success in this operation.”[155]

     [155] _Ibid._

A numerical superiority as well as good combat discipline enabled
the initial assault waves to cross the Kum in pneumatic floats and
establish a bridgehead before noon on 16 July 1950. Half of the town
of Kunsan was occupied before nightfall, and the United States and ROK
defenders withdrew under cover of darkness.

Next came the “end run,” with 6th Division units racing toward the
capture of Namwon, Kwangju, Yosu, and Mokpu in the southwest corner
of the peninsula. No opposition awaited except ineffectual delaying
actions by ROK constabulary troops. After mopping up a few small
pockets of resistance, the 6th Division pushed eastward to lead the
North Korean drive toward Pusan.

The capture of Sunchon gave the division an assembly area for the
attack on Chinju. And on 28 July the commander. Major General Pang,
issued a message to his troops:

  “Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given to us is the
  liberation of Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnants
  of the enemy. We have liberated Mokpu, Kwangju and Yosu and have
  thereby accelerated the liberation of all Korea. However, the
  liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battle to cut off the
  windpipe of the enemy. Comrades, this glorious task has fallen to our
  division! Men of the 6th Division, let us annihilate the enemy and
  distinguish ourselves!”[156]

     [156] _Ibid._

Up to that time the division’s total casualties had been remarkably
few. Only 400 killed and wounded were reported from 25 June until after
the capture of Kunsan, and the 6th had met scarcely any opposition
since that action. It was just prior to the assault on Chinju,
moreover, that the 83d Motorcycle Regiment was attached to reinforce
the drive toward Pusan.

This unit had been part of the 105th Armored Division until June
1950, when it was given a separate existence. Equipment consisted
of motorcycles with sidecars and jeeps of Soviet manufacture. Fixed
machineguns on both types of vehicles were operated by the crews in
addition to submachineguns. Not much is known about the numbers of
the 83d at this time, but it had experienced little combat since the
beginning of the invasion.[157]

     [157] _Ibid._, _Enemy Forces_, _op. cit._, 36–7.

During the advance on Chinju the NKPA column ran into elements of the
United States 24th Infantry Division and was stopped by machinegun fire
at Hadong. All three regiments of the 6th Division had to be committed
before this halfway point could be secured, and the 83d Motorcycle
Regiment was blooded in the attack. More hard fighting awaited on the
road to Chinju, but the two NKPA outfits battled their way into the
town on or about 30 July 1950.

_Brigade Air Strikes First_

These North Korean units were destined to become the opponents of the
Brigade a few days later. Before the Marine ground forces could get
into action, however, the air components struck the first blow.

When Lieutenant Colonel Walter E. Lischeid’s VMF-214 landed on board
the _Sicily_ on 3 August, eight of its Corsairs were immediately
refueled and armed. At 1630, the initial Marine offensive action of the
war was launched as the fighter planes roared up from the carrier’s
flight deck. Minutes later their incendiary bombs and rockets were
hitting Red-held Chinju and the village of Sinban-ni. A series of
strafing runs concluded the Marines’ greeting to the North Korean
People’s Army.[158]

     [158] VMF-214 SAR, 14 Jul-6 Sep 50.

While the 2 Red bases were erupting in smoke and flame, 2 other pilots
of the squadron flew from the _Sicily_ to Taegu to be briefed on the
broad tactical situation. They returned from their visit with maps and
intelligence material for guidance in future operations.[159]

     [159] _Ibid._

The squadron flew 21 sorties on 4 August against enemy bases
controlling the pressure on Eighth Army’s southern flank. Racing in
from the sea, gull-winged Marine planes struck at bridges, railroads,
and troop concentrations in the Chinju and Sachon areas.

On 5 August, the _Sicily_ steamed into the Yellow Sea. Marine planes
descended on Inchon, Seoul, and Mokpo, battering airfields, factories,
warehouses, railroads, bridges, and harbor facilities. The same pattern
of destruction was repeated the following day.[160]

     [160] _Ibid._

On 6 August came a thundering bid for fame by VMF-323, as its sleek
Corsairs streaked toward Korea. Operating from the deck of the _Badoeng
Strait_, the squadron flew 30 sorties in deep support forward of Eighth
Army lines. Carrying the mail with 500-pound bombs, 20-mm. cannon and
5-inch rockets, Marine pilots struck at Communist troop concentrations,
vehicles, supply dumps, bridges and railroads.[161]

     [161] VMF-323 SAR, _op. cit._

_Planning the Sachon-Chinju Offensive_

As early as 3 August, during the Brigade move from Pusan to Changwon,
General Craig and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart had flown by helicopter to
Masan for a conference of troop commanders. There they joined General
Walker and General Kean at the latter’s 25th Division command post.
Also present was Brigadier General George B. Barth, artillery officer
of the 25th.[162]

     [162] Craig, 25 Jan 54.

Craig suggested to the Eighth Army commander that some ROK army
trainees be attached to the Brigade. There were thousands of such
Korean recruits, and a few serving as scouts, interpreters, and
rear-area guards would be of great value to the Marines. Walker agreed
to provide the native troops and arm them as well.[163]

     [163] _Ibid._

The Army leader confirmed the previous night’s telephonic orders which
had caused the Brigade’s move to Changwon. After the four generals had
discussed the tactical situation on the southern flank, Walker directed
Craig to have the Brigade prepared for commitment to combat any time
after the evening of 5 August.[164]

     [164] _Ibid._

This schedule worked out perfectly from Craig’s point of view. The Air
Support Section at Chinhae had just established communications with the
two carrier-based squadrons. Army-Navy-Marine co-operation thus enabled
the Brigade commander to lead his entire air-ground team into battle.

On 5 August Craig and Stewart flew to Masan for a final meeting
with Walker and Kean. The Eighth Army commander outlined his plans
for the first UN counteroffensive. In forceful terms, he expressed
his dissatisfaction with the course of the war up to that time. He
announced that the strategy of trading space for time had come to an
end, and he did not mince words in referring to past UN defeats. With
firm conviction in the cause, he had ordered all units to stand to the
death. The Eighth Army could not and would not lose more ground or
equipment.[165] Advances had been made by the enemy with such rapidity
that he had extended his supply lines almost to the breaking point,
concluded Walker. The time had come to strike back.[166]

     [165] _Ibid._

     [166] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

To the 25th Division, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and 5th RCT would
go the honor of launching the counterattack from Chindong-ni, a small
coastal village 8 miles southwest of Masan on the road to Chinju. In
its effort to roll up the southern UN flank, the NKPA 6th Division was
exerting heavy pressure on Chindong-ni from both the west and north.

A few miles west, the irregular coastline takes a sharp turn to the
south to form a stubby peninsula about 25 miles wide and 15 miles long.
Near the western base is the important town of Sachon. About 10 miles
above this western junction of peninsula and coast lies Chinju. Both
Sachon and Chinju were the targets of Walker’s counteroffensive.

Approximately 3½ miles west of Chindong-ni is the tiny thatched-hut
hamlet of Tosan, an unimpressive road junction which could be easily
overlooked. The western fork is merely the continuation of the main
route leading directly to Chinju, some 25 miles distant. The other
fork branches south from Tosan and also goes to Chinju; but it skirts
the coastline of the peninsula just described, passing through the
communication hubs of Paedun-ni, Kosong, and Sachon. Thus, while both
roads lead to Chinju, the southern or peninsular route is 17 miles

Since it was known that enemy forces were present on the small
peninsula, any UN thrust astride the main road to Chinju would be
exposed to a constant flanking threat from the left. To eliminate this
danger. Walker had decided to send the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade
around the southern route from Tosan to Sachon. After the peninsula was
secured, the 5th RCT would strike out for Chinju along the main road,
while the 35th Infantry of the 25th Division guarded its right flank in
the mountains to the north.[167]

     [167] Stewart, 15 Jan 54.

Craig and Stewart opposed this plan, arguing that the Brigade itself
would be exposed to flanking danger on the right, if it made the
initial advance alone.[168]

     [168] _Ibid._

After further discussion, it was decided that all three units would
attack simultaneously along the routes already designated. However,
the 5th RCT was given a preparatory mission of uncovering the Tosan
junction before the Brigade began its advance.[169] D-day was scheduled
for 7 August. All participating units were to be part of Task Force
Kean, so named after the 25th Division commanding general who would
exercise overall control.

     [169] Annex How; and Brig Op Plan 4-50.

Craig hurried from the conference to alert the Brigade. In a past
military age a general might have sprung into the saddle, but the
Brigade commander had discovered a steed that covered more ground. He
and Stewart climbed into a HO3S-1 helicopter piloted by Lieutenant
Gustave F. Lueddeke of VMO-6, and a few minutes later they landed at
Lieutenant Colonel Murray’s CP to brief him on the forthcoming action.


7–13 AUGUST 1950]


Action on Hill 342

_First Platoon Fight--The Perimeter on Hill 342--Call for Artillery
Fires--Task Force Kean Stalled--General Craig Assumes Control--Enemy
Attack at Dawn_

On 6 August 1950 the Brigade was attached to the 25th Infantry Division
and ordered forward to Chindong-ni. The area from that village westward
toward the Tosan junction was occupied by thinly spread elements of the
5th RCT and the 27th Infantry. While the former took over front line
positions preparatory to launching the main attack on the next day,
the latter was gradually displacing rearward to go into Eighth Army

     [170] Annexes 1 and 2 to 25th InfDiv War Diary, Sep 50, Book
           VIII; and Brig SAR, basic rpt.

To facilitate the early relief of the 27th Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel
Robert D. Taplett’s 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, departed from Changwon
at 1040, 6 August, and arrived at Chindong-ni less than 2 hours later.
The infantry unit was accompanied by the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines;
the 2d Platoon, 75-mm. Recoilless Guns; and the 3d Platoon, Company A
Engineers. After assembling in a schoolyard north of the village, 3/5
relieved the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, on and around Hill 255.[171]

     [171] All hill numbers given in this text refer to the highest
           peak of the specific high ground being considered.
           Numbers indicate height in meters above sea level,
           and Hill 255 is therefore more than 800 feet high.
           Chindong-ni, being almost at the water’s edge, may be
           taken as sea level.

One and a half miles out of Chindong-ni, the road from Masan takes a
sharp turn so that it is running generally north and south before it
enters the village. Hill 255 borders the west side of the road, rising
from the valley floor just above Chindong-ni and climbing northward to
its summit in a series of prominent steps. Its ridgeline is narrow,
with the eastern slopes falling steeply to the Masan route while
its western wall plunges sharply to the valley and road connecting
Chindong-ni and Haman.

Taplett set up his CP, headquarters units, and weapons company along
the first step of the hill. Higher up, at the top of the second rise,
Captain Joseph C. Fegan deployed Company H in defensive positions
facing generally north. Forward, a long narrow plateau stretched
for 250 yards before the third step of the ridge rose abruptly to
the second highest peak on the hill. Noting the advantages of the
commanding ground to his north, Fegan requested permission to move his
company forward to that area. Since this would have placed him 500
yards from the nearest 3/5 unit, the request could not be granted.[172]

     [172] Maj Joseph C. Fegan interv with authors, 17 Apr 54
           (Fegan, 17 Apr 54).

The battalion commander intended to keep his defenses as tightly
knit as possible in order to discharge his mission of blocking the
approaches to the Masan-Chindong-ni MSR. Despite vigorous patrolling by
25th Division units in the mountains between the coastal village and
Haman, intelligence reported increasing numbers of enemy troops, heavy
weapons, and equipment in the area to the north. It appeared that large
NKPA forces were slipping through and descending on Chindong-ni to “cut
off the windpipe” of Walker’s southern flank.

First Lieutenant Robert D. Bohn, commander of Company G, deployed his
2d and 3d Platoons on Hill 99, to the west and across the valley from
255. He arranged his defenses to block the approaches from the high
ground on his north (actually an extension of Hill 99) and from the
valley to the west, separating him from massive Hill 342.[173]

     [173] Capt R. D. Bohn interv with authors, 17 Apr 54 (Bohn, 17
           Apr 54).

On a small knoll at the base of Hill 255 was deployed Company G’s 1st
Platoon, commanded by Second Lieutenant John H. Cahill. With the 75-mm.
recoilless gun platoon attached, this unit guarded the Haman road 600
yards from Chindong-ni.[174]

     [174] _Ibid._

On high ground east of the MSR and beyond the village sat the
2d Platoon of Company H, with the mission of defending against
infiltration from the direction of the sea and the mountains southeast
of the road to Masan.[175]

     [175] Fegan, 17 Apr 54.

This completed the infantry deployment. Company H had its three
platoons spread over 1,500 yards, while those of Company G ranged at
least an equal distance. Due to the lack of a third company, Taplett
had no reserve other than a handful of headquarters troops. Thus 3/5
got its taste of things to come in a strange war of mountains and men.

As the riflemen were digging their hilltop holes with traditional
distaste, other supporting elements of the Brigade and 5th Marines
began to arrive at Chindong-ni and set up for business. These included
the Brigade Reconnaissance Company and a platoon of the regimental
4.2-inch Mortar Company.[176] All Marine units in the area temporarily
came under control of 3/5’s Battalion Commander. Taplett was given the
added responsibility of handling all area requests for tactical air

     [176] Annex How.

     [177] LtCol R. D. Taplett interv with authors, 20 Apr 54
           (Taplett, 20 Apr 54).

For the time being, the 3d Battalion itself was under operational
control of Colonel John H. Michaelis, USA, commander of the 27th
Infantry “Wolfhounds.” Verbal instructions from Major General Kean
on 6 August had given the Army officer control of all troops in the
Chindong-ni area. When a second Marine battalion arrived in the locale,
command would then pass to General Craig.[178]

     [178] Brig SAR, basic rpt.

By 1600, Taplett had reported his command post location and defensive
positions to Michaelis. Immediately afterwards he ordered mortars and
artillery to lay registration fires on the northern approaches to
Chindong-ni.[179] Having left the phantoms of Changwon far behind, the
Marines of the reinforced battalion settled down for the night.

     [179] _Ibid._; and Annex How.

_First Platoon Fight_

Shortly after midnight, the 3d Battalion received an unexpected message
which precipitated the first Marine infantry action of the war. Colonel
Michaelis radioed Taplett and passed on a directive from 25th Division,
ordering the Marine battalion to commit immediately one reinforced
platoon for the defense of Hill 342. He explained that this unit was to
relieve a beleaguered Army company being slowly eaten away in a private
war of attrition. Taplett informed the regimental commander that he
could ill afford to spare 1 of his 6 rifle platoons, but was told in
return that General Kean had ordered 342 held at all costs.[180]

     [180] This section of the narrative is derived from: LtCol
           R. D. Taplett interv with the author, 18 Nov 53 and 19
           May 54; Annexes Easy and How to Brig SAR; and Capt J. H.
           Cahill ltr to authors, 9 Dec 53.

Tagged with the ominous sounding name “Yaban-san” by Koreans, this
hill resembles a huge molar whose roots rise from the MSR west of
Chindong-ni and lead to a tremendous mass about 2,000 yards north
of the road. There the ground climbs sharply, culminating in a peak
1,100 feet high. Beyond, a long saddle extends a few thousand yards
northwest, connecting 342 with a height of almost 2,000 feet. The
latter was a stronghold of NKPA 6th Division elements, making a
determined bid to carry 342 and cut the MSR.

Assigned the mission of making the Brigade’s first ground contact was
young Lieutenant Cahill of Company G. His 1st Platoon was reinforced
with a machinegun squad and SCR-300 operator before he led it from
3/5’s perimeter.

Moving westward on the MSR, the platoon reached Michaelis’ CP, located
near the bridges south of Hill 99. Cahill was told that he would be met
by a guide at a road junction 700 yards farther down the MSR. From this
point the platoon followed a soldier who escorted Cahill to the CP of
the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT. This headquarters was situated just north of
the road, on the tip of 342’s eastern “root,” 1 of the 2 long ridges
leading to the hill itself.

The Marine officer was told to relieve the Army company on the summit
and hold the hill with his platoon. Following a quick briefing, Cahill
and the guide led the column northward from the CP, skirting the
western base of the ridge. A few hundred yards along the way, the guide
discovered that he had miscalculated in the darkness. More time was
lost while the platoon descended to resume the correct route.

As the men threaded their way along the unseen trail, a few enemy
artillery shells burst nearby. The column reached the end of the valley
separating the two long spurs of 342, and a volley of rifle fire
cracked in the darkness. Two of Cahill’s Marines were painfully wounded.

Since the column was still in friendly territory, the guide advised
Cahill not to climb 342 until dawn shed light on the mystery. It was
then 0500, 7 August, and the Marine platoon had marched 3 miles from
its original position.

Shortly after first light, it was discovered that soldiers of the
2d Battalion, 5th RCT, had fired on the Marines, not realizing that
friendly units were moving within the area.

As the sun rose in a cloudless sky, Cahill took the lead. First, he
climbed the high ground joining 342 with its eastern spur, then crossed
over and continued toward the peak from a southeasterly direction.

[Illustration: CHINDONG-NI AREA 6–9 AUG. ’50


The platoon made good progress at the outset, but the heat became
stifling; and all the while the slopes of 342 stretched ahead like
a continuous wall. Stumbling, gasping for breath, soaked with
perspiration, every Marine reached the point at which he barely managed
to drag himself up the steep incline. There were choked curses as men
gained a few feet, only to slip and fall back even farther.

Water discipline collapsed as canteens were quickly emptied. Marines
began to drop along the slope, some unconscious, others doubled over
and retching. The tactical formation of the platoon became ragged, but
Cahill and his NCO’s urged the men upward.

Accompanied by Sergeant Lee Buettner, Cahill set out to contact
the Army company commander on the summit and reconnoiter the area.
Seventy-five yards from the top, he was fired on from the eastern
slopes. Since he was in sight of the Army troops on the crest, it was
obvious that the North Korean People’s Army had officially greeted the
1st Provisional Marine Brigade.

_The Perimeter on Hill 342_

Convinced that he was encountering only sniper fire, Cahill ordered
Buettner to stay behind and keep the platoon moving up a draw affording
cover. Then, ignoring enemy marksmen, the young officer climbed up to
the crest and entered a grim little company perimeter under constant
rifle and machinegun fire from its front and both flanks.

It was 0830 when the Army company commander greeted Cahill and
explained his defenses. It had been customary, he said, to man a broad
front during the day and draw back into a tight perimeter at night.
But the intense enemy fire of the previous night had not diminished
after daybreak, with the result that his men still occupied their night
perimeter. The Army officer added that he had returned his mortars
to the base of the hill, since they had drawn too much fire to be
effective. Deployed around a triangular perimeter conforming to the
shape of 347’s peak were the remnants of his three shattered platoons.

While Cahill appraised the situation, his platoon labored up the hill
under prodding by Buettner and other NCO’s. Well up the southeastern
slope, the column suddenly came under automatic weapons fire from
invisible enemy positions. The exhausted Marines set up weapons along
the hillside and fired at area targets. Despite the blistering sun and
whine of bullets, NCO’s led their fire teams and squads up toward the

When the Marines reached Cahill, he learned that 1 man had been killed
and 6 wounded, including Staff Sergeant Robert Robinson, platoon
sergeant, and Sergeant Thomas Blackmon, platoon guide. A number of heat
casualties were recuperating far down the slope, and one Marine had
suffered an emotional collapse. Blackmon, despite a mortal wound, had
been so intent on joining his platoon leader at the crest that four
weary men were required to carry him down the hillside to safety. Three
other able-bodied Marines also had to assist wounded men down the hill.

Of the 52 men who had set out the previous night, only 37, including
those recovered from heat sickness, finally reached Cahill. As they
assembled on the reverse slope of 342, a group of soldiers on the
crest broke under a heavy volume of enemy fire and bolted from the
perimeter. The Army company was on the verge of panic until a young
Army lieutenant restored order and led the men back to their foxholes.

Cahill and his remaining NCO’s crawled around the perimeter to insert
Marines in positions among those of the Army troops. This psychology
was sound, for each infantryman, eyeing his Army or Marine neighbor,
prided himself on setting a high standard of military conduct. From
that time on, every man discharged his responsibility in a most
exemplary manner.

Two more Marines had been killed instantly while being led to their
positions by Sergeant Jack Macy. These casualties brought the platoon’s
total to 3 KIA and 8 WIA.

It is not likely that Cahill’s men were interested enough in historic
dates to recall that it was the eighth anniversary of the Marine
landing on Guadalcanal in World War II. For at noon, the fight on Hill
342 took on aspects of a siege. Swarms of North Koreans inched upward
toward the crest, taking advantage of cover and concealment as they
kept a steady stream of rifle and machinegun fire cutting across the
hilltop. Despite the visual handicap resulting from the enemy’s use
of smokeless powder, the Marines and soldiers returned the fire with

Due to the urgency of the situation on 342, the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT,
ordered its company to remain on the crest with Cahill’s platoon. Plans
were already underway for a larger Marine force to clear the high

_Call for Artillery Fires_

In the meantime Cahill used his initiative to improve the situation.
With his SCR-300, he called for Army artillery fire to silence the
Communist mortars. When the first shells were fired for registration,
he searched the perimeter and located an artillery forward observer.
Accurate bursts were laid on likely looking mortar OP’s in enemy
territory, yet the Communist tubes continued to fire.

With ammunition and water in critical supply, the Marine officer
radioed 3/5’s CP and requested an air drop. Taplett’s Tactical Air
Control Party relayed the message to the Brigade Air Section, and an
Air Force R4D transport flew over the restricted drop area atop Hill
342. The precious supplies tumbled from the big plane--into enemy
territory. A single recovered packet contained carbine cartridges, the
one type not needed.

The Brigade Air Section then turned the mission over to VMO-6.
Every 5-gallon water can owned by the squadron was donated, and the
more maneuverable OY-2’s were able to drop them within the confined
perimeter. Unhappily, the containers burst upon striking the ground,
so that the parched hill defenders were able to salvage only a few
mouthfuls of water apiece.

Sergeant Macy reacted with vigor. With Cahill’s permission, he
organized a few volunteers into a patrol to search for water.
Descending the perilous southeastern slope under fire, the little group
struck out for the village of Taepyong-ni, located along the base of
342’s eastern spur and facing Hill 99 across the valley.

As the afternoon wore on, the Army-Marine defenders clung to their
precarious perch, despite swollen tongues and Communist fire. The enemy
had succeeded in surrounding the entire peak with a ring of fire.
Several more casualties were inflicted on the infantry company, and a
Marine machinegunner was killed instantly by a sniper who had worked
his way to the south of the perimeter.

_Task Force Kean Stalled_

Although the night of 6–7 August had been uneventful for 3/5’s front
lines around Chindong-ni, Taplett’s CP near the base of Hill 255 came
under sporadic shelling between 0100 and 0400. The first messages
from Cahill, received about 0600, caused anxiety over the fate of his

     [181] Annex How.

At 0200 that morning, a long column of trucks had set out from
Changwon, carrying Lieutenant Colonel Harold S. Roise’s 2d Battalion,
5th Marines. The head of the convoy reached Chindong-ni about 0500
and entered the truck turn-around in a schoolyard at the base of Hill
255.[182] As 2/5 unloaded, the turn-around became a bottleneck of
vehicles, men, and equipment which slowed movement on the MSR itself
almost to a standstill. To make matters worse, the heavy traffic
gradually pounded the schoolyard into a quagmire, so that trucks bogged
down and added to the confusion.

     [182] _Ibid._; and LtCol H. S. Roise ltr to authors, 5 Feb 54
           (Roise, 5 Feb 54).

While Roise was assembling his battalion, the entire area came under
heavy mortar and artillery fire from the north. The sudden shelling,
which caused 2/5’s first battle casualties, brought all traffic on the
road from Changwon to an abrupt halt.

Although the Marines of the 2d Battalion were well covered behind Hill
255, bursts from shells striking the trees high on the ridge filled
the air with fragments. Before the enemy mortars ceased, 1 Marine had
been killed and 11 wounded, including Captain George E. Kittredge, Jr.,
commander of Company E.[183]

     [183] _Ibid._

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, whose headquarters was behind Roise’s unit
in the convoy, was still north of Chindong-ni when the column slowed
almost to a standstill. He radioed 2/5’s commander and told him to
keep the trucks moving despite the shelling. Roise replied that the
muddy schoolyard, not enemy fire, was the main cause of the delay.
Thus Murray received the first of many object lessons in Korean
geography. He sat patiently in his jeep, while the column inched into

     [184] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

After the regimental commander arrived in Chindong-ni, the 3d
Battalion, less Cahill’s platoon, reverted to his control. Because of
the battle in progress on Hill 342 and enemy activity to the north
of the village perimeter, Murray ordered 2/5 to occupy and defend an
expanse of 255 above Company H’s positions. He directed 1/5 (following
his headquarters in the column from Changwon) to occupy Hill 99, thus
relieving Company G to bolster Taplett’s lines on lower 255.[185]

     [185] Annex How.

General Craig arrived at Chindong-ni shortly after 0700, just in time
to be warmly greeted by the enemy shelling as he stepped from his
helicopter. Since the Brigade attack scheduled for 7 August hinged on
the 5th RCT’s success at the Tosan junction, Craig quickly arranged
for a telephone line to that unit, so that his CP would be in constant

     [186] LtGen E. A. Craig ltr to authors, 12 Jan 54 (Craig, 12
           Jan 54).

News from the front was not good. At 0630, after air and artillery
preparations, the 5th RCT had jumped off on schedule. Just beyond the
line of departure, it came to a sudden halt as a result of increased
enemy activity north of the road. Elements of the NKPA 6th Division,
paying little attention to the plans of Task Force Kean, had launched
an attack of their own above the MSR.

The situation on Hill 342 kept the entire 2d Battalion, 5th RCT, tied
down in a fight to hold the Chinju road open. With the help of Cahill’s
platoon on the crest, this mission was being accomplished; but the
battalion was temporarily lost to its regiment, and the road itself was
choked with men and vehicles unable to move.[187]

     [187] Brig SAR, basic rpt.

_General Craig Assumes Control_

The Brigade was ordered to provide a battalion for the relief of the
Army unit on Yaban-san, so that the 5th RCT could strike harder at the
road junction 2½ miles to the west.[188]

     [188] _Ibid._

Just as 2/5 was ascending Hill 255, Lieutenant Colonel Murray received
word from Brigade of the Marine commitment. The 5th Marines commander
canceled Roise’s orders and directed him to relieve both Cahill’s
platoon and the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT, and to seize the remainder of
Hill 342.[189]

     [189] _Ibid._; and Annex How.

At 1120 on 7 August, General Craig received a telephone message from
General Kean directing the Brigade commander to assume control of all
troops in the Chindong-ni area until further orders. With this overall
responsibility, Craig went forward to observe the 5th RCT in action. He
ascertained by personal reconnaissance that enemy resistance was light,
although few friendly gains were being made because of the scattered
and confused nature of the fighting.[190] The MSR between Sangnyong-ni,
at the base of Hill 342’s spurs, and the vital Tosan junction was
jammed with men, vehicles, and equipment, while infantrymen probed
the surrounding high ground in an effort to weed out snipers and

     [190] Craig, 12 Jan 54.

When 2/5 reached the road junction at which Cahill had been met by the
Army guide during the night, Lieutenant Colonel Roise ordered Company D
to move up the north fork, tracing the base of 342’s eastern spur, and
seize both the spur and great hill itself. Company E, now commanded by
1st Lieutenant William E. Sweeney, was to pass behind Sangnyong-ni and
seize the west spur. Such a deployment would leave the battalion spread
thinly, but Roise’s orders were to protect the wide valley formed by
the two long ridges. This could be done only by occupying both spurs
and 342 itself.[191]

     [191] Roise, 5 Feb 54.

Outside of Chindong-ni, Major Morgan J. McNeely, 2d Battalion S-3, had
picked up Captain John Finn, Jr., CO of Company D, and the two officers
drove ahead by jeep to the village of Taepyong-ni at the eastern base
of Hill 342. The staff officer informed Finn that Dog Company was to
relieve a 5th RCT unit on the high ground above the clump of thatched
huts. Both McNeely and an Army guide said that the Marines would meet
no organized resistance in their climb.[192]

     [192] Capt J. Finn, Jr., ltr to authors, 1 Mar 54 (Finn, 1 Mar

Having spent a sleepless night on the road from Changwon to
Chindong-ni, Finn’s infantrymen were fagged. It was now midafternoon,
and the heat began to take its toll of Dog Company.

Just as the leading elements reached Finn at Taepyong-ni--30 minutes
after McNeely’s departure--the column came under rifle and machinegun
fire from the high ground above the road and from the hamlet of
Tokkong-ni across the valley on the right. The Marines thought they
were being shot at by Army troops, but the chatter of Communist
“burp guns”[193] soon convinced them that they were meeting enemy

     [193] PPS-1943, Soviet 7.62-mm. submachinegun.

     [194] Capt R. T. Hanifin ltr to authors, 15 Feb 54 (Hanifin,
           15 Feb 54).

Finn ordered his men into the rice paddies bordering the road. Calling
his platoon leaders, he told them that there was no real intelligence,
but that the fire from Tokkong-ni would be ignored due to the company’s
mission on 342. He assigned routes of ascent to each platoon. The 2d,
under Second Lieutenant Wallace J. Reid, would push through Taepyong-ni
and on up the hill at its juncture with the spur. On the left, Second
Lieutenant Edward T. Emmelman would lead his 3d Platoon to the top of
the spur. The 1st Platoon, commanded by Second Lieutenant Arthur A.
Oakley, would hold the right flank and ascend the southern slopes of
342 itself.[195]

     [195] _Ibid._; and Finn, 1 Mar 54.

Company D met scattered opposition. By the time it moved over the
crest of the spur, five Marines had been wounded. The sun, however,
had been more effective; for twelve men were completely unconscious
from the 100° heat, and the rest of the company had neared the point of

Finn ordered his executive officer, First Lieutenant Robert T. Hanifin,
Jr., to set up headquarters and the 60-mm. mortars on the high ground
directly above Taepyong-ni. It was already early in the evening when
Hanifin established a thin perimeter of headquarters personnel to
safeguard the CP.[196]

     [196] Hanifin, 15 Feb 54.

In the meantime, Finn was leading his three rifle platoons up the same
southeastern approach to 342’s summit which Cahill’s platoon had scaled
12 hours earlier. The company commander could no longer overlook the
combined effects on his men of heat and overexertion. A few hundred
yards from the summit, he radioed Roise that Company D was exhausted.
During the halt, Lieutenant Oakley climbed to the summit to contact the
Army and Marine defenders. He returned just before dark with Cahill and
the Army company commander.[197]

     [197] Finn, 1 Mar 54.

In the hurried conference that followed, the Army officer advised Finn
against finishing the rugged climb and assured him that his soldiers
and Cahill’s platoon could defend the peak through the night. Informed
of this by radio, Roise allowed Company D to hold its present position
and relieve at dawn.[198]

     [198] _Ibid._

Earlier in the day, Lieutenant Sweeney had led Company E up the lower
tip of 342’s western spur, then along the ridgeline toward the large
hill mass. At intervals the company came under long range, ineffectual
machinegun fire. But, as in the case of Finn’s unit, the heat and
terrain were more damaging than enemy bullets. At dusk, Company E had
reached the midway point along the ridge, and there it dug in for the

_Enemy Attack at Dawn_

Under cover of darkness, Red Korean troops wormed their way around
the little perimeter on the summit of Hill 342. Just before dawn the
soldiers and Marines were greeted by bursts of short-range rifle and
machinegun fire. The defenders returned the fire and hurled grenades
down the slopes, but a small force of North Koreans succeeded in
crawling close enough to launch an assault against the northeast leg
of the triangle.[199]

     [199] Cahill, 9 Dec 53.

A fierce hand-to-hand struggle ensued at the point of contact, and the
Communists were thrown back down the hill. One of Cahill’s men died of
bayonet and gunshot wounds, and another Marine and several soldiers
were wounded.[200]

     [200] _Ibid._

Finn’s men struck out for the summit shortly after daybreak on 8
August. With three platoons abreast along the southern face of 342, Dog
Company pushed upward swiftly, brushing aside light resistance. Upon
reaching the perimeter, the Marines came under a storm of fire from NK
positions which ringed the northern half of the hill.[201]

     [201] Finn, 1 Mar 54; and Roise, 5 Feb 54.

The relief was effected, nevertheless, and Cahill’s thinned squads
descended Hill 342 together with the shattered Army company. The Marine
platoon had lost 6 killed and 12 wounded--more than a third of the 52
men who had set out from Chindong-ni.[202] But its determined stand
with the beleaguered Army unit had saved the height and frustrated the
Communist attempts to establish a bastion overlooking the MSR.

     [202] Annex Able to Annex How.

Company D fared no better than its predecessors at consolidating the
crest of 342 and clearing upper slopes which were crawling with North
Koreans. Finn’s unit took several casualties in the fire fight that
accompanied and followed the relief of the original defenders. Two
of those killed in action were Second Lieutenants Oakley and Reid.
The only surviving platoon leader, Lieutenant Emmelman, received
a serious head wound as he was pointing out targets to a Marine

     [203] Finn, 1 Mar 54; and Hanifin, 15 Feb 54.

Captain Finn, seeing Reid’s motionless form lying ahead of the company
lines, crawled forward to recover the body. Having moved only a short
distance with his burden, the company commander himself was struck in
the head and shoulder by enemy bullets. Barely conscious and almost
blinded by blood, Finn crept back to his lines on his hands and knees.

A corpsman administered first aid and Company D’s first sergeant
helped the officer down the steep slope.[204] On the way the pair
met Lieutenant Hanifin, who was leading company headquarters and the
mortar section to the high ground from their positions of the previous
night. Finn informed the executive officer that he was now in command
of the company.[205]

     [204] _Ibid._

     [205] _Ibid._

Reaching the summit, Hanifin had just enough time to reorganize
his defensive positions and emplace the 60-mm. mortars before the
Communists launched another attack. Again Marine rifles, machineguns,
and grenades scorched the northern slopes. Again the enemy was
beaten back, leaving the hillside littered with dead. But Company
D’s casualties had mounted meanwhile to 6 killed in action and 25

     [206] Annex How; Hanifin, 15 Feb 54; and Maj A. M. Zimmer ltr
           to author, 18 Feb 54 (Zimmer, 18 Feb 54). This breakdown
           of casualties is as nearly correct as can be ascertained
           from recollections of participants and a comparison with
           the final total given after 2/5 was relieved on position.

About 1130, as the fire fight slackened, Roise phoned Hanifin from
his OP on the eastern spur. The conversation had no sooner begun
when the company commander collapsed from heat exhaustion. A veteran
NCO and a young officer promptly filled the command vacuum. Company
D’s gunnery sergeant, Master Sergeant Harold Reeves, assumed control
of the three rifle platoons with the confidence of long experience.
Second Lieutenant Leroy K. Wirth, a forward observer of 1/11, took
responsibility for all supporting arms, including the planes of MAG-33
circling overhead. The NCO of almost 30 years service and the young
officer repeatedly ranged forward of the front lines to spot enemy
positions for air strikes and make new appraisals of the situation.
Company D remained steady, and never again did the North Koreans
seriously threaten the hilltop.[207]

     [207] Hanifin, 15 Feb 54.

The 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry, was scheduled to relieve 2/5 on Hill
342 during the afternoon of 8 August; but the Army unit was unable
to reach the area for reasons to be explained later. Informed of the
change in plans, Roise kept his battalion busy with consolidation of
positions and evacuation of casualties.

Company E moved forward a few hundred yards along the western spur
of 342 and dug new foxholes. Captain Andrew M. Zimmer reported from
regiment, where he had been an assistant S-3, and took command of
Company D.[208]

     [208] Annex How.

Although the North Koreans continued to harass the “iron triangle” on
the crest, there was no more hard fighting. A few additional casualties
were taken by Zimmer’s company, most of them occurring while Marines
tried to retrieve airdropped supplies which had fallen wide of their

     [209] Zimmer, 18 Feb 54.

During the fighting on 342, Major Walter Gall, commander of 2/5’s
Weapons Company, had dispatched a small patrol to eliminate the enemy
machineguns in Tokkong-ni. After a brief fire fight which cost three
friendly casualties, the withdrawal of the patrol left the Communists
still entrenched in the village. When the Marines returned to Weapons
Company lines on the eastern spur, First Lieutenant Ira T. Carr turned
his 81-mm. mortars on Tokkong-ni and brought the enemy fire to an

     [210] Maj Walter Gall interv with authors, 9 Feb 54.

The night of 8–9 August was relatively quiet on 342. Obviously weakened
by casualties, the enemy gave the Marine positions a wide berth.
NKPA harassing fires consisted of periodic bursts from long-range
machineguns and antitank guns.[211] There was desultory sniping during
the morning of the 9th, but Brigade intelligence reported a gradual
withdrawal of the enemy northward.[212]

     [211] Zimmer, 18 Feb 54.

     [212] Brig Periodic IntelRpt No. 6.

That afternoon Company D was relieved by an Army unit when 2/5 turned
over responsibility for the hill to the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry.
The fight had made veterans out of the men Zimmer led down to the road,
but the company paid with 8 dead and 28 wounded.[213]

     [213] Zimmer, 18 Feb 54; and Annex How.

Documents taken from enemy dead disclosed that the defenders of Hill
342 had been opposed by elements of the 13th and 15th Regiments of the
NK 6th Division. Lieutenant Cahill qualified his report of 150 enemy
dead as “conservative,”[214] and 2/5 set the total at 400 after its
fight.[215] The actual number of fatalities inflicted by Marine-Army
infantry and supporting arms probably lies somewhere between these two

     [214] Cahill, 9 Dec 53.

     [215] Annex How.

At any rate, the Red Korean commander had committed at least two rifle
companies supported by machineguns, mortars and artillery. The force
thrown against Yaban-san could be estimated at 500 to 600 troops, and
they had failed in their attempt to cut the MSR.[216]

     [216] _Ibid._; and Brig Periodic IntelRpts Nos. 5 and 6.


Advance to Kosong

_Heavy NKPA Resistance--Assault on Hill 255--Confusion at Tosan
Junction--Brigade Artillery in Support--Encounter With Japanese
Maps--Ambush at Taedabok Pass--The Seizure of Kosong_

While 2/5 and the 1st Platoon of Company G were fighting the enemy
and weather on 7 August, Lieutenant Colonel Taplett’s 3d Battalion
sat out an ominous calm at Chindong-ni. From their positions on Hills
253 and 99, Captain Fegan and Lieutenant Bohn periodically called for
supporting fires to check enemy movement in the northern approaches to
the village.

At 1015 Second Lieutenant Lawrence W. Hetrick and his 3d Platoon,
Company A Engineers, completed the laying of the first Marine
minefield, located across the Haman road a half mile above

     [217] Annex How.

Lieutenant Colonel Newton’s 1st Battalion reached the village in the
afternoon of the 7th and relieved Company G’s two platoons on Hill
99. Bohn took his company back across the valley and deployed on the
lower slopes of 255 facing the Haman road. These positions were hit by
close-in sniper fire during the night of 7–8 August, and at dawn the
Marine infantrymen were startled to discover four NK soldiers emplaced
less than 100 yards away in the valley. Both the enemy position and its
occupants were quickly destroyed.[218]

     [218] _Ibid._; and Bohn, 17 Apr 50.

Shortly after daybreak on 8 August--while Cahill was being relieved on
Yaban-san--the Marines of Company H noted a column of troops climbing
Hill 255 from the direction of the Haman road. Believing the newcomers
to be ROK soldiers, Fegan’s men watched as the long file reached the
high peak beyond the plateau forward of the Marine positions. When the
group set up facing Company H, Fegan became skeptical enough to alert
his riflemen and machinegunners. His precautions were timely, for the
visitors immediately opened fire on the Marines.[219]

     [219] Fegan, 17 Apr 54.

This surprise attack had a critical effect on the Task Force Kean
sector. In possession of the high ground above 3/5, the North Koreans
were able to block the Masan-Chindong-ni stretch of the MSR, leaving
most of the American ground forces out on a limb for supply and
reinforcement purposes. Thus when the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry,
advanced from Masan to relieve both 3/5 and 2/5 on their respective
hills, it was driven off the fire-swept road north of Chindong-ni.[220]

     [220] Brig SAR, basic rpt; and Craig, 12 Jan 54.

Upon being informed of the enemy’s presence, Taplett ordered Company
H to attack and destroy the Communist position. Fegan called his two
platoon leaders[221] while the Marine infantrymen in the line exchanged
shots with the enemy across the plateau. After a quick briefing,
Second Lieutenant John O. Williams led his 1st Platoon to the long

     [221] The 2d Platoon was still in position east of the MSR.

     [222] Fegan, 17 Apr 54.

Echeloned to the right, the skirmish line pushed aggressively over
the open area, firing on the enemy as it moved forward. The platoon
closed to within 30 yards of the Communist-held peak, but showers of
hand grenades and continuous machinegun fire pinned down the attackers.
Fegan sent a message forward, directing Williams to work around the
enemy’s left flank. Although one fire team succeeded in reaching the
rocks below the NK positions, the flanking maneuver failed.

_Heavy NKPA Resistance_

The 3d Platoon had taken several casualties. Marines still in the
open area were unable to advance, while those who had attempted the
envelopment could only cling to the steep slopes above the MSR. When
some of this group were struck by enemy fire, the impact sent them
rolling helplessly down the sharp incline.

Convinced that Williams could not carry the peak, Fegan ordered him
to pull his platoon back toward the line of departure and reorganize.
While the withdrawal was in progress, the company commander ordered the
3d Platoon to pass through the 1st and continue the attack. There was
no response to the order.[223]

     [223] _Ibid._

Fegan realized that the men were momentarily unnerved after witnessing
the failure of the first attack. The company commander, therefore,
assumed control and personally led the 3rd Platoon forward on the
plateau. Halfway across the open area, the new skirmish line passed
through Williams’ outfit as it was reforming.

The Marines of the 3d Platoon responded with confidence to Fegan’s
leadership. They crossed the tableland in a wedge formation with 1
squad at the apex and the other 2 slightly withheld. Air strikes and
artillery preparations had little effect against the rocky crag beyond
the plateau, so that the final assault was fought to a finish with
small arms and grenades.[224]

     [224] _Ibid._; and Annex How.

Staff Sergeant John I. Wheatley, one of the prime movers, fell wounded
along with several of his men. Sergeant Edward F. Barrett, shot in the
elbow and hip, lay helpless, exposed to enemy fire, until Captain Fegan
carried him back to safety.

The 3d Platoon gained the rocky summit and worked its way through the
NKPA position, a foxhole at a time, while the enemy resisted to the
death. Corporal Melvin James[225] hit the Red Korean left flank with
his squad and drove deep into the enemy position. The NKPA right flank
was rolled up by a vigorous assault sparked by Technical Sergeant Ray
Morgan and Private First Class Donald Terrio[226] as each knocked out a
Communist machinegun and its crew.

     [225] James was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for
           this action.

     [226] Morgan and Terrio received Silver Star medals.

Having wiped out the main enemy position, the 3d Platoon advanced
northward about 200 yards to a gulf where the high ground fell
away abruptly. Beyond this depression rose the highest step of the
ridgeline’s rugged staircase: Hill 255 with a height of mote than 800
feet above the MSR. The three squads held up here to await further

How Company’s fight up to this time had cost the Marines 6 dead and 32

     [227] Annex How.

_Assault on Hill 255_

A column of NKPA reinforcements bound for Hill 255 was spotted during
the action by Company G from its positions facing the Haman road. The
enemy platoon struck out across the valley from the high ground north
of Hill 99, then attempted to ascend 255 via the same route used by
comrades at dawn.

The Marines of Company G and their supporting arms cut loose with a
hurricane of fire. And after scattering in panic, the enemy survivors
scuttled back to their starting point.[228]

     [228] Bohn, 17 Apr 54.

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, upon being informed of the progress made
by How Company, directed Taplett to halt the attack and dig in for
the night. While Fegan’s men were carrying out this order under NKPA
artillery and mortar fire, MAG-33 and the Marine artillery roared
into action. The saddle north of How Company’s lines was pounded so
mercilessly that the enemy pulled back from Fegan’s immediate front.
Throughout the night of 8–9 August, 1/11 and 3/5’s mortar platoon
dropped a steel curtain across the battalion front, with the result
that no enemy activity was noted.[229]

     [229] Annex How.

The systematic reduction of enemy positions on Hill 255 the next
morning was a triumph of supporting arms. Marine artillery shells led
off at 0825, followed by Marine air which worked the enemy over with
the first close-support payload of napalm recorded so far in the Korean
conflict. And four minutes before Company H launched its final attack
on the hill, airborne TAC reported the objective neutralized.[230]

     [230] _Ibid._

Fegan’s men scaled the peak against negligible opposition. Two
knocked-out machineguns and a few enemy dead were all that remained at
the summit.[231]

     [231] Fegan, 17 Apr 54.

The plan for eliminating the threat to the MSR called for a Marine
advance along Hill 255 to grid line 1350. North of this boundary, the
ridge would be cleared by Army troops approaching from Masan.

Company H sighted soldiers of the 24th Infantry at 1125 as they moved
southward to the grid line, and the long ridge was considered secure.
It had been no light price, however, that 3/5 paid to open the MSR.
Casualties on Hill 255 totalled 16 dead and 36 wounded, and since
nearly all had been taken by Company H, Fegan’s outfit was reduced by
25 percent.[232]

     [232] Annex How.

_Confusion at Tosan Junction_

On the whole, Task Force Kean’s scheduled drive on Chinju and Sachon
had not met with much success during the first 48 hours. The only
advance was made on the right, where the 35th Infantry seized its first
objective and inflicted an estimated 350 casualties on the enemy.[233]

     [233] Annexes 1 and 3 to 25th InfDiv War Diary, Book VIII.

In his capacity as provisional commander of all units along the
Masan-Chinju axis, General Craig was directing the Army operations at
the front and in the rear areas of the Task Force sector. Thus on 8
August he ordered the 5th RCT to continue its attack and take Tosan, so
that his Marines could make progress on the road to Sachon.

After preparatory fires, the Army regiment again pushed forward toward
its immediate objective. Enemy resistance was much heavier than on
the day before; nevertheless, some gains were made from the starting
point near the village of Singi. The attack was also slowed by the
narrow MSR carrying the entire traffic load for the Task Force. Heavy
fighting above the road on Hills 255 and 342 added to the congestion
and confusion on the vital artery.

Lieutenant Colonel Newton’s 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, had been
ordered to move forward from Chindong-ni at 0600, 8 August, with
the mission of attacking along the south fork of the Tosan junction
preparatory to seizing a regimental objective which would be designated

     [234] Annex How; Brig Op Plan 5-50; and Col G. R. Newton, ltr
           to author, 3 Jan 54 (Newton, 3 Jan 54).

Leaving its positions on Hill 99 at the assigned time, the battalion
was stalled immediately at the bridges on the MSR below. The road was
still clogged with soldiers and Army vehicles, making it impossible for
the Marine unit to proceed.[235]

     [235] LtCol M. R. Olson, interv with author, 30 Dec 53 (Olson,
           30 Dec 53).

General Craig, who was in the vicinity, told Newton to hold up until
the situation at the front became clarified. Company B, commanded by
Captain John L. Tobin, was ordered back up on the hill it had just
descended; and the battalion waited, three miles from its line of

     [236] Col G. R. Newton, ltr to author, 19 Jan 54 (Newton, 19
           Jan 54).

Finally the word came to move up. While 1/5 worked its way along
the crowded road, Newton walked ahead and reached the CP of the 1st
Battalion, 5th RCT, located on a hillside between Singi and Oryong.
There he learned that the Army unit’s companies were already on the
high ground all around the junction and that the rice paddies between
the battalion CP and these companies were full of North Koreans. The
Army commander considered his subordinate units cut off.[237]

     [237] Newton, 3 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 53.

Shortly afterwards, at about 1400, the head of 1/5’s column reached
Newton and again came to a halt, a mile and a half from its line of

Arriving on the scene at this time was a dispirited Army staff
sergeant, dripping with mud and water. He said that he had just
returned from Hill 308, south of the road junction, where his unit was
heavily engaged with the enemy. And he added that Communist machineguns
covering the wide rice paddy between 308 and the MSR had forced him to
crawl almost the whole distance.[238]

     [238] Olson, 30 Dec 53.

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, while driving from Chindong-ni to the
front, was stopped on the road by Major General Kean himself. The 25th
Division commander directed the Marine officer to arrange for a night
relief of the 1st Battalion, 5th RCT. Kean stated that he would inform
Brigade headquarters of this change in plans as soon as possible.[239]

     [239] Col R. L. Murray, ltr to author, 7 Jan 54 (Murray, 7 Jan

It had become a question as to whether Task Force Kean or the NKPA 6th
Division controlled Tosan. Newton radioed the 5th Marines commander and
asked for enlightenment. Murray, having just finished his conversation
with General Kean, ordered the battalion commander to postpone the
jumpoff until nightfall.[240]

     [240] Newton, 3 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 53.

After withdrawing to the outskirts of Sangnyong-ni, 1/5 went into an
assembly area beneath the western spur of Hill 342. There the battalion
commander received specific orders to relieve the 1st Battalion, 5th
RCT, on positions southwest of Tosan at midnight, 8 August, and secure
the troublesome road junction once and for all.[241]

     [241] Annex How; Brig Op Plan 6-50; and Newton, 3 Jan 54.

Newton was to have his battalion at the Army CP no later than 2300,
when it would be furnished guides to lead the way across the broad rice
paddy to Hill 308. As it proved, the Marine unit actually reached the
designated rendezvous at 2200. But even though an hour early, Newton
discovered that the soldiers on 308 were already withdrawing. Moreover,
no guides had been provided.[242]

     [242] Newton, 3 Jan 54 and 19 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 53.

The Marine battalion continued westward through Singi and stopped on
the MSR about a half-mile short of Tosan. Here a narrow dike branched
south from the road, and the soldiers were returning along this trail
from Hill 308 to the MSR. Since the footpath was pointed out as
Newton’s route of approach, he had little choice but to wait until the
Army troops made the crossing. This was accomplished shortly after
midnight, and the column of Marines was left alone in the night on
unfamiliar ground reported to be crawling with enemy.[243]

     [243] _Ibid._

The promised guides reported for duty at this time. They turned out
to be two South Korean civilians. Without further ado, the advance on
Sachon was launched when a long single file of skeptical Marines fell
in behind two unknown natives whose loyalty had to be accepted on faith.

Following the 1,200-yard trail in the darkness was time-consuming as
well as nerve-chilling. A misstep on the narrow, slippery dike usually
meant a spill into the muck and filth of the paddy for some hapless
infantryman. Not only would he delay all those behind, but he would
not be as fragrant as a rose in the nostrils of his comrades when he
regained the dike.

Finally the head of the file reached the base of Hill 308, having
encountered not a single enemy on the way. As more and more men
threaded their way in from the paddy, tactical integrity was slowly
regained. Dawn of 9 August was already breaking when the rear of the
column completed the crossing.[244]

     [244] Olson, 30 Dec 53.

Daybreak brought a radio message from Murray, directing 1/5 to continue
the attack to the southwest immediately and seize Hill 308. With
Tobin’s company leading, the battalion ascended the northern slopes
in a long column. The climb took the Marines more than 1,000 feet
upward and 2,000 yards to the south. Before the summit was reached, the
relentless sun and terrain had taken its toll of Newton’s infantrymen.
Fortunately, enemy resistance amounted to mere sniping; and by noon, 9
August, the massive terrain feature belonged to the Brigade.[245]

     [245] _Ibid._

At 1700 that afternoon Craig’s operational control of all troops in the
area came to a close. At the end of the 54-hour period of the Marine
general’s overall command, the road junction had been cleared, and both
Army and Marine columns were making progress toward the objective.

_Brigade Artillery in Support_

Nearly all the infantry actions of the first 3 days owed a good deal
to the support of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. Consisting of three
4-gun batteries, Lieutenant Colonel Ransom M. Wood’s outfit had
relieved the 8th Field Artillery Battalion at Chindong-ni on the eve
of D-day. Since the terrain afforded no suitable alternate areas, the
Marine gunners moved into the positions vacated by the Army artillery,
partly in the village and partly on the outskirts.

A total of 87 rounds were fired that first night in support of the 5th
Marines, with the FO’s reporting good results. Before long, however,
enemy counterbattery fires searched out friendly positions in the
village. Early the next morning a Marine battery took a direct hit from
an NKPA 122-mm. shell. Two men were killed and 8 wounded by a blast
which destroyed a 105-mm. howitzer. Thus, reversing the usual rule, the
artillery suffered heavier casualties than the infantry at the jumpoff
of the Brigade attack.[246]

     [246] Annex Item to Brig SAR.

The gunners needed no further admonitions to dig foxholes, gunpits and
ammunition pits. During the confused fighting around Chindong-ni, it
was not unusual to have one battery laid on an azimuth generally east,
another west, and a third to the north.

“I think that this is one of the most important lessons we learned in
fighting infiltrating troops,” commented Wood; “artillery must be able
and always prepared to fire in any direction on a moment’s notice.”[247]

     [247] LtCol Ransom M. Wood, “Artillery Support for the Brigade
           in Korea,” _Marine Corps Gazette_, 35, No. 6:16–17 (Jun

From 7 to 9 August, with the battalion displacing forward as the
infantry advanced, 89 missions and 1,892 rounds were fired. Targets
consisted largely of enemy mortar positions. The terrain offered some
knotty problems in firing close support missions, due to steep slopes;
but the OY’s of VMO-6 did a good job of spotting.

Fifty ROK policemen were attached to 1/11 at this time to be used as
security troops. Wearing bright green uniforms and rubber shoes upon
arrival, they became the responsibility of the battalion to feed,
equip and train in marksmanship, sanitation and ammunition handling.
The rice-eating Koreans turned up their noses at American food for
a few days, but soon they could compete with any chow-hounds in the

     [248] _Ibid._

Another difficulty was experienced in convincing the newcomers that
NKPA prisoners were to be brought in alive. Many personal scores
remained to be paid off in war-torn Korea, but eventually the ROK’s
learned to control their hatred for the invaders.

_Encounter With Japanese Maps_

As the men of 1/5 were consolidating their hilltop and searching
for water to relieve heat prostration cases, Murray radioed Newton
to withdraw his unit to the road below and continue the attack to
Paedun-ni. The regimental commander was determined to speed up the
advance to the south, since intelligence had reported no enemy on the
high ground south of Hill 308.[249]

     [249] Murray, 7 Jan 54.

With almost half of Companies A and B stricken by heat sickness, Newton
had no choice but to leave them in position on the high ground for
the time being. He descended the hill to form a tactical column with
Headquarters and Weapons Companies and an attached platoon of tanks.

Reaching the low ground northwest of Hill 308, the battalion commander
discovered that his Japanese maps, as usual, bore only a slight
resemblance to the actual ground.

During the early weeks in Korea, the map situation was a thorn in the
side of every tactical commander. Not only were maps of local areas
extremely scarce, but the few available were of early Japanese vintage,
almost consistently at variance with the terrain. Grid systems were
confusing, villages misnamed and misplaced, and roads either not
illustrated at all or else plotted inaccurately. Lack of contouring
left the conformation and extent of ridges entirely to the imagination
of the map reader. These shortcomings were a constant source of
concern; for troop leaders often were misled, even to the extent of
getting completely lost.

On the ground itself, there is an intersection called Oso-ri some 600
yards south of the Tosan junction. The routes leading both south and
west from this crossroads go to Paedun-ni. An unimproved road, the
southward passage is more rugged, while the other, being good by Korean
standards, follows a smoother course through the town of Taesil-li.

Newton’s map showed only the latter improved road, so he formed his
column and headed it toward Taesil-li, a thousand yards west of the
intersection.[250] Murray’s map showed both roads, but in this case
the southern route was erroneously drawn in as the better road. It was
thus Murray’s intention that 1/5 use this avenue of approach. And since
he had spoken of it as the “improved” road, Newton was misled into
choosing the route to Taesil-li.[251]

     [250] Newton, 3 Jan 53.

     [251] _Ibid._; and Murray, 7 Jan 54.

The quickly formed column of tanks and infantry had gone only a few
hundred yards when the point stopped at a stretch of road littered with
land mines. A call went out for a demolitions team. From his CP near
Chindong-ni, Captain George W. King dispatched his 1st Platoon, Able
Company Engineers. Arriving at the scene, the Marine troubleshooters
discovered the obstacles to be merely American antitank mines,
apparently spilled on the road from an Army vehicle.

About this time. Lieutenant Colonel Murray arrived at Oso-ri and
informed 1/5’s commander that he was on the wrong road. Newton reasoned
that his unit was following the correct route. After comparing the
conflicting maps, the regimental commander studied the terrain and
directed Newton to pull his column back and take the road to the south.
Then Murray returned to Sangnyong-ni, climbed into an observation
plane, and was flown over the route to confirm his decision.[252]

     [252] Murray, 7 Jan 54.

There was no small amount of confusion as the long column of tanks,
infantrymen, and engineers pulled back along the narrow road to the
intersection. And it was unfortunate for 1/5 that General Craig reached
the area while the milling was at its worst. Unaware of what had taken
place earlier, the Brigade commander did not refer to the delay and
congestion in the most soothing terms.[253]

     [253] Craig, 12 Jan 54.

While the column was being reformed on the southern road, villagers
from Taesil-li informed the Marines that a badly wounded American was
lying in the hamlet. Craig’s jeep driver sped to the clump of thatched
huts and returned with a soldier who was more dead than alive, having
been left behind by retreating NKPA forces. The man was rushed to the
rear for medical attention, while Craig stayed forward to supervise the

     [254] _Ibid._; and Newton, 19 Jan 54.

The long file of Marines and tanks began moving southward along the
winding road below Hill 308. Newton had notified his company commanders
of the change, so that they could meet him by descending the western
slope of the high ground.

About a mile south of the confusing intersection, the point of 1/5’s
column rounded a sharp curve. It was greeted by a lone North Korean
machinegun hidden in a native hut at the center of the bend. While
a Marine brigadier watched with professional satisfaction, a team
of infantrymen with a rocket launcher closed on the hut and quickly
destroyed the enemy position.

It was late afternoon as the column resumed its march to the south.
Covering several hundred more yards without incident, it reached the
top of a 400-foot pass where the road knifed between Hills 308 and 190.
There Newton was joined by Companies A and B from Objective One.[255]
The 1st Battalion was ordered to hold up and take defensive positions
astride the pass.

     [255] Olson, 30 Dec 53.

Thus, the drive toward Sachon had finally taken shape, and the Brigade
was entering its own zone of responsibility. As darkness fell on
9 August, 1/5 was in position 2 miles south of the Tosan line of
departure, and General Craig had already set in motion plans for a
night attack.

_Ambush at Taedabok Pass_

On 9 August the Brigade commander was convinced that the absence of
resistance in 1/5’s path indicated unpreparedness on the part of the
enemy. To exploit the advantage, he ordered Murray to execute a night
attack and capture Paedun-ni before daylight, 10 August.[256]

     [256] Brig Op Plan 7-50.

At 1600 on 9 August, the Brigade was relieved of mopping up duties in
the Chindong-ni area, leaving 2/5 immediately available to the 5th
Marines commander. The 3d Battalion was delayed overnight by several
hours of security duty until Army units could take over.[257]

     [257] This section is derived from: Annex How; Craig, 12 Jan
           54; Zimmer, 18 Feb 54; Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr 54; and
           Gall, 9 Feb 54.

Lieutenant Colonel Roise’s battalion, having been relieved on Hill
342, entrucked at Sangnyong-ni in the evening and reached its assembly
area near Hill 308 at 2100. Two hours later the unit marched southward
on the new MSR to make the night attack on Paedun-ni. Passing through
1/5’s lines at 0115, 10 August, the weary Marines pressed on toward
their target against no resistance.

The point of the column included three M-26’s of First Lieutenant
William D. Pomeroy’s tank platoon. At 0500, with the advance elements
only a short distance from Paedun-ni, the lead tank crashed through
a concrete bridge. The badly damaged vehicle proved to be wedged
immovably between the two abutments.

The second tank, while attempting to negotiate a narrow bypass next to
the bridge, threw a track in the center of the stream and stalled the
long column behind. Two hours elapsed before the advance could be
resumed. South Korean laborers constructed a bypass for light vehicles
next to the bridge, and an engineer tractor-dozer arrived to build a
detour for heavy trucks and tanks.



Reaching Paedun-ni at 0800, 2/5 reconnoitered the town and found it
clear of enemy. By 0930 the battalion column was reformed and pounding
the dusty road south.

Murray decided to shuttle troops by truck from Paedun-ni to Kosong,
since the 8-mile stretch was believed to be free of enemy. The heavier
vehicles being tied up at the collapsed bridge, some delay resulted in
motorizing the first increment of 2/5.

General Craig arrived on the scene by helicopter in mid-morning. Not
satisfied with the progress of the advance, he ordered Murray and Roise
to march on Kosong with “all speed.” When the infantry column was a
short distance out of Paedun-ni, the 5th Marines commander managed to
get five 2½-ton trucks forward to help transport the first serial to
the target.

A motorized column was formed of 4 lead jeeps carrying a Reconnaissance
Company detachment, followed by part of Company D aboard 6 more jeeps
and the 5 trucks. Owing to the shortage of vehicles, Captain Zimmer’s
first echelon included only the 1st and 2d Platoons, the 60-mm.
mortars, an assault squad, and one machinegun section.

Lacking either air or artillery support, the column rolled southward
with orders to occupy Kosong and coordinate a defense of the city with
its mayor. The remainder of 2/5 continued on foot until more vehicles
could be provided.

The road makes a sharp turn 2½ miles southwest of Paedun-ni to climb
through Taedabok Pass, a defile about 1,000 yards long. Just beyond,
at the village of Pugok, a sharp turn to the left skirts the base of a
large hill overlooking the entire length of the pass.

The first jeep of the reconnaissance detachment was almost abreast of
Pugok at 1500 when NKPA machineguns opened up from the big hill at the
bend. Enemy automatic weapons on the high ground above the pass raked
the vehicles filled with Dog Company men.

As the Marines were taking cover in roadside ditches, a Communist
antitank gun opened fire from the large hill and hit one of the jeeps.
The reconnaissance troops gradually withdrew from their exposed
positions and fell back on Zimmer’s group. After sizing up the
situation, the Company D commander ordered his 1st Platoon to seize
the high ground on the right side of the road about midway through the
pass. No resistance was met, so that the Marines set up their weapons
quickly and returned the Communist fire. Meanwhile the 2d Platoon
moved up on the right after clearing small enemy groups from the high
ground on both sides of the road at the entrance to the defile.

Zimmer had spotted the location of the enemy’s antitank gun, and Marine
60-mm. fire put an end to this nuisance. The effort used up all the
mortar ammunition, and the Company D commander decided to wait in
position for Brigade supporting arms. Two tanks arrived at 1630, and
their 90-mm. guns drove the enemy into hiding.

While Marine tanks and air were working over the hill, 3/5 reached
Paedun-ni after being relieved of its final security mission in the
Chindong-ni area. Murray ordered Taplett to be prepared to pass through
2/5 and continue the attack.

The 3d Battalion reached the entrance to Taedabok Pass in trucks
shortly after the arrival of the 2d Battalion troops who had followed
their motorized column on foot. Some confusion resulted on the narrow
road after Murray’s arrival while he waited to confer with Taplett.
Unable to find Roise, the two officers climbed the high ground on the
left. From this vantage point they could see Kosong, 5 miles away. The
regimental commander ordered Taplett to pass through 2/5 immediately
and continue the attack.

Company G had already crossed the line of departure and was deploying
to assault the hill at the road bend when Murray located Roise in
Zimmer’s area to the right of the road. The exact location of enemy
positions remained in some doubt. In order to clear up the uncertainty,
Major McNeely volunteered to lead out a patrol. About 1730, therefore,
Roise’s S/3 took off in a jeep with a radio operator and a fire team
from Dog Company.

By this time, Taplett had a fairly accurate picture of the situation in
mind. From his OP on the high ground to the left of the road, he saw
that McNeely was headed for danger. The 3/5 commander radioed Bohn to
stop the jeep, but it was too late. McNeely and his men vanished from
sight around the bend where the road skirted the large hill, and the
Marines heard a furious clatter of machinegun and small arms fire.

The fate of the patrol remained in doubt as Company G moved out to the
attack, with First Lieutenant Jack Westerman’s platoon in the lead.
Communist fire held up the advance, but Bohn sent Second Lieutenant
Edward F. Duncan’s platoon on a sweeping envelopment to the right which
outflanked the enemy and drove him from the high ground. Westerman was
then able to reach the crest with his platoon. From this position he
could see McNeely’s bullet-riddled jeep, but that officer and his five
men were stretched out motionless on the ground beneath and behind the


10 AUG. 1950



11 AUG. 1950


At great risk, Westerman made a dash to the jeep and brought back
McNeely, mortally wounded. Enemy fire prevented further rescues, but
it was ascertained that 3 men had been killed outright and 2 severely
wounded. These survivors could only continue to take cover behind the
wrecked vehicle until 3/5 troops advanced.

When Company G jumped off again, the men were held up by two concealed
machineguns at the far end of the road bend. Taplett committed How
Company on the left side of the MSR, and Fegan seized the hill opposite
Bohn’s position. It was almost dark before the Marines could silence
the 2 enemy machineguns around the bend, and at 2015 Murray ordered 3/5
to secure for the night and defend the 2 hills already occupied. On
the premise that the enemy had prepared an ambush for rescue parties
approaching the wrecked jeep, it was decided to wait until morning to
bring back the wounded men.

_The Seizure of Kosong_

The night passed quietly except for scattered rifle fire along the 3d
Battalion’s 700-yard front. To carry out General Craig’s orders for
11 August, the two rifle companies prepared to continue the attack on
Kosong at first light.[258]

     [258] This section is derived from: Annex How; Craig, 12 Jan
           54; Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr 54 (with comments by LtCol
           R. D. Taplett).

The enemy had different plans. At the crack of dawn a small force of
North Koreans emerged from the fog and charged recklessly into Company
G’s front. There was a furious hand-to-hand clash as the attackers
converged on Bohn’s OP in the center of the line. The company commander
directed the defense amid grenade explosions, one of which drove a
fragment into his shoulder. At his side Staff Sergeant Charles F.
Kurtz, Jr., called down effective 60-mm. mortar fire on the Reds while
throwing grenades and ducking submachinegun bursts.

The melee ended after a half hour with Company G driving the battered
remnants of the NKPA platoon back down the hill Despite his wound, Bohn
stayed with his company and reorganized it for the attack on Kosong.
He also had the satisfaction of overseeing the evacuation of the two
wounded survivors of McNeely’s ill-fated patrol.

At 0800, the Brigade moved out in a route column, with 3/5 as the
advance guard and Company G in the role of advance party. Bohn’s point
consisted of Second Lieutenant John D. Counselman’s 3d Platoon, whose
leading element, under Corporal Raymond Giaquinto, was on the MSR with
flank guards slightly withheld on each side.

The Brigade column moved swiftly. About a mile beyond the line of
departure, Giaquinto braked his roadbound unit in the face of doubtful
ground ahead. Simultaneously, the flank guards surged forward and
wrapped around the suspected area. Then Giaquinto’s force raced
down the road, and the 3 prongs of the point converged on an enemy
machinegun emplacement, killing the 5 occupants before they could fire
a shot.

With Bohn calling the shots and Giaquinto setting the pace, the point
swept aside three more enemy positions along the route. The effective
combination of limited frontal attacks and envelopments brought the
head of the column to the bridge north of Kosong at 1000. Here Company
H passed through on the road and pushed into the town.

Using 1 rifle platoon and 2 tanks, Fegan easily cleared northern Kosong
of light resistance. Then he gradually wheeled his force to the right,
tracing the road to Sachon. His other two platoons continued southward
with the mission of seizing a high hill below Sunam-dong.

General Craig reached Kosong by jeep just as Taplett was setting up his
CP in a schoolyard north of the town. A small group of enemy snipers
suddenly opened up from positions in and around the schoolhouse, and
the Brigade commander observed sniper teams of 3/5’s headquarters
spring into action and destroy the North Koreans.

Shortly after Fegan entered Kosong, Bohn swung his company to the
southwest from above the town, drove through the western suburbs and
launched an attack against Hill 88 below the Sachon road. Approaching
the hill, Company G sustained a few casualties while eliminating a
stubborn Communist pocket in the low ground on its right flank.

MAG-33 preceded the attack on Hill 88 with a thundering air strike
on 100 enemy entrenched along the crest. This attack coupled with a
thorough shelling by 1/11, shattered the Reds’ will to fight, and
Company G found only evidence of a hasty flight when it reached the
summit at 1330.

General Craig ordered Taplett to cancel all further missions around
the captured town and attack toward Sachon immediately. Company G was
quickly recalled from Hill 88; the high ground above Sunam-dong was
ignored, and Fegan assembled his unit at the western edge of Kosong
preparatory to leading the attack.

Just as Company H was reforming, a jeep ambulance driven by Corpsman
William H. Anderson raced into the area to pick up casualties from
Bohn’s earlier skirmish below Hill 88. Passing through Fegan’s troops,
the vehicle failed to make the turn southward and sped toward Sachon.
Two enemy antitank guns lying in wait west of Kosong blasted the jeep
as it rounded a bend, killing Anderson and spilling two passengers out
of the wrecked vehicle.

Fegan led two M-26 tanks to the bend, and Technical Sergeant Johnnie C.
Cottrell quickly destroyed the North Korean position. Three rounds from
his 90-mm. gun wiped out the last NKPA opposition in the area, and the
3d Battalion moved out for the drive on Sachon.


Fight on Two Fronts

_The Kosong Turkey Shoot--The Changchon Ambush--Marines Ordered
to New Sector--Attack of 3/5 to the Rear--Enemy Dawn Attack at
Changchon--Breaking Off Action_

Marine air and artillery had a field day on 11 August 1950 that the
rifle companies will never forget. The occasion was known as “the
Kosong Turkey Shoot,” and it was a victory won entirely by supporting

It happened just as 3/5 was about to enter Kosong. As a preliminary,
1/11 was called upon just before noon for preparatory fires. Shells
from the 105’s landed in the town, sending up geysers of rubble in the
bright sunlight. Then, suddenly, the Marine artillery flushed out a
column of enemy vehicles making a frantic dash for safety.

This flight explains the light resistance which the Marine infantry met
in Kosong. But the enemy could hardly have chosen a less propitious
moment, for he had merely escaped from the frying pan into the fire.
Overhead, to his sorrow, was a division of VMF-323 planes from the
_Badoeng Strait_, which the forward TACP had sent on a search and
attack mission just beyond the town.[259] Major Lund and his pilots
were thus presented with a fabulous target of opportunity--an estimated
100 vehicles of the NKPA 83d Motorcycle Regiment, including jeeps,
motorcycles and troop-carrying trucks.[260]

     [259] VMF-323 SAR, 3 Aug-6 Sep 50.

     [260] Estimates as to the number of vehicles vary widely.
           Apparently no exact count was ever made.

_The Kosong Turkey Shoot_

The Corsairs came screaming down in low-level strafing runs the
entire length of the column for the purpose of bringing it to a halt.
Vehicles crashed into one another or piled up in the ditch while enemy
troops scrambled out for cover. The Soviet-made jeeps and motorcycles
were now sitting ducks for F4U’s which worked over individual targets
with rocket or 20-mm. fire. After the Marine planes had set about 40
vehicles on fire, they were relieved by another flight of VMF-323
machines and Air Force F-51’s which added the finishing touches to the
picture of destruction.[261]

     [261] Ernest Giusti, “Marine Air Over the Pusan Perimeter,”
           _Marine Corps Gazette_, 36, No. 5:20–21 (May 52).

Under the circumstances the enemy put up a creditable fight. Lund and
his low-flying pilots encountered fierce small arms and automatic
weapons fire. Two of the four Corsairs in the first flight were badly
damaged and had to try for emergency landings. Lieutenant Doyle Cole
ditched into the bay just as General Craig was making a tour of
inspection by helicopter; and the Brigade commander operated the hoist
which pulled the dripping flier up to safety.

Captain Vivian Moses was not so fortunate. While putting his crippled
plane down in enemy territory, he was thrown unconscious from the
cockpit and drowned in a rice paddy a few minutes before a VMO-6
helicopter arrived. Only the day before, this gallant Marine pilot
had been rescued by helicopter, after being shot down behind the NKPA
lines, and flown back unhurt to his carrier. Despite this experience,
Captain Moses volunteered for duty on 11 August, when he became the
first death casualty of MAG-33.

Several hours later, after securing Kosong and resuming the attack
toward Sachon, the Marine ground forces caught up with the scene of
chaos left by the F4U’s. Among the twisted and charred vehicles were
some that the enemy had abandoned in perfect condition. Tolerant
NCO’s relaxed discipline for a moment while their men tried out the
motorcycles with sidecars and the sleek, black Soviet jeeps, most of
which had gone into the attack practically new. Almost identical in
design to American jeeps, these vehicles were found to be powered by
familiar Ford-type engines--a throwback to United States Lend Lease to
Russia in World War II.

Generals Craig and Cushman surveyed the wreckage from a helicopter
next day. This strike, however, was only one of the more dramatic
examples of the Brigade air-ground team in action. MAG-33 aircraft
were constantly orbiting on station over the front line as the ground
forces advanced. Flown by infantry-trained pilots briefed on the local
ground situation, the Corsairs were available for employment on short
notice. It was a simple and flexible system; and the fact that VMF-214
and VMF-323 were based on the two carriers meant that they could arrive
on station with more fuel and ordnance for strikes as compared to
Japan-based squadrons.[262]

     [262] This summary of tactical air operations is derived from
           MCBS, I-IV-B, 9–14; Maj George J. King, interv with
           author, n. d.

Overall control of tactical air operations in Korea was exercised
by the Fifth Air Force. Marine aviation units, as components of an
integrated Fleet Marine Force, operated in support of the Brigade as
their highest priority, and in support of other UN forces as a lower
priority. After checking in with Fifth AF TACC at the Joint Operations
Center (JOC), Marine aviation units came under Marine operational
control when supporting Brigade ground forces. When providing tactical
air support for other UN forces, Marine air units operated under the
Air Force-Army system for tactical air support.

The Brigade control organization included 3 battalion TACP’s and 1
regimental TACP, each consisting of an officer and 6 enlisted men,
and each equipped with a radio jeep, portable radios and remoting
equipment. MAG-33 provided a Brigade control agency consisting of the
Air Support Section of MTACS-2. Other Brigade units associated with
control of aircraft were:

(1) The Air Section of the Brigade Staff, consisting of the Brigade
Air officer and six enlisted men responsible for planning as well as
tactical control and coordination of supporting aircraft;

(2) The Brigade observation section, consisting of the tactical air
observer, three gunnery observers, and the OY and rotary-wing aircraft
of VMO-6.

Carrier-based Marine aviation units maintained a TAC and one or more
flights of aircraft on station during daylight hours. Night heckler
and intruder missions of VMF(N)-513 from Itazuke reported to the Fifth
AF TACC and were routed by that agency to the Air Support Section
(MTACS-2) with the Brigade. During the early Brigade operations,
with the Air Force TACC located at Taegu, delays of incoming flights
reporting to JOC were caused by overloaded communications nets. An
improvement resulted when such flights by-passed JOC and reported
directly to the Air Support Section of Brigade. And when JOC moved
back to Pusan, improved communications resulted in incoming flights
reporting first to JOC again.

The Brigade control agency (Air Support Section) made use of the
following communications for the control of tactical air operations:

(1) TAR net connecting battalion TACP’s, the regimental TACP, and the
Air Support Section, and monitored by the Brigade Air Section. This was
an HF net.

(2) TAD net connecting above-named agencies as well as TAC flights of
support aircraft and on occasion the TAO. This was a VHF net of four
frequencies used to brief and control aircraft reporting for support

(3) TAO net connecting observation aircraft, the Brigade CP (Air
Section) and the Air Support Section. This was an HF net.

(4) An administrative (HF) net connecting the Air Support Section and
the carriers _Sicily_ and _Badoeng Strait_.

The workings of the control organization of the Brigade air-ground team
in the Pusan Perimeter have been described as follows in the survey of
the Marine Corps Board Study:

  “Battalion TACP’s made requests for air support missions direct by
  TAR net to the Air Support Section. The regimental TACP and Brigade
  Air Section monitored this net. The Brigade control agency having
  received a request for a mission, contacted the TAC and the Flight
  Leader (FL) of the aircraft orbiting on station awaiting a mission.
  The TAC and the FL were then directed to the vicinity of the TACP
  from whom the request had originated.

  “The TACP controlled the execution of the mission in accordance with
  the wishes of the battalion commander. The TACP gave the location of
  the target to the TAC. The latter designated the target to the FL and
  his flight of supporting aircraft. The unit being supported marked
  its front lines. The TAC directed the attacking aircraft in making
  attacks on the target. His directions related to the technique of
  attacking specific targets with aircraft. Control of the attack was
  exercised by the ground unit being supported.

  “In many instances the TAC or the TAO would locate targets not yet
  located by ground units. This was often done in response to a request
  from ground units. Both the TAC and TAO located targets beyond the
  vision of ground units, and both were capable of, and did, designate
  these targets to flights of supporting aircraft and directed attacks
  on such targets, when requested to do so by ground units. Conditions
  favored delegating control to forward TACP’s beyond convenient VHF
  range between them and the Brigade (Air Support Section). Brigade
  attack formations frequently consisted of battalions in column.
  The forward battalion was free to employ air support at a moment’s

This was the situation on the afternoon of 11 August 1950 as the 3d
Battalion of the 5th Marines attacked toward Sachon, followed by 2/5
in trace. Overhead a flight of VMF-323 Corsairs orbited on station,
and OY observers reported the enemy to be pulling back rapidly toward

How Company led the Marine attack, with lead tanks employing
reconnaissance by fire. At 1800, after the column had covered several
miles, a lone enemy machinegun in a valley on the left held up the
advance by wounding three Marines. By the time the tanks silenced the
weapon with .50-caliber fire, it was decided to halt. Taplett deployed
his battalion on two hills north of the road, and the infantrymen
settled down for a quiet night.

The gravel crunchers could thank air and other supporting arms for
an impressive demonstration of power that day. There was even the
suggestion of an amphibious operation in the Brigade advance, for
an LST followed the column and anchored near the fishing village of
Tanghong-ni after the securing of Kosong.

This was LST QO119, a supply ship manned by Team No. 1 of Major William
L. Batchelor’s Company A, 1st Shore Party Battalion. Team No. 2 set
up forward dumps along the MSR as the infantry advanced, while No. 3
unloaded supplies and equipment at the Masan railhead. Shore Party
personnel also assisted in salvage operations, which were conducted
mainly at Changwon.[263]

     [263] Annex Mike to Brig SAR.

LST QO119 was not only the workhorse of normal Shore Party missions;
it served also as an improvised hospital ship. For the Medical Section
and Company C, 1st Medical Battalion, had an extra responsibility these
sweltering days in caring for victims of heat prostration as well as
the wounded. Thus it may have set some sort of a record when casualties
were evacuated at one time by land, sea and air--motor ambulance, LST
and helicopter.

_The Changchon Ambush_

At sundown on 11 August, as Taplett’s battalion dug in for the night
on the road to Sachon, the enemy seemed to be disorganized if not
actually demoralized. For the first time since the invasion began, a
sustained Eighth Army counterattack had not only stopped the Red Korean
steamroller but sent it into reverse.

With the Marines a day’s march from Sachon, the Army 5th RCT was
running a dead heat on the shorter Chinju route to the north, where
opposition had been light the last 2 days. It might even have appeared
on the evening of the 11th that the combined operation had turned
into a friendly rivalry between two outfits racing toward their final
objective by parallel roads. But any such assumption would have been
premature, as General Craig and his staff well realized. They looked
for further resistance and were not disillusioned. Within the next 48
hours, in fact, Craig’s men were destined to carry out one of the most
astonishing operations in the history of the Marine Corps--simultaneous
BLT attacks in opposite directions on two fronts 25 miles apart.

There was no hint of any such development at 0630 on the morning of 12
August, when the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines passed through the
3d Battalion with a mission of seizing Sachon. If anything, the front
was too quiet to suit veteran NCO’s, who suspected the enemy of being
up to no good. The column moved out behind a 15-man detachment of Recon
Company acting as the point under the command of Captain Kenneth J.
Houghton. Next came Baker Company with the 1st, 2d, and 3d Platoons in
that order. Two Marine tanks were sandwiched in between the 1st and 2d
Platoons, and three more M-26’s brought up the rear of Captain Tobin’s
company, followed by the main body of the battalion.

No opposition awaited the column. This unnatural calm continued for
4½ hours as the Marines advanced about 11 miles. At noon, with Sachon
only 4 miles away, Houghton and the point rounded a bend into the
thatched-hut hamlet of Changchon. The first enemy soldiers of the day
were sighted when two skulking figures took cover. Several Marines
opened fire, and in reply the hills on both sides of the road erupted
into flame.[264]

     [264] This section is derived from: Brig SAR, 5th Marines,
           1st Bn rpt; Maj John L. Tobin, ltr to author, 26 Apr 54
           (Tobin, 26 Apr 54); Maj John R. Stevens, ltr to author,
           11 Jan 54; and T/Sgt F. J. Lischeski, ltr to author, 14
           Jan 54.

The enemy had obviously planned to allow the entire column to come
within range. But the trap was sprung prematurely as NKPA machineguns
blazed away from the high ground in front and on both flanks. Captain
Tobin immediately sent the 1st Platoon to the aid of the point. First
Lieutenant Hugh C. Schryver led his men forward along the roadside
ditches, and at the cost of three casualties they reinforced the thin
line of Recon troops returning the enemy’s fire.

Next, the company commander ordered First Lieutenant David S. Taylor’s
2d Platoon to move up behind three Marine tanks. The M-26’s were unable
to maneuver off the road because of the danger of bogging down in
rice paddies, but as mobile fortresses they added to Marine fire power.



12 AUGUST 1950]

Tobin’s whole company became more or less pinned down when the 3d
Platoon and headquarters, farther back on the road, received automatic
weapons fire from Hill 250 on the right. Newton immediately requested
the battalion air controller, First Lieutenant James W. Smith, to call
for a strike in this area. This was the only supporting arm available
at the moment, since the mortar and artillery crews were just setting
up their weapons in hastily selected positions.

After the Corsairs worked over Hill 250, Tobin ordered Second
Lieutenant David R. Cowling’s 3d Platoon to attack the high ground.
A rifle platoon and machinegun section had been sent forward from
Able Company by the battalion commander, and Newton gave these
reinforcements the mission of seizing Hill 301, also on the right side
of the road.

As Cowling’s men were crossing the open rice paddy, the Marine tank
guns and mortars added their fires to the air strike. But enough enemy
machineguns survived to catch the 3d Platoon in a crossfire which
forced it to fall back with 1 man killed and 4 wounded. The Able
Company contingent occupied Hill 301 meanwhile without meeting any

During the course of these actions, the FAC reported to Newton that
2 of the Corsairs overhead had 5 minutes of time left. The battalion
commander directed that they search for targets of opportunity along
the road leading from Changchon to Sachon. The result was a repetition
on a small scale of the Kosong turkey shoot, for the Marine planes
surprised a little column of enemy vehicles and personnel. After the
Corsairs unloaded their remaining ordnance, the road was strewn with
twisted and burning vehicles.

The 3d Platoon fell back on Hill 301 as Newton ordered Captain John
R. Stevens to secure the nearby high ground on the right side of the
road with the rest of his Able Company troops. This left Hill 250 as
the center of enemy resistance on the right. A total of 113 Marine
mortar rounds were delivered on these positions, followed by a second
air strike. The concentration of fire finally silenced the enemy’s
remaining machineguns, and the Baker Company right flank was secured.

The other two Baker Company platoons and Houghton’s men had their hands
full meanwhile on the left flank. They kept up a brisk fire fight from
the roadside ditches until the Marine artillery took charge of the
situation. One enemy position after another was knocked out in this
quarter as Newton called for three more air strikes. These preparatory
fires enabled the 1st and 2d Platoons to attack on the left after a
laborious crossing of an intervening rice paddy.

The Marines proceeded to clean up the remaining NKPA positions
methodically. A climax was reached when Lieutenant Taylor spotted an
enemy group approaching the crest of Hill 202 from the reverse slope.
He sent Technical Sergeant F. J. Lischeski with a squad to prepare
a welcome. The veteran NCO coolly formed a line along the ridge and
directed his men to wait until the enemy came within 75 feet before
opening fire.

It would be hard to find a more striking example of Marine infantry
firepower. Of the 39 men in the NKPA group, all were killed outright in
a matter of seconds except a single officer. This survivor was so badly
wounded that he died on the way to the regimental CP.

The fight had lasted all afternoon, and darkness fell before Company
B could complete its movement to the high ground on the left side of
the road and set up a perimeter of defense. It was estimated that an
enemy company was operating in the area, covering the retreat of sorely
battered elements of the NKPA 6th Infantry Division and 83d Motorcycle

Marine losses were 3 killed and 13 wounded. After the securing of the
high ground to the right, casualties were evacuated by road on the lee
side of slowly moving tanks which provided shelter from enemy fire on
the left.

_Marines Ordered to New Sector_

The Marines of 1/5 anticipated that the next day’s advance would take
them to Sachon. At midnight on 12 August, however, Lieutenant Colonel
Newton received orders from the regimental commander to form the
battalion on the road at 0630 in preparation for a lift by trucks to
another sector, where the Marines were to reinforce Army units.

While Newton’s men were fighting at Changchon, the Brigade commander
had come up against a most unusual command situation. It began late
on the morning of the 12th, when General Craig received orders from
CG Task Force Kean, directing him to move a reinforced Marine rifle
battalion back to Chindong-ni. General Kean emphasized that the shift
be made without delay. Infiltrating enemy forces had penetrated far
back in the rear to overrun positions of Battery C, 555th (“Triple
Nickel”) Field Artillery Battalion and Headquarters and Able Batteries,
90th Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the 25th Division. The MSR
being endangered, Marine reinforcements were urgently needed for a

     [265] This section is derived from: Craig, 18 May 5 and 12 Jan
           54; Murray, 14 Jan 54; and Brig SAR, 5th Marines, 1st Bn
           and 3d Bn rpts.

At 0800 that morning Craig had set up his CP at Kosong. It was his
custom to keep a terse and factual record of events from day to day,
and the following chronological account is derived from entries in the
Brigade commander’s field notebook:

  “1130--Received telephonic orders from CG 25th Div, stating that
      enemy was attacking in force across our MSR near Chindong-ni. He
      directed that I send one reinforced battalion to rear at once
      to give assistance to 24th Infantry engaged in that area and to
      recapture artillery pieces.

  “1200--Proceeded by helicopter to CP 5th Marines to give necessary
      instructions. Made two landings en route to gather trucks for
      troop lift.

  “1300--The reinforced 3d Bn., 5th Marines, now on way to Chindong-ni

  “1330--Sent my G-3, LtCol Stewart, and LtCol Taplett, CO of 3/5, by
      helicopter to bridge indicated by CG 25th Div. to reconnoiter and
      formulate plans prior to arrival of battalion. Marines to operate
      directly under 25th Division for this action.

  “1400--We are out on a limb with only two battalions left and Sachon
      still to take. Went to leading elements to check. They were
      engaged in a heavy fire fight at an attempted ambush position.
      Air brought to bear and helped, plus artillery. Enemy positions
      taken by 1/5, which dug in on high ground while 2/5 was disposed
      to protect rest of Brigade column.

  “1730--Returned to Brigade CP at Kosong and received orders to
      proceed via helicopter to Masan to confer with CG 25th Division.

  “1815--On flight to Masan I detoured to Chindong-ni area to make sure
      by air observation that 3/5 had arrived and apparently was not
      having any trouble.

  “1830--Arrived Masan and was directed by General Kean to commence a
      tactical withdrawal from Sachon.

  “1945--Returned by helicopter to my Kosong CP in early darkness and
      issued necessary orders.”

The preparations for withdrawal lowered the spirits of Marines who
believed that they had broken the back of enemy resistance in the
Sachon area. This reaction may even be noted in the first paragraph of
the Brigade withdrawal order:

  “1. GENERAL SITUATION. Following Brigade rapid advance from
  Chindong-ni to Sachon in which this Brigade attacked, overcame,
  and pursued the enemy, the 25th Infantry Division has directed the
  withdrawal of this Brigade in order to hold a defensive position and
  mop up enemy resistance in the zone of action of elements of the 25th



It would later be known that the basic reason for the Brigade
withdrawal was a decision by the Eighth Army command and staff. The
enemy had crossed the river Naktong, the last natural barrier of the
Pusan Perimeter, and this emergency had caused the Marines to be pulled
back in readiness for a counterattack in the Naktong bulge.

_Attack of 3/5 to the Rear_

The foregoing chronology makes it evident that General Craig could
never have handled this situation in an afternoon without helicopter
transportation. Jeeps could not have reached so many destinations over
narrow, twisting roads choked with traffic; and fixed-wing planes,
even the adaptable OY’s, could not have landed wherever the Brigade
commander willed. Marine helicopters set a good many precedents in
Korea, and the events of 12 August 1950 established the usefulness of
these versatile machines for command and staff flights.

Early that afternoon, as Craig had directed, Stewart and Taplett flew
back to the Chindong-ni area for reconnaissance and planning prior
to the arrival of 3/5. The Brigade commander had been able to give
them very little initial information. About 2,000 to 2,500 enemy had
infiltrated to the vicinity, according to Army estimates. The two
Marine officers were instructed to fly to a bridge over a dry stream
bed, where they would be met and briefed by a 25th Division liaison
officer awaiting them in a jeep with a red air panel on the hood.[266]

     [266] This section is derived from LtCol Robert D. Taplett’s
           detailed statement to Marine Corps Evaluation Board,
           n. d.

Stewart and Taplett found the bridge, though no jeep was in sight.
After landing in the stream bed, they discovered a camouflaged Army
light tank; but the officers of the armored company could not offer any

A number of wire lines lay in the roadside ditch, and the Marine
officers checked them, one by one. At length, by a process of trial
and error, they found a line leading to the 25th Division CP and
talked to the G-3. He instructed them to “look the situation over”
and decide upon a course of action to eliminate enemy activity in the
area and provide security for the remaining artillery unit--a battery
of the 159th Field Artillery Battalion which had been attached to the
555th. Then the Marine officers were to report to General Barth, ADC
of the 25th Division, upon his arrival in the area to take the overall

Ever since the jump-off of 7 August, the operations of Task Force
Kean had been distinguished for informality. Oral orders were the
rule rather than exception, with unusual latitude of decision being
permitted to officers in the field. After their telephone conversation,
Stewart and Taplett made a helicopter reconnaissance of the area,
followed by a flight back over the MSR to locate 3/5. Upon their
return, they encountered Colonel John Daly, USA, CO of the 555th Field
Artillery Battalion. Battery C of that unit, he informed them, had
been surprised the night before, along with two batteries of the 90th,
and completely overrun about 3,000 yards up the stream bed. They were
destroyed as a fighting force, though scattered survivors and wounded
men remained in the area. Daly briefed the Marine officers as to the
location of enemy forces; and they decided to seize two key ridges
commanding the MSR, which ran parallel to the stream bed. The troops of
3/5 were just then piling out of the trucks at the debarkation point,
and Taplett ordered them to attack without waiting for Barth, since it
would soon be dark.

These Marines, contrary to standing operating procedure, had turned
their backs on the roar of battle at Changchon early that afternoon
and ridden away in the opposite direction. Then, to complete the
mystery, they traveled 25 miles to the rear to assault a ridge which
was supposedly secured. How Company jumped off with George following
in trace. Colonel Daly provided a 15-minute artillery preparation,
though he had no orders, and Taplett’s FAC managed to summon a flight
of Corsairs with partial loads aboard, including napalm. No one had
any idea of the enemy’s strength, and after receiving some fire from
the ridge, Captain Fegan picked the locations for an air strike. How
Company moved in rapidly afterwards against such light resistance that
the Marines seized the first position without a single casualty. Only
one casualty was inflicted upon the enemy, who apparently had put up a
rearguard fight while withdrawing.

At 1900, when General Barth arrived, he asked when the Marine battalion
would be ready to attack. Taplett replied that he already had one
company on the first objective, and the 25th Division ADC congratulated
the Marines on their promptness. He approved Taplett’s course of action
and gave his sanction for the seizure of the rest of the dominating
high ground the following morning.

Again the Marines received the most cordial cooperation from the Army.
General Barth ordered several light tanks and three M-44 armored
personnel carriers to support the attack at 0700 on 13 August. The same
Army artillery battery was assigned to the operation, and Battery C
of the 11th Marines took part after arriving the night before. As it
proved, the infantry needed little assistance to seize the remaining
objectives against negligible resistance. By 1000 the Marine rifle
companies were in full possession of the two commanding ridgelines. No
casualties were suffered or inflicted.

Despite the lack of opposition, the enemy had not pulled out of the
area. When Lieutenant Colonel Murray made a helicopter flight to drop
a message to survivors of the 555th, his helicopter was ambushed in
a defile by NKPA marksmen concealed on both sides. Only the pilot’s
skillful maneuvering got them out safely, and they were unable to
complete their mission.

A plan for the Marines to advance to the west across the valley floor
while the Army 5th RCT attacked rearward to meet them was considered
by the 25th Division. Taplett’s battalion would have been accompanied
by 2/5, then on the way to the Chindong-ni area. But this scheme of
maneuver was canceled, and the 2d Battalion of the 5th RCT relieved 3/5
on 14 August. By that time, as will be related later, other elements
of the Brigade were on the way to an assembly area at Miryang in
preparation for an operation in another sector.

At least the attack by 3/5 enabled elements of the 25th Division to
rescue survivors of the artillery batteries who straggled back. Both
Taplett and Stewart believed that enemy numbers in the area had been
much smaller than the original Army estimate of 2,000 to 2,500 men. The
3/5 commander wanted to complete his mission by attacking to recover
the howitzers and other lost equipment while the opportunity still
existed. But he was unable to accomplish this aim because of orders for
Brigade withdrawal, and the artillery pieces were never recaptured.
Air strikes were called to destroy them after the relief of the Marine
battalion, and the area itself was abandoned a few days later when 25th
Division units fell back before renewed NKPA attacks.

_Enemy Dawn Attack at Changchon_

On the other Marine front, 25 miles distant, 1/5 had a return
engagement before dawn on 13 August with the enemy in the Changchon
area. Company commanders had received orders the night before to alert
their units at 0400 for the withdrawal. General Craig’s Op Order 10-50
was a complete and well planned field order, despite the need for
haste; but the enemy interrupted with a surprise attack launched from
concealed positions occupied under cover of darkness.[267]

     [267] Craig, 12 Jan 54.

Baker Company’s defense setup for the night on Hill 202 consisted of
the 3d, 1st, and 2d Platoons tied in from left to right in that order.
The action began at 0450 with enemy automatic weapons fire. Marine
60-mm. mortar illuminating shells revealed an NKPA infiltration on the
right in the area of the 2d Platoon.

This effort soon proved to be a diversionary attack for the purpose
of masking the main blow. At 0455 3 enemy flares went up, 2 red and 1
green. They were the signal for an assault on the left flank at the
other end of the Baker Company position. The enemy, as a wounded Marine
NCO put it afterwards, was “right on top of the 3d Platoon in a few
seconds” with grenades and burp guns.[268]

     [268] Tobin, of 26 Apr 54.

This was one of the occasions when the Marines were painfully reminded
that the NKPA 6th Division had been made up originally of veterans of
the Chinese civil war, conditioned by experience for the rigors of
night fighting. Marine security had not been at fault, yet the enemy
had managed to creep forward in uncanny silence to positions within
grenade-throwing distance.

In an instant the Marine position was overrun, with the machinegun
section being wiped out except for two men. Communication troubles
added to the confusion. Platoon radios had been rendered inoperative
by mud and water while crossing rice paddies, and telephone wires were
believed to have been cut. Two runners were killed during Tobin’s
efforts to maintain contact with the hard-pressed troops on the left
flank. A third runner got through with orders for the remnants of the
platoon to fall back within the perimeter of the adjacent 1st Platoon.

The troubles of Baker Company were compounded at this stage when the
enemy turned two of the Marines’ own machineguns against them.

During the next hour the fight became a slugging match. When the first
gray light of dawn permitted some visibility, Baker Company 3.5″ rocket
launchers knocked out the two Marine machineguns being fired by the
enemy. The left flank was holding well when the 60-mm. mortars ran
out of ammunition. To make matters worse, the artillery FO’s radio
took destructive hits from machinegun fire just as the enemy changed
the direction of his attack. Now his main effort was being channeled
up the draw between the 1st and 2d Platoons for the obvious purpose
of splitting the company and beating it in detail. The attackers had
been bled white by casualties, however, and Tobin’s men had little
difficulty in beating off the new assault.


HILL 202

NIGHT OF 12–13 AUG. 1950]

_Breaking Off Action_

Battalion orders were received through Able Company to disengage at
0630 and pull down from the high ground to the trucking point at
Newton’s CP. Tobin was now depending on Company A radios for 4.2″ and
81-mm. mortar support which slowed up enemy efforts. As his first move
toward breaking off action, he ordered his 3d and 1st Platoons to
withdraw into the perimeter of the 2d.[269]

     [269] _Ibid._

By this time the enemy had fallen back toward the lower levels of Hill
202. Small arms fire had slackened but the Marines still received
mortar bursts.

Tobin ordered his executive officer, Captain Francis I. Fenton, to take
the wounded across the rice paddies to the road with the 3d Platoon
and Headquarters troops. The company commander remained on the hill to
cover this movement with the other two platoons. After Fenton got well
underway, Tobin ordered the 2d Platoon down to the road. Then, a squad
at a time, the remaining Marines disengaged; and the Baker Company
commander came off Hill 202 with the last squad at 0815. The entire
movement had been accomplished with precision, and a final air strike
kept the enemy quiet at the climax.

Considering the fury of the fighting on Hill 202, a Marine casualty
list of 12 KIA, 18 WIA, and 8 MIA was not as large as might have been
expected. The idea of men missing in action is always disturbing to
Marine officers, but it was considered a moral certainty that the
eight casualties of this type were killed when the enemy overran the
machinegun section on the Baker Company left flank.[270] Before leaving
Hill 202, Captain Tobin asked permission to lead an attack for the
purpose of recovering the bodies. He believed that he could retake
the lost ground in an hour, but his request could not be granted at a
time when the battalion was belated in carrying out Brigade withdrawal

     [270] Seven of these casualties were transferred from the MIA
           to the KIA column in September 1950 after the recovery
           of their bodies, following enemy withdrawal from the
           area. The eighth continued to be listed as MIA until
           November 1953, when the man was assumed to be dead.

     [271] _Ibid._

It fell to the engineers and armor to cover the rear after the infantry
pulled out. Midway between Sachon and Kosong, the MSR is joined by
a road from Samchonpo, a minor seaport on the tip of the peninsula.
In order to block this approach to the Brigade’s southern flank,
General Craig ordered the engineers to mine the road. First Lieutenant
Nicholas A. Canzona was assigned to the task with a detachment of his
1st Platoon of Able Company, 1st Engineer Battalion. After laying an
extensive field, this officer discovered to his embarrassment that he
had erred in arming nearly half of the mines with wrong fuses, so that
they were harmless. Apparently the moral effect was enough, however, to
keep the enemy at a distance.

Lieutenant Hetrick’s 3d Platoon of the engineer company brought up the
Brigade rear on the morning of 13 August to crater roads, lay antitank
minefields and destroy bridges and culverts. Personnel left behind for
such missions had the privilege of riding the rearmost tank to catch up
with the column.[272] Thus the withdrawal proceeded systematically and
was completed without enemy interference.

     [272] Annex Jig to Brig SAR.

[Illustration: _The Iron Cavalry--Brigade infantry and tank supporting
each other during advance of Marines to Sachon (Life Magazine Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Guests of the Brigade--Above, Lieutenant General
Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. (center) is shown captured NKPA motorcycle
by Brigadier General Craig (left) and First Lieutenant N. G. Rhodes
(right); below, left to right, General Craig introduces ROK President
Syngman Rhee to Second Lieutenant F. W. Muetzel and Technical Sergeant
E. L. DeFazio, both wounded three times (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Marine Chiefs--Above, left to right, Major General
Field Harris, CG of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing; Major General Oliver
P. Smith, CG of the 1st Marine Division, and Brigadier General Thomas
J. Cushman, commanding MAG-33, meet at a conference in Tokyo; and,
below, left to right, Congressman Hugh D. Scott, Jr., of Pennsylvania
and Henry J. Latham, New York are shown captured gun by Brigadier
General Edward A. Craig while visiting the Naktong front (Marine Corps

[Illustration: _Naktong Fights--Above, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur A.
Chidester, Brigade G-4, watches while tank 90-mm. gun fires across
Observation Hill to knock out enemy machinegun on Obong-ni Ridge; and,
below, Marine infantry advancing in second battle of the Naktong as
Marine air and artillery hit the enemy up ahead (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Fight for a Foothold--Above, Marines advancing in first
battle of the Naktong pass casualties on way to the rear; and, below,
Private First Class Eugene A. Obregon (left) of Los Angeles and Private
First Class Ralph J. Summers, of Tehama, Calif., in a Marine machinegun
position (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Graveyard of Enemy Tanks--Three dead T-34’s at the bend
where the road skirts Hill 125, with Obong-ni Ridge looming up ahead.
Bodies of three Marines show in the foreground (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Naktong Casualties--Above, wounded Marine, with right
leg bandaged, passes M-26 tank on his way to the rear; and, below,
a stretcher casualty being evacuated through rice paddy, with South
Korean laborer bringing up the rear (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Burning Enemy Tank--Marines advancing past Hill 117
(background) along MSR west of Yongsan are giving a wide berth to
the dying T-34 in anticipation of exploding ammunition (Marine Corps

[Illustration: _Combat Leadership--Marine platoon leader calls for
another rush on enemy hill position in second battle of the Naktong
(Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Interlude at the Bean Patch--Above, Marine truck column
on way to Masan area after first battle of the Naktong; and, below,
Brigade riflemen renew their acquaintance with hot food at the Bean
Patch (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _The Quick and the Dead--Marine tank, advancing along
MSR at second Naktong, passes burning hull of enemy T-34 (Life Magazine

[Illustration: _Readying for a Strike--Effectiveness of Marine air
attacks depends not only on Corsair pilots but also on crewmen such as
Staff Sergeant Carl W. Peters (left) and Sergeant Melvin R. Bataway, of
VMF-214, shown while arming rockets on the flight deck of the U. S. S.
_Sicily_ in preparation for a strike in Korea (U. S. Navy Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Enemy Mortar Fire--Marines hit the deck as NKPA mortar
fire reaches out for them while advancing in the second battle of the
Naktong (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Between Attacks--Above, tired Marines take a short
break during first battle of Naktong, with body of NKPA soldier in
foreground; and, below, Marine walking wounded are helped back to the
rear (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Supporting Arms--Above, headquarters officers keep
careful tab on Marine advances in order to co-ordinate fires of
supporting weapons; and, below, the 105-mm. howitzers of 1/11 cleaned
up, packed and ready for embarkation at Pusan (Marine Corps Photo)._]

[Illustration: _Objective Secured--Marine patrol moves out from Hill
311, overlooking the river Naktong, after Brigade troops take their
final objective in the first battle of the Naktong (Marine Corps


The Battle of the Naktong

_Task Force Hill Organized--Planning the Next Operation--Reconnaissance
of Terrain--Air and Artillery Preparation--Company D on
Objective--Attack of Company E_

The movement of the Brigade to Miryang was completed by rail, LST and
shuttling trucks on 15 August. For the infantry, it meant the first hot
meal in Korea, and the bivouac area seemed a cool, green paradise as
compared to the sun-scorched hills the men had been climbing under fire
this past week. A grove of stately trees provided shade; and thanks to
the frugality of peasants who picked up every twig, the grass and moss
were like a well-swept carpet. There the troops of the Brigade slept
under the stars that night and swam in the nearby Miryang river. It was
a veritable reunion for Leathernecks who swapped tales of experiences
in the recent combats.

Being Marines, they realized of course that this was merely an
interlude between operations. The Brigade had passed under operational
control of the 24th Infantry Division upon arrival in the Miryang area.
And on the 15th General Craig reported to General Church’s CP to be
briefed on the situation in the Naktong Bulge, where the next assault
would be launched.

The ability of the Russians to cross the widest rivers in World War
II, using only determination and field expedients, constantly amazed
_Wehrmacht_ generals with much better equipment.[273] This know-how
seemed to have been passed on to the NKPA, judging by the crossings of
the Han and Kum Rivers early in the Korean conflict. On 6 August 1950,
the Red Koreans gave a repeat performance when they forced a 1,000-man
bridgehead across the Naktong river, thus breaching the last natural
barrier protecting the lifeline from Pusan to Taegu.

     [273] U. S. Dept of the Army, _Russian Combat Methods in World
           War II_, DA Pamphlet No. 20-230.

The 24th Infantry Division was unsuccessful in its immediate attempts
to dislodge the enemy.[274] Wading through chest-deep water by night,
pulling crude rafts loaded with vehicles, heavy weapons and supplies,
the North Koreans placed an entire reinforced regiment on the east bank
by 8 August. Termite tactics during the next 2 days broadened their
foothold until the Naktong Bulge was overrun by most of the NKPA 4th

     [274] Capt R. A. Gugeler, “Attack Along a Ridgeline,” in
           _Combat Actions in Korea_ (Washington; Combat Forces
           Press, 1954).

Consisting of the 5th, 16th, and 18th Infantry Regiments and strongly
supported by artillery and armor, the 4th Division was among the
most distinguished of the major Communist units. With the 107th Tank
Regiment attached at the outset of the invasion, it had breezed through
Uijongbu before sharing in the capture of Seoul. On 5 July 1950, the
4th became the first NKPA outfit to tangle with the newly arrived
United States Army forces. Task Force Smith delayed it a few hours near
Osan, despite the Reds’ great advantage in numbers and armor. Later,
after capturing Nonsan and aiding in the reduction of Taejon, the unit
was selected to spearhead the assault over the Naktong.

_Task Force Hill Organized_

In an effort to plug the hole in the Pusan Perimeter, General Walker
attached the 9th Infantry (2d Infantry Division) commanded by Colonel
John G. Hill, to the 24th Division. In turn, General Church placed
Colonel Hill in control of all units in his southern zone and ordered a
counterstroke against the Naktong Bulge.

Task Force Hill attacked on 11 August but lost its momentum in a
confused situation which found the enemy attacking at the same
time. Reinforced to a strength of three infantry regiments, Hill’s
provisional unit again struck out against the bridgehead on 14 and 15
August. After encountering a stone wall of resistance, the task force
was ordered to cease the attack and defend the ground it occupied east
of the enemy pocket.[275]

     [275] _Ibid._

This was the situation as outlined to General Craig at the planning
conference, and he was also briefed on the topography of the target
area. The Naktong Bulge west of Yongsan results from a bend in the
river resembling a stubby thumb pointing westward. Bounded on three
sides by the stream, with its inland border formed by a long valley,
the bulge is an isolated terrain feature--a fortress of mountains
topped by Hill 311, the key height.

As the Yongsan road reaches the Bulge from the east, it turns
southwest, winds around Hill 311, and stops at the tip of the “thumb”
where a ferry links it to the road west of the river.

Guarding the eastern approach to the natural fortress are two hills
astride the Yongsan road--Finger Ridge to the north and Hill 207 to the
south. The former is set off on the east by a deep gully containing
the village of Tugok. Eastward from Hill 207 and directly below Tugok
is Obong-ni Ridge--so called because of a village by that name at its
eastern base.

Not only had the NKPA 4th Division overrun the Naktong Bulge; it had
pushed on along the road to Yongsan, seizing Hill 207, Tugok, and both
Finger and Obong-ni Ridges. These latest gains and the Bulge itself
were being consolidated by elements of all three regiments.

Although units were somewhat depleted, at least 6 infantry battalions
occupied the area, supported by 4 mortar companies, over 100
machineguns, and several artillery pieces. There were 4 or more T-34
tanks within the bridgehead, and a signal and engineer company for
overall support. As the spoils of earlier victories, particularly the
one at Taejon, enemy arms were generously augmented by a number of
American carbines and two 105-mm. howitzers.[276]

     [276] Brig Op Plan 13-50; Brig Periodic IntelRpts Nos. 12–14;
           Annex How.

_Planning the Next Operation_

It was decided by General Church and General Craig at their conference
of 15 August that the entire 24th Division, Reinforced, would assault
the enemy bridgehead at 0800, 17 August, after strong air and artillery
preparations. The 19th and 34th Infantry would converge on the Bulge
from the northeast. In the center, the 9th RCT and the Marine Brigade
would strike frontally astride the MSR, the former on the north of the
road and the latter on the south. The 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, was
to hold blocking positions in the south to protect the left flank of
the Brigade.[277]

     [277] _Ibid._; and Brig Op Plan 13-50.

On 15 August, front lines in the center of the zone were on Hill 125
and Observation Hill, both defended by the 9th RCT. A thousand yards
to the rear, the 34th Infantry occupied Cloverleaf Hill and adjacent
high ground. Before the attack, the Brigade was to relieve the 34th on
position so that the Army unit could move to the north for its assigned
mission. Then, at H-hour, the Marines would jump off from Observation
Hill and seize Obong-ni Ridge--Objective One. Simultaneously, the 9th
RCT would drive forward through Tugok and take Finger Ridge, from
which it was to support the Brigade’s advance. The 1st Battalion,
11th Marines, would be under operational control of the 24th Division
artillery commander, and priority for all supporting fires would go to
the Marines.[278]

     [278] Brig Op Plan 13-60

During the planning, General Church emphasized that Cloverleaf Hill
must remain occupied and defended until Brigade Objective One was
seized. He considered this hill of utmost importance in blocking the
MSR to the 24th Division CP and Miryang. This collateral responsibility
would tie up a number of Brigade troops and have strong influence on
the tactics used against Obong-ni Ridge.[279]

     [279] Craig, 4 Mar 54.

Before the conference closed, Church promised Craig that 145 Army
trucks would be available the next day to transport the Marines
from their Miryang bivouac to an assembly area near the line of

     [280] _Ibid._; and Brig SAR, basic rpt.

At 1900, 15 August, Craig briefed his staff and unit commanders. The
next morning the Brigade commander flew by helicopter to Church’s CP
and received the actual attack order, which was identical with the
planning of the previous day.[281]

     [281] Craig, 4 Mar 54.

Later on the 16th, Craig drove to the front to reconnoiter the area
marked for the Brigade jump-off. He visited the 9th RCT command
post where Colonel Hill informed him that the Army unit was in good
condition as it stood by for the great attack.[282]

     [282] _Ibid._

_Reconnaissance of Terrain_

After Craig’s reconnaissance, Lieutenant Colonel Murray arrived at the
front to discuss the tactical plan with the 9th RCT Commander. Although
Colonel Hill spoke confidently of his outfit’s readiness for the
attack, Murray observed that the ranks of soldiers on Observation Hill
and Hill 125 were dun and the men obviously wearied by the fighting of
the previous 5 days.[283]

     [283] 24th InfDiv Op Instr No. 26 for this period showed
           the 9th RCT(-) at 47 percent strength and 44 percent
           estimated combat efficiency. Morale for the consistently
           hard-hit 24th Division was gauged “Fair.”

With this impression in mind, the 5th Marines commander studied the
terrain soon to be his regiment’s battleground. Between Observation
Hill and Obong-ni Ridge, a 300-yard rice paddy was flanked to the north
of the road by the 9th RCT positions on Hill 125. Across the MSR from
the northern tip of Obong-ni Ridge was the congested village of Tugok.
West of the hamlet and northwest of Brigade Objective One was long, low
Finger Ridge, target of Hill’s RCT.[284]

     [284] _Ibid._

Murray quickly concluded from the terrain that both regiments should
not attack together and become exposed simultaneously in the low ground
ahead. Since Obong-ni Ridge was closer than the Army objective and
dominated both Tugok and Finger Ridge, Murray suggested that the 5th
Marines jump off alone at 0800, 17 August. If the 9th RCT would support
him by fire from Hill 125, he would cake Obong-ni Ridge and return the
courtesy while the Army unit cleared Tugok and seized its objective.
And though offering his plan on a tactical basis, Murray also took into
consideration the condition and numbers of Hill’s troops.[285]

     [285] _Ibid._

The 9th RCT commander agreed, and the responsibility of delivering the
first punch lay with the 5th Marines.[286]

     [286] _Ibid._

Time and chance were against the Brigade throughout 16 August and the
following morning. Banking on the use of 145 Army trucks, Craig and
Murray hoped to move quickly on the 16th, in order to have one infantry
battalion take over Observation Hill and the other two available for
the attack on the 17th. Unfortunately, only 43 trucks were actually
provided, with the result that time schedules were thrown off and
troops forced to march long distances the night before the attack.[287]

     [287] Brig SAR, basic rpt; Annex How; and Craig, 4 Mar 54.

At 1900, 16 August, Lieutenant Colonel Taplett’s 3d Battalion entrucked
at Miryang and rode to the 5th Marines CP about 3,000 yards behind the
front. Dismounting, 3/5 marched to Cloverleaf Hill and relieved the
34th Infantry on position. Control of the area south of the MSR passed
to Taplett at 0445, 17 August.[288]

     [288] Annex How.

The 2d Battalion proceeded on foot to its assembly area near Cloverleaf
Hill at 0130 on the 17th, and Lieutenant Colonel Roise’s men got little
sleep as they prepared for the jump-off a few hours later. Owing to the
shortage of trucks, the 1st Battalion arrived at the forward assembly
area several hours later than planned.[289]

     [289] _Ibid._

Overloaded trucks had shuttled Lieutenant Colonel Wood’s artillery
battalion forward on 16 August. Although registration fires were
completed by evening, the haste of the displacement and the doubtful
information at the front left much to be desired from the standpoint of

     [290] Annex item to Brig SAR; and Craig, 4 Mar 54.

While Obong-ni Ridge was known to be heavily defended, it was generally
thought that Hill 207--Brigade Objective Two--would be the hard nut to
crack. And the potential of Objective Three, towering Hill 311, was by
no means minimized in preattack estimates.[291] Later events proved
these assumptions to be the reverse of reality, but Marine planners
could do no better with the meager intelligence then available.

     [291] Stewart, 15 Jan 54; Murray, 15 Feb 54.

The regimental commander and General Craig concluded that a frontal
assault on Obong-ni Ridge with a column of battalions was the only
answer to the problems posed by the terrain and situation.

Since the Brigade commander had been specifically charged with the
security of the MSR, it was necessary that 3/5 remain in position on
Cloverleaf Hill until Objective One was taken. Taplett’s battalion had
a second responsibility in guarding the Brigade’s left (south) flank,
because Craig considered the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, too far out
to provide the required close-in protection.[292]

     [292] Craig, 4 Mar 54.

The Brigade commander, unaware of Murray’s arrangement with Colonel
Hill, could not have envisioned an approach to the enemy’s left through
the 9th RCT zone. He expected the Army unit to advance side by side
with the Brigade and give supporting fire as directed by General
Church. On the other hand, an envelopment of the enemy’s right seemed
out of the question. Using the southern approach to Obong-ni Ridge
would have created a gap of several thousands yards in the center of
the critical area, and the low, barren marshland to the left would have
impeded the movement of tanks and the employment of the 5th Marines’
integral supporting arms.[293]

     [293] _Ibid._

Lieutenant Colonel Murray’s reasoning closely paralleled that of his
superior. He did not visualize an envelopment from the north because
he expected a comparable effect from supporting fire by the 9th RCT.
An attempt to flank the North Korean right would have placed the
attacking unit far from the power consolidated along the MSR. The enemy
situation in the hills and swamps to the south was unknown, and the
Marine regimental commander did not relish the thought of one or two
of his battalions becoming isolated in that remote area. Then too, the
southern peaks on Obong-ni Ridge were considerably higher and more
rugged than those nearer the MSR. So it seemed logical to Murray to
retain depth and strength by striking frontally, quickly gaining a
foothold on the lower, northern reaches of the ridge, then exploiting
the penetration rapidly and vigorously.[294]

     [294] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

When asked about his tactical plan by General Craig, he stated that
the 5th Marines would attack in a column of battalions, 2/5 seizing
Objective One, 1/5 passing through to take Hill 207, and 3/5 completing
the reduction of the bulge by following with an assault on Objective

     [295] _Ibid._; and Annex How.

The Brigade commander voiced his concurrence, and the plan was put in

     [296] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

_Air and Artillery Preparation_

Obong-ni Ridge sprawled across the Marine front like some huge
prehistoric reptile. Its blunt head overlooked the MSR below Tugok, and
the elongated body stretched to the southeast more than 2,000 yards
before losing its identity in a complex of swamps and irregular hill
formations. The high, narrow spine was marked by a series of peaks,
beginning with Hill 102 at the neck, followed by 109, 117, 143, 147,
and 153. There were still other peaks to the southeast, but so small
and irregular as to be almost indistinguishable.

A procession of steep spurs, separated from one another by pronounced
gullies, ran down from the numbered peaks to the rice paddies far
below. At the top of a gully extending down from the saddle between
Hills 109 and 117 was a fault caused by erosion of the red clay and
shale. Gaping like an ugly wound, the raw blemish inspired one of the
ridge’s first names--“Red Slash Hill.” It was also dubbed “No Name
Ridge” by some of the newspaper correspondents.




Marine air and artillery were to pound the ridge on 17 August from 0725
to H-hour, 0800, after which MAG-33 would strafe the hill to cover the
advancing infantrymen.[297] Brigade artillery fired its preparation as
planned; but due either to the hasty registration of the previous day
or to error on the part of observers, the shelling was not effective
against the enemy on Objective One. It was so inacurrate, in fact, that
many officers of 2/5 thought there had been no preparation at all.[298]
To make matters worse, air attacks scheduled to begin at 0725 did not
materialize until 0740; and the 18 Corsairs assigned to the job had
time for only one strike before H-hour.[299]

     [297] Brig Op Plan 13-50.

     [298] Annexes How and Item to Brig SAR; Maj A. M. Zimmer,
           ltr to author, 6 May 54 (Zimmer, 6 May 54); and W. E.
           Sweeney, ltr to author, 22 May 54 (Sweeney, 22 May 54).

     [299] Annexes Easy and How to Brig SAR; and Brig Op Plan 13-50.

The two rifle companies of the 2d Battalion jumped off abreast at 0800.
On the right was Captain Zimmer’s Company D, emerging into the open
from the road cut between Hill 125 and Observation Hill.[300]

     [300] Co D Action is derived from: Annex How; Zimmer, 6 May
           54; and Capt M. J. Shinka, ltr to author, 7 Jun 54.

Zimmer ordered the 2d Platoon into reserve on the southern spur of Hill
125 and established his OP there. The 3d Platoon, commanded by Second
Lieutenant Michael J. Shinka, stepped from the road bend below the spur
into the rice paddy. Advancing behind this unit were the 1st Platoon
and a rocket section, the latter stopping in positions along the road
bend to protect the MSR.

Halfway across the rice paddy, Staff Sergeant T. Albert Crowson led his
1st Platoon to the right from behind the 3d, and both units approached
the base of the ridge on line. On Shinka’s left was the 2d Platoon
of Company E. An eerie silence pervaded the front while the assault
platoons crossed the wide open area unmolested.

Providing covering fire from its positions on Hill 125, Technical
Sergeant Sidney S. Dickerson’s 2d Platoon was hit by long-range
machinegun bursts from Hills 117 and 143 on Obong-ni. Company D’s first
two casualties were taken.

_Company D on Objective_

While General Craig watched from the road cut, and Lieutenant Colonel
Roise from his OP on Observation Hill, Company D’s assault platoons
began to ascend the objective. Gradually turning its back on the
village of Tugok, Crowson’s unit traced the draw on the right of the
spur leading to Hill 102, while Shinka led his 3d Platoon up the
gully on the left. The infantrymen were almost halfway up the slope
when a battalion of the NKPA 18th Regiment opened fire with dozens of

Despite the hail of lead, Shinka and Crowson edged their units upwards.
The fire from Hills 117 and 143 finally became so intense, however,
that the 3d Platoon was momentarily unable to emerge from its gully.
Almost simultaneously, enemy machineguns poured it into the 1st
Platoon, pinning that unit down and inflicting heavy casualties.

Again pushing upward despite mounting casualties, the 3d Platoon
attempted to assault Hill 109 about 1000. Communist automatic weapons
and a shower of hand grenades from the crest sent the thin skirmish
line of Marines reeling back down the barren slope.

As the 3d Platoon came under increasing machinegun and mortar fire from
Hills 117 and 143, Zimmer decided to commit his reserve. Realizing the
apparent futility of pressing the attack up the 3d Platoon’s gully, he
ordered Dickerson to attempt an assault through the draw in which the
1st Platoon was pinned down.

The 2d Platoon crossed the rice paddy, following the route used earlier
by the 3d. Reaching the draw in which the latter was regrouping after
its abortive assault, Dickerson led his men over Hill 102’s spur,
attempting to gain the avenue of approach being used by Crowson’s unit.
In the process he came under heavy automatic weapons fire from both
flanks--Hills 117 and 143 on the left, and the hillside north of Tugok
across the MSR.

At this time the company commander spotted North Korean positions above
the village and realized why his pinned-down 1st Platoon was taking
so many casualties. From their vantage point in the 9th RCT zone, the
Communists were firing on the flank and rear of the Marines along the
northwest approaches of Objective One.

Zimmer requested that 2/5 lay supporting fires on Tugok. When he got
no response, his forward observer, Lieutenant Wirth, transferred the
mission to 1/11. But the 105’s had scarcely begun firing when they were
cut off because the impact area was in the 9th RCT’s zone. The company
commander turned his own 60-mm. mortars on the enemy machineguns, only
to discover that the target lay beyond effective range.

Zimmer had more success with supporting arms when the enemy posed
another threat. Practically all the machinegun fire had been coming
from the north and south of Hills 102 and 109, while the enemy on these
summits relied on rifles and vast numbers of hand grenades. Then,
apparently shaken by the 3d Platoon’s tenacity, the Communists tried
to wheel a heavy machinegun into position on the saddle between the
northernmost peaks. Twice the mounted weapon was hauled up, and twice
pulled back under heavy Marine fire. By this time Zimmer had requested
battalion to use a 75-mm. recoilless rifle on the target. When the
persistent North Koreans wheeled the machinegun onto the saddle a third
time, one round from a Marine 75 obliterated gun and crew.

With only 15 men left in his platoon, Shinka prepared for a second
assault on Hill 109. Following an air strike at 1100, the Marines
stormed the high ground and overran enemy positions on the crest.
Only a squad of North Koreans could show similar determination on the
reverse slope, but the enemy’s small-scale counterattack was stopped
cold by Company D’s riflemen.

One of the few Marines who reached Obong-ni’s summit during 2/5’s
attack and lived to tell the story, Shinka later related the events
following his seizure of Hill 109:

  “Fire from Hill 143 was gaining in intensity, and they had
  observation over our position. Fire was also coming from the hill to
  our front [Hill 207]. I reported the situation to Captain Zimmer. A
  short time later phosphorus shells were exploding in Hill 143. This
  slowed the fire but it never did stop.

  “My resupply of ammo did not arrive. Running short of ammo and
  taking casualties, with the shallow enemy slit trenches for cover, I
  decided to fall back until some of the fire on my left flank could
  be silenced. I gave the word to withdraw and take all wounded and
  weapons. About three-quarters of the way down, I had the men set up
  where cover was available. I had six men who were able to fight.

  “I decided to go forward to find out if we left any of our wounded.
  As I crawled along our former position (on the crest of Hill 109), I
  came across a wounded Marine between two dead. As I grabbed him under
  the arms and pulled him from the foxhole, a bullet shattered my chin.
  Blood ran into my throat and I couldn’t breath. I tossed a grenade at
  a gook crawling up the slope, didn’t wait for it to explode, turned
  and reached under the Marine’s arms and dragged him as far as the
  military crest.

  “Another bullet hit my right arm, and the force spun me around. I
  rolled down the hill for a considerable distance before I could stop

  “I walked into my lines and had a battle dressing tied on my face
  and arm, I learned that the ammo was up and that a relief was
  contemplated; and then I walked back to 2/5’s aid station where they
  placed me on a jeep and took me to regimental aid.”

Lieutenant Shinka was later awarded the Bronze Star for this action.

_Attack of Company E_

At 0800 Lieutenant Sweeney had ordered his 1st and 2d Platoons of Easy
Company into the attack from their line of departure on the southern
portion of Observation Hill. Although the boundary separating the
zones of Companies E and D extended from the left of Hill 109 and down
through the red slash, Sweeney centered his advance on the village of
Obong-ni, directly below Hills 143 and 147.[301]

     [301] This section is derived from: Annex How; and Sweeney, 22
           May 54.

The leading platoons encountered nothing more than scattered shots
crossing the rice paddy. Before they could gain a foothold on the slope
of the objective, however, heavy fire from the village ripped into the
skirmish line.

In the center, Second Lieutenant Nickolas A. Arkadis led his 1st
Platoon through the hail of bullets and drove through the village to
the slopes of the ridge. On the right the 2d Platoon faltered and lost
its momentum. Then a number of North Korean machineguns poured in
flanking fire from Hills 147 and 153.

Sweeney, from his OP on the southern slope of Observation Hill, tried
to get an artillery mission on the two dominating peaks, but his
forward observer was unable to contact the rear. Nor could the 4.2
mortar observer be located.

Faced with the necessity of giving his assault elements some
protection, the company commander committed 2d Lieutenant Rodger E.
Eddy’s 3d Platoon, sending it to the spur on the left of the village.
Working its way up the nose which led to Hills 147 and 153, Eddy’s unit
was able to concentrate its fire on the enemy-held peaks and relieve
pressure on the other two platoons.

With enemy fire gradually increasing from new positions on the lower
slopes of the ridge to the south of the village, Sweeney ordered the
mortar section and all of his headquarters personnel into the valley to
block the southern approach through the rice paddy. Leaving this flank
guard in command of his executive officer, First Lieutenant Paul R.
Uffelman, the company commander rushed to the base of the objective.
Every single man in his unit was now committed.

Sweeney found the 2d Platoon leaderless and disorganized. The 1st had
fought its way well up the slope, aided by excellent supporting fire
from 2/5’s 81-mm. mortars. As that dogged group of Marines neared the
crest, it was stopped when a friendly artillery barrage fell short,
searing the skirmish line with white phosphorus.



Late morning found part of the company closing on the crest; but
shortly before 1130, the attackers were ordered to pull back in
preparation for an air strike by MAG-33. The planes came in quickly,
and some of Company E’s men, within 25 yards of the summit, were caught
in the strafing.

During the hammering by the Corsairs, the 3d Platoon slipped back 100
yards, leaving the critical left flank open to enemy-infested peaks 147
and 153. This time the hail of enfilade fire from Communist machineguns
caught the remnant of Easy Company rifleman exposed on the higher
slopes, and the Marine advance crumbled.

By noon on 17 August, the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines was wobbling. In
4 hours of fighting it had lost 23 dead and 119 wounded, practically
all of the casualties being taken by the 2 rifle companies. Every
officer in the Brigade could lament the lack of a third company in each
battalion; for just when 2/5’s assault needed the added punch of a
reserve unit, the outcome of battle had to rest on the failing strength
of six depleted rifle platoons. The ridge could not be taken.

This was unfortunate, since there was clear evidence that the NKPA 4th
Division was weakening. Although not apparent to the men of Companies D
and E, their repeated attempts to carry the ridge had torn gaps in the
enemy’s defenses. Bodies, weapons and wreckage were strewn along the
entire northern crest.[302]

     [302] LtGen E. A. Craig, ltr to author. 17 Mar 54 (Craig, 17
           Mar 54); Annex Easy to Brig SAR.

Marine air and artillery, having settled down after a fumbling start,
not only blasted the North Korean lines, but also wrought havoc
throughout the entire bridgehead. A large number of enemy mortars
and field pieces were knocked out, troop concentrations cut down or
scattered while trying to reinforce the front lines, and supply points
obliterated. There were definite signs of increasing confusion in the
enemy’s rear.[303]

     [303] _Ibid._

General Craig had become alarmed at the lack of activity in the 9th
RCT’s zone, resulting in the enemy being left free to pound the
Brigade’s right flank from the Tugok area. When he inquired concerning
the Army’s supposed failure to advance on schedule, he first learned of
the prebattle agreement reached by Murray and Hill. It was then that he
requested the village be taken under fire.

Deeply concerned himself over the situation on the right, particularly
since no supporting fire at all had been received from the 9th RCT,
Murray tried to contact Hill and request that he commit his regiment.
Unable to get the message through immediately, he was forced to leave
the matter dangling while directing the conduct of the battle.[304]

     [304] Murray, 15 Feb 54.

About 1300 the 5th Marines commander ordered the 1st Battalion to pass
through the 2d and seize Obong-ni Ridge. While Newton moved his unit
forward from its assembly area, MAG-33, 1/11 and Able Company tanks
laid down devastating fires on the blackened objective.


Obong-ni Ridge

_Company B to the Attack--Advance of Company A--Defeat of Enemy
Tanks--End of the First Day--Enemy Counterattack on Ridge--Obong-ni
Ridge Secured--Supporting Arms Clear the Bulge_

Shortly after 1330, while reporting his situation to the battalion
commander, Captain Zimmer was wounded by enemy machinegun fire which
ripped into his OP and caused several other casualties. Crawling to the
company CP on the reverse slope of the spur, he turned his command over
to Lieutenant Hanifin, who went forward. Zimmer then joined the steady
stream of casualties returning through the road cut to the battalion
aid station.[305]

     [305] This section is derived from: Brig SAR; Zimmer, 6 May
           54; and Maj F. I. Fenton, Jr., ltr to author, 8 May 54
           (Fenton, 8 May 54).

On the way, he met Captain Tobin leading Company B forward for the
attack, and paused long enough to warn him about the enemy guns in

Company D, its part in the battle having come to an end, prepared to
withdraw to positions on Observation Hill. The long list of wounded for
17 August included the names of Dickerson and Wirth.[306]

     [306] Lt Wirth was actually attached from 1/11.

Newton established his OP near that of Roise on Observation Hill.
The 1st Battalion CP and aid station were set up with those of 2/5
immediately behind the road cut, while farther back Major John W.
Russell placed 1/5’s Weapons Company in position.

_Company B to the Attack_

Tobin deployed his 3d Platoon and machineguns on the forward slopes
of Observation Hill to support Company B’s attack. The 1st and 2d
Platoons, the latter on the left, crossed the rice paddy and at 1500
passed through Company D on the slopes of the objective. Lieutenant
Schryver led his 1st Platoon toward Hill 102 along the same avenue used
by Crowson before him, while Lieutenant Taylor moved the 2d Platoon up
the gully leading to the saddle between 102 and 109.

On Observation Hill Captain Tobin noted the rapidity of the advance and
called his executive officer, Captain Fenton, preparatory to joining
the two assault units. While briefing his assistant at the road bend,
he was felled by a burst of machinegun fire. Fenton directed the
evacuation of the seriously wounded officer, then took command of the
company and joined the attackers on the ridge.

By this time both assault platoons had been pinned down, the 1st about
two-thirds of the way up the slope, the 2d only half that distance. The
latter was taking heavy casualties from Communist guns on Hills 109,
117, and 143, Taylor himself sustaining a mortal wound.

Fenton and his gunnery sergeant, Master Sergeant Edward A. Wright, were
stalled with the 2d Platoon. Since Schryver’s unit was also held up,
the company commander radioed Observation Hill and committed his 3d

Schryver realized that the main obstacle to his advance was the fire
hitting his flank from Tugok, and he requested a fire mission from
1/5’s Weapons Company. As 81-mm. mortar shells rained down on the
village, the 1st Platoon worked westward to the spur above the MSR and
outflanked the NKPA 18th Regiment. A quick assault carried Hill 102 at

With Schryver’s men driving down from the south and Company B’s
machineguns pouring fire on peaks 117 and 143, the 2d Platoon barreled
its way up the draw and seized Hill 109 at 1725.

_Advance of Company A_

Leaving the line of departure from the southern reaches of Observation
Hill, the 1st and 2d Platoons of Company A crossed the rice paddy while
Marine air and artillery savagely blasted the forward and reverse
slopes of the objective. The two assault units, each with a machinegun
section attached, passed through Company E at 1500 and scrambled up the
scarred hillside.[307]

     [307] This section is derived from: Annex How; Maj J. R.
           Stevens and Capt G. C. Fox, interv with author, 24 Feb
           54 (Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54); and 1st Lt Francis
           W. Muetzel, USMC Ret., interv with author, 5–6 Jan 54
           (Muetzel, 5–6 Jan 54).

Sweeney’s battle-worn company withdrew, carrying its dead and wounded
back to Observation Hill. The list of casualties included Lieutenant
Arkadis, wounded while spearheading the unit’s advance.

As Company A’s assault wave passed the halfway point of ascent, it met
only sniping fire from the crest and forward slopes of Obong-ni Ridge.
But any delusions that the enemy had quit were soon shattered when the
summit suddenly came alive with Communist machineguns.

Intense fire poured down on the attackers, and Marines pitched forward
to roll limply down the hillside. First Lieutenant Robert C. Sebilian,
leading the 1st Platoon up the draw between Hills 109 and 117, ignored
the storm of steel and urged his men forward. Standing fully exposed
while pointing out enemy positions to his NCO’s, the young officer
was struck by an explosive bullet which shattered his leg. Technical
Sergeant Orval F. McMullen took command and resolutely pressed the

The 1st Platoon reached the saddle above the draw just as Company B was
taking Hill 109. When McMullen tried to advance southward to 117, he
and his men were pinned down by a solid sheet of Communist fire.

On the left, North Korean guns had already cut Second Lieutenant Thomas
H. Johnston’s 2d Platoon in half. The pint-sized platoon leader proved
to be a giant in courage. He pushed doggedly up the draw between Hills
117 and 143, but casualties bled his skirmish line white and finally
brought it to a stop.

Marines watching the battle from Observation Hill saw Company A’s
attack bog down, despite the ceaseless pounding of Hills 117 and 143 by
Brigade supporting arms. Startled, the observers noted a lone figure
who bolted forward from the 2d Platoon’s draw and stubbornly scrambled
up the hill. It was Johnston attempting a single-handed assault on the
core of enemy resistance.

The astonished onlookers saw him reach the saddle north of Hill 143.
That he survived to this point was remarkable enough, yet he continued
to push forward. Then, at the base of the blazing peak, the little
figure sagged to the ground and lay motionless.

Technical Sergeant Frank J. Lawson immediately took over the platoon,
displaying outstanding leadership in his attempt to continue the
attack. Communist guns and grenades prevailed, however, and again the
line of infantrymen stalled. The 2d Platoon now consisted of a squad.

Captain Stevens radioed Lieutenant Colonel Newton from his OP and
requested permission to commit his 3d Platoon, then deployed on
Observation Hill as battalion reserve. The request granted, First
Lieutenant George C. Fox led the platoon forward into the rice paddy
just as a heavy mortar barrage fell in the area. One of Fox’s men was
killed outright.

Moving quickly to Obong-ni Ridge and ascending the slope, the 3d
Platoon was joined by Lawson and the remnants of Johnston’s outfit.
The skirmish line passed the critical halfway point, and again enemy
machineguns and grenades opened up.

Twice Fox attempted to develop an assault, failing both times to
get his platoon through the curtain of fire above the gully. While
Technical Sergeant Stanley G. Millar was reorganizing the skirmish
line, the platoon leader and Private First Class Benjamin C. Simpson of
the 2d Platoon made an attempt to reach Johnston.

The pair climbed to a point above the gully from which Simpson could
see the fallen officer. Assured now that Johnston was dead, and unable
to recover the body because of interlocking machinegun fire across the
area, Fox and the rifleman slid down the draw to the 3d Platoon lines.

By this time Stevens had moved to the base of Obong-ni Ridge, but he
had lost radio contact with the three units high on the hillside. He
could see the combined 2d and 3d Platoons; but the 1st was out of
sight, leaving the company commander unaware of a limited success that
could have been exploited.

_Defeat of Enemy Tanks_

Shortly after 2/5’s jump-off on 17 August, the M-26’s of the 3d
Platoon, Able Company Tanks, moved forward of the road cut and
supported the advance by 90-mm. and machinegun fire. The Marine armor,
led by Second Lieutenant Granville G. Sweet, concentrated on heavy
NKPA weapons along the crest of Objective One and knocked out at least
12 antitank guns and several automatic weapons. In return, 1 M-26
withstood 3 direct hits by enemy mortars, and the 4 vehicles combined
were struck by a total of 23 antitank projectiles. Neither tanks
nor crews were bothered appreciably, and only one man was slightly

     [308] This section is derived from: Annex How; Stevens and
           Fox, 24 Feb 54; Capt Almarion S. Bailey, interv with
           author, 17 Dec 53; T/Sgt C. R. Fullerton, ltr to Opns
           Research Office, Johns Hopkins University (cover ltr:
           OIC RS Cleveland, ser. 527–53, 31 Dec 53).

After the 1st Battalion had passed through 2/5, a section of tanks
moved forward on the road and blasted several North Korean positions
in Tugok. When Company B seized the northern tip of the objective,
Sweet led all his vehicles back to the tank CP, 1,000 yards east of
Observation Hill.

At 2000, while still refueling and replenishing ammunition stocks, the
tankmen learned that four enemy T-34’s were approaching the Brigade
lines on the MSR. The Marine armor was clanking toward the front within
a matter of seconds. About 300 yards from the road cut, the tankmen had
to jump from their vehicles to remove trucks blocking the MSR. Then,
approaching the narrow defile, Sweet ordered his 1st Section to load
with 90-mm. armor-piercing shells.

Company B, consolidating its positions on Hills 102 and 109, had first
noticed the four NKPA tanks and a column of infantry moving toward its
lines at 2000. Corsairs of MAG-33 screamed down immediately, destroying
the fourth armored vehicle and dispersing the Red riflemen. The first
three tanks came on alone, passed Finger and Obong-ni Ridges, and
approached the road bend at Hill 125.

Preparing a reception for the T-34’s were the 1st 75-mm. Recoilless Gun
Platoon on Observation Hill, and the rocket section of 1/5’s antitank
assault platoon on Hill 125. As the first enemy tank reached the bend,
it took a hit in the right track from a 3.5″ rocket. Shooting wildly,
the black hulk continued until its left track and front armor were
blasted by Second Lieutenant Paul R. Fields’ 75’s. The enemy vehicle
burst into flame as it wobbled around the curve and came face to face
with Technical Sergeant Cecil R. Fullerton’s M-26.

Still aimlessly firing its 85-mm. rifle and machinegun, the T-34 took
two quick hits from the Marine tank’s 90-mm. gun and exploded. One
North Korean got out of the burning vehicle but was cut down instantly
by rifle fire. He crawled beneath the blazing wreckage and died.

The second T-34 charged toward the bend, taking a 3.5 rocket hit from
Company A’s assault squad. Weaving crazily around the curve, with
its right track damaged, the cripple was struck in the gas tank by a
rocket from 1/5’s assault section before meeting the fury of Field’s
recoilless rifles. It lurched to a stop off the road behind the first
tank, and the 85-mm. gun fired across the valley into the blue yonder.

By this time a second M-26 had squeezed next to that of Fullerton on
the narrow firing line, and the two Marine tanks blasted the T-34
with six 90-mm. shells. Miraculously, the Communist vehicle kept on
shooting, although its fire was directionless. Marine armor poured in
seven more rounds, which ripped through the turret and exploded the

Before the kill, one Red tankman opened the turret hatch in an effort
to escape. A 2.36″ white phosphorus round, fired by a 1st Battalion
rocket man, struck the open lid and richocheted into the turret. The
enemy soldier was knocked back into the tank as the interior turned
into a furnace.

The third T-34 raced around the road bend to a stop behind the blazing
hulks of the first two. Marine tanks, recoilless rifles, and rockets
ripped into it with a thundering salvo. The enemy tank shuddered, then
erupted in a violent explosion and died.

Thus the Brigade shattered the myth of the T-34 in five flaming
minutes. Not only Corsairs and M-26’s, but also every antitank weapon
organic to Marine infantry had scored an assist in defeating the
Communist armor.

_End of the First Day_

Throughout 17 August the evacuation of dead and wounded had been
a major concern of every Marine, from fire team leaders up to the
Brigade commander. Men risked their lives dragging casualties off the
blazing slopes of Obong-ni Ridge to relative safety at the base. Litter
bearers plodded back and forth across the fire-swept rice paddy, and a
steady stream of wounded passed through the 1st and 2d Battalion aid
stations behind the road cut. Medical officers of the two battalions,
Lieutenants (jg) Bentley G. Nelson and Chester L. Klein, worked
tirelessly with their corpsmen.

In the rear, Lieutenant Commander Byron D. Casteel had to commandeer
every ambulance in the area--including 16 Army vehicles--to evacuate
wounded to and from his 5th Marines aid station. So acute was the
shortage of hospital corpsmen that the Brigade’s Malaria and Epidemic
Control Unit was used to reinforce the regimental medical staff. Even
so, the hospital tents were busy for a straight 18 hours.[309]

     [309] Annexes Love and Tare to Brig SAR.

The small number of deaths from wounds attested to the speed and
effectiveness of helicopter evacuations; for the pilots of VMO-6 were
ferrying the more serious casualties from the regimental aid station to
the Army’s 8076 Surgical Hospital at Miryang, some 20 miles away.

While medics toiled to save lives, the spiritual needs of casualties
were filled by the inspiring labor of the 5th Marines’ naval chaplains,
Lieutenant Commander Orlando Ingvolstad, Jr., Lieutenant William G.
Tennant, and Lieutenant (jg) Bernard L. Hickey. A familiar figure at
the front, frequently exposed to enemy fire as he administered to
fallen Marines, was Lieutenant Commander Otto E. Sporrer, beloved
chaplain of 1/11.

Two serious obstacles to the various missions behind the front were the
dud-infested area east of Observation Hill and a section of collapsed
MSR in the river bed occupied by the 5th Marines CP. First Lieutenant
Wayne E. Richards and his 2d Platoon, Able Company Engineers, spent
most of 17 August at the tedious task of removing unexploded missiles
from the forward assembly areas. The engineers’ 1st Platoon had to
tear down part of an unoccupied village for material to reinforce the
sinking road over which the jeep ambulances and supply trucks were

As the sun dropped behind Obong-ni Ridge, activity on the MSR continued
unabated, although the battle for Objective One had diminished to a
crackle of rifle fire and occasional machinegun bursts.

Company A had been unable to take Hills 117 and 143, still bristling
with enemy automatic weapons. At 2030, shortly after the smashing
victory over North Korean armor, Captain Stevens contacted his 1st
Platoon and learned that it was on the saddle between peaks 109 and
117. Although tied in on the right with Company B, the platoon was
separated by a 100-yard gap from Stevens’ other two platoons on the
slopes to the left.[310]

     [310] Annex How; and Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54.

The company commander called Fox, Lawson, and McMullen together near
the base of the ridge to consult them on continuing the attack. All
platoon leaders advised against it, since darkness was falling and
their units needed rest, food, water, and ammunition. Moreover, the
enemy’s bold tank attack had convinced the infantry leaders that a
larger counterstroke by the Communists was imminent, and they wanted
time for preparation.[311]

     [311] _Ibid._

Stevens informed Newton of the situation by radio, and the battalion
commander ordered him to discontinue the attack and tie in with
Fenton’s unit for the night. It was already dark when the 2d and 3d
Platoons shifted to the right from their positions below Hills 117 and

Company B had been busily consolidating its high ground since the
seizure of Hills 102 and 109 earlier in the evening. While Fenton’s
machineguns dueled with those of the Reds on 117, his 1st and 2d
Platoons deployed defensively on the forward slopes of the two captured
peaks, and the 3d went into reserve on the reverse slope.[312]

     [312] Annex How; and Fenton, 8 May 54.

Company A’s front extended left from the southern part of Hill
109--where the 1st Platoon was linked to Fenton’s unit--to the center
of the saddle toward 117. There the line bent down in an arch, formed
by the 2d Platoon, to the spur below the enemy-held peak. Able
Company’s left was actually perpendicular to the ridgeline, for Fox’s
3d Platoon was deployed up and down Hill 117’s spur.[313]

     [313] Brig SAR; and Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54.

To complete the Brigade front, Headquarters Company of 1/5 was to have
extended across the rice paddy from Observation Hill and tied in with
Company A’s left flank. Due to the casualties and workload of the
headquarters troops, this connection was never made, with the result
that Fox’s platoon remained dangling.[314]

     [314] _Ibid._

When General Craig returned to his CP near Yongsan on the night of
17 August, he was not unduly concerned about the tactical situation.
Although the Brigade had been thinned by heavy casualties, Murray’s
disposition in depth across a narrow front gave the Marines the
advantages of concentrated strength and firepower. If the enemy
attempted his usual night envelopment, both 2/5 and 3/5 could strike
back from their reserve positions on Observation and Cloverleaf

     [315] Craig, 17 Mar 54; and Col R. L. Murray, 20 Mar 54.

Across the MSR, the 9th RCT had launched its attack earlier in the
evening, clearing Tugok and seizing Finger Ridge against negligible
resistance. By darkness, the 19th and 34th Regiments were also sitting
on their objectives to the north, leaving the 4th NKPA Division clamped
in a vice. To the southeast, the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, was
holding its blocking position with no difficulty.[316]

     [316] 24th InfDiv Op Instr No. 26.

_Enemy Counterattack on Ridge_

Late on 17 August, when the attack on Obong-ni Ridge ceased, General
Craig sent a message to his subordinate commanders, directing them to
“... consolidate positions for night, account for location of each
individual and be prepared for counterattack; carefully prepare plan
of fires for night to include plans for fires within and in rear of
positions; wire in where possible in front line elements.”[317]

     [317] This section is derived from: Annex How; Stevens and
           Fox, 24 Feb 54; Muetzel, 5–6 Jan 54; and Fenton, 8 May

Long after nightfall, the weary Marines of both front line companies
were still digging foxholes and organizing their defenses. While this
work continued in spite of sporadic Communist fire from Hill 117, the
South Korean laborers were transporting supplies to the ridgeline or
carrying casualties back to the rear.

Captain Stevens established Company A’s command post at the top of the
draw leading to the saddle between Hills 109 and 117. His 60-mm. mortar
section set up its weapons in the gully itself.

Shortly before 2200, the telltale whine and rattle of mortar shells
cut through the darkness and the men of Able Company crouched in their
holes. The explosions were followed by a shower of fire as white
phosphorus enveloped the center of the company area. Almost every man
in the gully was painfully wounded, leaving Stevens without a mortar
section. The edge of the barrage hit the 3d Platoon’s area, wounding
Fox and several of his men. Two riflemen had to be evacuated, but the
platoon leader and the others applied first aid and remained in the

After this brief flurry the front settled down to an ominous quiet
interrupted only occasionally by North Korean guns to the south.

At 0230 on 18 August, the Marines of Company A heard enemy movement
on Hill 117. Suddenly there was a hail of bullets from Communist
machineguns on the peak, and hand grenades began to roll down into the
Marine positions. A North Korean platoon made a few bounds from the
high ground and landed almost literally on top of Stevens’ depleted 2d

Simultaneously, Company B’s position on Hill 109 was struck hard
by two platoons advancing up the draw to the west. Heedless of
illuminating shells fired by 1/5’s 81-mm. mortars, the enemy assaulted
methodically by alternately throwing small groups of grenadiers and
submachinegunners against Marine positions. The NKPA infantrymen were
covered by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire pouring down from
Hill 117.

An enemy squad emerged from the gully west of the saddle between peaks
102 and 109, attempting to divert strength from Fenton’s main defensive
effort to the south. Failing in this effort, the group fell back to
fire harassing shots.

Company A’s 2d Platoon slugged it out with three times its own numbers
for a full half hour. This stand was due largely to the courage and
leadership of Lawson, who stuck to his guns and refused evacuation,
though wounded three times. About 0300, with Marines on the right
devoting more attention to the heavier attack against Hill 109, the
exhausted survivors of the 2d Platoon were overrun and the Brigade line

For some unknown reason, enemy troops did not pour down the eastern
slopes after the breakthrough. Only one squad drove through, and it
split Company A in half by invading Stevens’ CP, directly behind the 2d
Platoon’s lines. The company commander and his headquarters were slowly
forced down the draw by the methodical grenade and submachinegun fire
from above.

The remainder of the North Korean platoon which had hit Company A
remained on the crest for a joint effort with the larger force striking
Hill 109. Stevens’ 1st Platoon, with its left flank now exposed on the
saddle, gradually fell back and curled around the southern face of 109.

Although Company B’s left front held firm against the two-platoon
assault, a few Reds slipped by the Marine foxholes and charged into
Fenton’s CP on Hill 109. Rocket gunners, mortarmen and clerks responded
to the challenge and quickly eliminated the attackers.

When Fenton became aware that the saddle south of Hill 109 had been
taken, he tightened his left flank by drawing it in to his 3d Platoon’s
reverse slope positions. This portion of his defense now took the shape
of a football, and successfully withstood pressure from the south.

By 0400 Stevens had temporarily lost control of Company A, although
the situation looked worse than it actually was. While the company
commander stabilized his center near the bottom of the draw, his
executive officer, First Lieutenant Fred F. Eubanks, Jr., made
single-handed forays up the gully. He was eventually aided in his
private war by the company’s machinegun officer, Second Lieutenant
Francis W. Muetzel. After the breakthrough, the latter had been wounded
and left for dead in his foxhole behind the 2d Platoon. Upon regaining
consciousness, he made his way down the draw, fighting it out with
enemy soldiers until he reached the Marine lines. Company A’s 3d
Platoon along the spur below Hill 117 enjoyed a seemingly illogical
immunity during the counterattack. Although isolated after the
penetration and deployed ideally from the enemy’s point of view, Fox’s
men had only occasional brushes with Red infantrymen who displayed a
remarkable lack of interest. After the platoon leader learned of the
situation on his right, he redeployed into an elongated perimeter which
included a few survivors of the 2d Platoon.



Lieutenant Colonel Newton, when notified of Company A’s withdrawal on
the left front, called down such a tremendous volume of artillery fire
on enemy approaches that 1/11 asked him to conserve a few shells for
the Brigade attack scheduled for 0700. The battalion commander replied
that the Brigade would be fighting to retake Objective One at 0700 if
his beleaguered companies did not get maximum supporting fire. While
the artillerymen continued to pound Obong-ni Ridge, Newton’s 81-mm.
mortars, strengthened by 2/5’s entire stock of ammunition, added to
the hot metal thrown at the enemy. It can only be conjectured why the
NKPA thrust against the Brigade lines never developed above the company
level, but Newton’s generosity with high explosives probably did not
encourage Communist aspirations.

_Obong-ni Ridge Secured_

By dawn of 18 August, the North Korean attackers had spent their
strength, leaving Company B in undisputed control of Hills 102 and 109.
As if in frustration, enemy machineguns on 117 spat angrily at the
Marines while the few surviving Red infantrymen withdrew to their lines.

Stevens prepared at first light to complete the unfinished business
of the previous day. Thanks to the heroism of his wounded gunnery
sergeant, Technical Sergeant Paul A. Hodge, the company commander had
regained contact with Fox before dawn and was able to prepare for an
attack. At 0700, after moving forward to the 3d Platoon’s area and
clearing with Newton, he ordered Fox to continue the attack and seize
Hill 117.

The platoon leader shouted to his men who arose as a body to begin the
ascent. When a lone Red machinegun broke the silence on 117, Stevens
spotted the weapon immediately and called for an air strike. Within
seconds a Marine fighter plane glided over the 3d Platoon and dropped a
500-pound bomb squarely on the enemy position. The response from Marine
air had been so prompt that every one of the attackers was knocked off
his feet and one of Fox’s automatic riflemen was killed.

While the echoes of the shattering explosion were still reverberating
through the morning haze, the thin skirmish line of Marines scrambled
up the slope and carried Hill 117. McMullen’s 1st Platoon drove in from
109, and the North Koreans fled in panic from the crest and reverse
slope positions. A full company of Reds raced down the western slope,
with Stevens’ riflemen and machinegunners firing from the crest to rip
into the enemy groups.

Capitalizing on a psychological advantage, Company A wheeled southward
to sweep the crest. Fox, using a skirmish line of only 20 men,
assaulted Hill 143 and took the peak against light resistance. A
quick call to Newton brought Stevens immediate permission for maximum

The 3d Platoon attacked Hill 147 vigorously, and though a few Red
soldiers fought to the bitter end, the majority again chose to flee.
The high ground was taken easily.

As the Marines moved over the crest of 147, they saw 150 enemy troops
in formation halfway down the western slope. The withdrawal commenced
in an orderly column of fours but the formation broke down quickly
under Marine fire and turned into a routed mob.

Fox turned his attention to Hill 153, Obong-ni’s crowning peak,
reasoning that it would be the logical place for the enemy’s last-ditch
stand. But it was the same old story when the 3d Platoon rushed to
the summit--abandoned weapons and equipment, a few scattered dead,
and blasted foxholes. There was a variation, however, when a supposed
clump of scrub pines arose from the reverse slope and rushed downward
in headlong flight. The Leathernecks were reminded of Birnham Wood in
Shakespeare’s _Macbeth_ as the camouflaged North Koreans disappeared
with the agility of mountain goats before Marine marksmen could score
more than a few hits.

While the 1st and 2d Platoons consolidated the central peaks, the 3d
combed the southern reaches below Hill 153 without incident. The 1st
Platoon, Able Company Engineers, patrolled the swampland south of the
ridge and secured Fox’s left flank with a minefield extending from the
southern crest to the valley below and eastward across the swamp. By
midafternoon all of Obong-ni Ridge belonged to the Brigade.

_Supporting Arms Clear the Bulge_

At midnight, 17 August, Lieutenant Colonel Murray had issued 3/5 a
warning order for continuing the attack on the 18th. Shortly after
dawn, Taplett and his two company commanders, Fegan and Bohn, visually
reconnoitered Hill 207--Objective Two--from vantage points north and
south of the MSR. Then, while the battalion commander set up his OP on
the northern part of Obong-ni Ridge, Companies G and H advanced to an
assembly area at the base of the Ridge.[318]

     [318] This section is derived from: Annexes Easy and How to
           Brig SAR; Taplett, 20 Apr 54; and Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr

Taplett called down heavy artillery, air, and mortar preparations on
Objective Two. Occasionally he shifted fires to blast large groups of
enemy fleeing to Hill 207 from Company A’s advance on Obong-ni Ridge.



Directly south of Finger Ridge, two large spurs form the northern
approach to Hill 207. Company H emerged into the open at 1000 from the
MSR between Obong-ni and Finger Ridges and attacked up the eastern
spur. Following Fegan’s unit was Company G, which veered to the right
and advanced up the western spur. The two infantry units slowly
ascended, separated by a deep gully, while the 3d Platoon of Able
Company tanks fired overhead and to the flanks from its positions in
the valley.

When Fegan’s unit was halfway up the eastern spur, the Marine tankmen
saw a platoon of North Koreans attempting to flank the attackers.
Machinegun and 90-mm. fire from the M-26’s killed or dispersed the Reds
at a range of 300 yards.

As Lieutenant Williams worked How Company’s 1st Platoon close enough
for an assault of the summit, several NKPA soldiers rose from their
holes and threw down hand grenades. The Marines hit the deck until
the missiles exploded, then bounded up and rushed the crest. Unnerved
by Williams’ perfect timing, most of the North Koreans fled southward
along the ridge. The remainder died in their positions during a brief
but bitter fight.

Moving up on Fegan’s right, Bohn’s men pushed over the western half
of the objective, finding only a handful of enemy who were quickly
destroyed. Company G’s assault completed the seizure of Objective Two
at 1237.

During the last minutes of the fight on Hill 207, the entire Naktong
Bulge suddenly swarmed with panic-stricken remnants of the 4th NKPA
Division. What had been a retreat of small forces now became a
widespread rout. Enemy troops poured down from Objective Two, some
scurrying up the slopes of Hill 311 across the MSR, others making for
the Naktong River.

Air, artillery, and mortars were now offered a profusion of targets by
an enemy who ordinarily did not reveal himself during daylight hours.
MAG-33 plastered the suspected CP of the 18th NKPA Regiment on a peak
south of 207, shattering communications equipment and weapons. Other
Marine planes alternated strafing runs with 1/11’s continual artillery
barrages along the river banks, where enemy troops were gathering by
the hundreds.

Victory turned into slaughter when the Brigade supporting arms
concentrated on the masses of Communists plunging into the river. All
artillery having been turned loose on the river crossings, Taplett used
his mortars, machineguns, and the supporting tanks to cut down targets
in the valley and on Hills 207 and 311. He requested permission to
attack the latter immediately, but was told to remain on Objective Two
while the Brigade gave all of its attention to the astounding situation
at the river.

At 1530 Companies G and H descended Hill 207. They were met at the
bottom by First Lieutenant Pomeroy’s 1st Platoon of tanks and escorted
across the valley to the base of Hill 311--Objective Three. In advance
of the infantrymen, MAG-33 scorched the high ground with napalm while
artillery, mortars, and 75-mm. recoilless rifles worked over the slopes.

Again Fegan and Bohn moved up companion spurs which converged on their
target, the 1,000-foot height. Progress was good until Company H came
within 200 yards of the crest. Then a volley of rifle fire from the
summit and forward slopes forced the Marines to the ground. Although
confronted by only a platoon, Fegan was at a disadvantage. Scrub
growth not only concealed the Communist riflemen, but also prevented
the use of Company H’s machineguns. Maneuver to the right or left was
impossible, since the steep draws on either side were well covered
by camouflaged enemy positions. Several Marines who tried to advance
frontally were cut down by rifle fire.

The enemy platoon’s defense was not based on the usual machinegun
fire and grenade throwing. With calm, business-like efficiency, NKPA
riflemen kept Company H pinned to the ground, finally wounding Fegan
himself as the officer attempted to regain the initiative. After his
evacuation, the attack bogged down completely.

At 1730, Company G had reached the southern portion of the long,
narrow crest by brushing aside light resistance. Turning its attention
northward, the company entered into a small-arms duel with the
Communist force opposing Fegan’s unit. When supporting arms failed to
dislodge the enemy rifleman, Bohn enveloped the troublesome pocket by
sending Cahill’s 1st Platoon around to the left (west).

The young platoon leader completed the maneuver just before nightfall
and overran the Reds on the northern half of the summit. But the enemy
on the forward slopes facing Company H suddenly showed fight. The 1st
Platoon, pushed rearward a short distance by the surprise resistance,
slugged it out at close quarters.

With darkness closing in and the platoon so far beyond Marines lines,
Bohn ordered it to withdraw. Cahill, wounded himself, reported on his
return that the platoon had suffered 10 casualties, including 2 killed.



Taplett ordered the two companies to deploy defensively in their
present positions. Thus, during the quiet night of 18–19 August,
Companies G and H faced the enemy pocket at right angles to each other.

Earlier on the 18th Lieutenant (jg) Robert J. Harvey, 3d Battalion
surgeon, had the unpleasant task of examining an abandoned Army aid
station under the bridge near the tip of Finger Ridge. The improvised
hospital had been overrun during Army reverses a week before; and
about 30 dead found by the Marines bore mute evidence of the enemy’s
brutality in dealing with captured wounded and medical personnel.

At 0610 on the morning of 19 August, 3/5’s 81-mm. mortars prepared the
way for the final drive on Objective Three. Following close in the wake
of the mortar bursts, Second Lieutenant Thomas P. Lennon led Company H
through evacuated enemy positions. He reached the northern part of Hill
311 without meeting any opposition.

This last Brigade objective was secured at 0645, leaving 1/5 atop
Obong-ni Ridge, 2/5 on Hill 207 to which it had displaced on the 18th,
and 3/5 in possession of the dominating height of the Naktong Bulge.
The reduction of the enemy bridgehead cost the Marines 66 dead, 1
missing in action, and 278 wounded.


Second Naktong

_The Famous Bean Patch--Planning for Inchon Landing--Return to the
Naktong Bulge--All-Out NKPA Offensive--The Marines Jump Off--Progress
of Brigade Attack--Assault on Hill 117_

It was all over but the mopping-up operations. Battalion areas were
carefully patrolled on 19 August to clear them of NKPA snipers or
stragglers. During this process a patrol ranging along the Naktong
river discovered three enemy 122-mm. howitzers hidden in a strip of
woods on a hill. The pieces had not been touched by Marine air or
artillery. What was more surprising, they were emplaced in a column to
fire over one another--something new and wonderful that the Marines had
never seen before.[319] General Craig concluded that these howitzers
had fired the shells which landed on Marine positions to the bitter end.

     [319] This section is derived from: LtGen Edward A. Craig
           (Ret), ltr to author, 23 May 54 (Craig, 23 May 54).

The next day the Brigade commander took a helicopter to 24th Division
Headquarters to confer with General Church. There he was informed that
the Marines had been detached from 24th Division operational control
to Eighth Army reserve. Church complimented the Brigade warmly on its
performance, and letters of commendation were later received both from
him and CG EUSAK.

At 1300 on the 21st Craig arrived by helicopter at a new Brigade
bivouac area near Masan that was to be recorded in capital letters
as the Bean Patch. It was just that--a bean patch large enough to
accommodate a brigade. But from this historic spot the Marines were
to fight their way around the peninsula during the next 5 months and
complete the circuit to their identical starting point.

General Craig arrived along with the Brigade advance elements. After
setting up his CP, he reported to General Kean, of the 25th Division,
who was in control of the bivouac area. Kean divulged that the
situation in his sector had deteriorated. The enemy had made several
penetrations, and Brigade assistance might be required in the event of
further breakthroughs. As it was, Kean had been authorized by Eighth
Army to employ Brigade artillery along with his own; and 1/11 proceeded
the next day to the familiar Chindong-ni area in support of 25th
Division Infantry.

Orders were received from Eighth Army for the Brigade infantry to be
prepared to counterattack in the 25th Division sector as part of its
reserve mission. General Craig and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart made a
helicopter reconnaissance of the areas of greatest activity, but events
proved that the Marine rifle battalions were not needed.

_The Famous Bean Patch_

Unit training, including the checking and firing of all weapons, was
conducted at the Bean Patch; and Marine patrols were sent out to the
rear of the 25th Division to watch for infiltrating forces. Patrols in
rugged country were fed hot meals delivered in special containers by
the versatile helicopters of VMO-6.

Truckloads of supplies rolled in daily from Pusan, including some of
the equipment left behind at the docks when the Brigade landed. But no
tentage was available, and the exhausting marches of combat had forced
the men to discard everything except fighting tools. In the lack of
shelter tents, therefore, the Marines lived in the open at the Bean

General Craig conferred on 23 August with General Kean and a
distinguished visitor, General J. Lawton Collins, Chief of Staff, USA.
Collins was keenly interested in Marine methods of knocking out NKPA
tanks and requested Craig to prepare a memorandum on the subject.

That evening the entire Brigade attended an outdoor entertainment
given on an improvised stage by South Korean girls, who sang and
played native instruments which sounded out of tune to Western ears.
Translations of the songs were forthcoming, since some of the girls
were English-speaking refugees from Seoul University. Afterwards,
General Craig addressed the Brigade, paying a high tribute to his
Marines for their conduct in battle. NKPA prisoners, he said, had told
G-2 interviewers that they earnestly wished to steer clear of “the
Americans in yellow leggings.”

Letters from home and beer from Pusan[320] contributed to good Marine
morale, even though no liberty was granted to nearby towns. On the 29th
an honor guard of 87 Marines received Purple Heart medals at a ceremony
attended by President Syngman Rhee, who arrived in a helicopter
provided by VMO-6. General Craig had paid an official call on him the
day before at Chinhae, being most courteously received. And after the
presentation of medals, President Rhee gave a talk to the Marines.

     [320] The offer of Stateside breweries to send free beer to
           Korea precipitated a controversy in civilian circles.
           Opponents protested on the grounds that some of the
           troops were as young as 18. Proponents argued that if
           a man was old enough to fight, he was mature enough to
           drink a can of beer without harm. The issue was never
           definitely settled, though it resulted in a temporary

He confided to Craig afterwards that he would like to confer some sort
of an award on every man in the Brigade for heroic service in Korea.
This was undoubtedly the inception of the Korean Presidential Unit
Citation which the Brigade later received from the ROK executive.

_Planning for Inchon Landing_

General Craig, it may be recalled, had insisted that replacements be
sent to the Brigade. Thanks to his determination, a long column of
trucks arrived at the Bean Patch with more than 800 Marines just landed
at Pusan.

Some of the 5th Marines outfits had been so thinned by combat that
an appeal was made for volunteers from supporting units to serve
temporarily in rifle companies, with the privilege of returning to
their former status after the emergency. The hearty response was a
tribute to Marine morale as well as Marine basic training which made
every man a potential rifleman. Engineers, shore party troops and
headquarters personnel came forward in such numbers that some could not
be accepted after the arrival of replacements eased the situation.

No attempt was made at the Bean Patch to form the newcomers into third
rifle companies. They were simply used to build up the strength of the
present companies and given intensive unit training.

Rumors of an impending Marine amphibious operation had already filtered
down to every PFC, and there were wild speculations as to when and
where. At least, it could hardly be denied that the Brigade would soon
be taking another voyage; for convoys of tracks left the Bean Patch
every day laden with heavy supplies and equipment to be unloaded at

     [321] Brig SAR.

This was once that lower-echelon “scuttlebutt” came close to the mark.
In fact, planning for the Inchon landing had already gone so far that
General Craig sent his chief of staff, G-3 and G-4 to Tokyo to confer
with staff officers of the 1st Marine Division about the projected

     [322] Craig, 23 May 54.

Major General Oliver P. Smith, CG of the 1st Marine Division, had
relieved General Erskine early in July when the latter was sent on a
secret State Department mission. As the ADC of the Division during the
fight for Peleliu in 1944, Smith knew how tough an amphibious operation
can become when it encounters unexpected obstacles. He was determined
to keep his Division intact with its three infantry regiments, the 1st,
5th, and 7th Marines. And after his arrival in Japan with the advance
party, he returned a firm negative to proposals that the 5th Marines
and other Brigade troops remain with the Eighth Army.

It would be putting the case mildly to say that this was the eleventh
hour, The 1st Marine Division (less the 7th Marines) had landed at
Kobe from 28 August to 3 September. And though a typhoon caused a good
deal of damage, little time was lost at the gigantic task of unloading
mixed-type shipping and combat-loading it into assault-type shipping.
The LST’s had to be ready to sail for the target area by 10 September,
and the transports by the 12th.

The Marines at the Bean Patch would have been flattered to know that
they were the objects of an official tug of war at Tokyo. It was
maintained by the EUSAK command and staff that Army morale would be
hurt by taking the Brigade away from the Pusan Perimeter at a critical
moment. On the other hand, General Smith contended that he needed the
Brigade all the more urgently because the 7th Marines,[323] sailing
belatedly from San Diego, would not be able to reach Inchon until a
week after the proposed D-day of 15 September 1950.

     [323] Less a battalion making the voyage from the
           Mediterranean, where it had been afloat with the Sixth

The Marine general was informed that the decision would depend upon
the tactical situation in Korea. On 30 August he sent a dispatch
to X Corps--the new Army tactical organization activated by CINCFE
especially for the Inchon operation--requesting that the Brigade be
released from its Army commitments on 1 September. In response,
General MacArthur issued an order restoring the unit to the 1st Marine
Division on the 4th.[324]

     [324] MCBS, I-II-B-4-6.

At this point the enemy rudely interrupted by launching an all-out
offensive against the Pusan Perimeter on 1 September, and General
MacArthur’s order was rescinded. Even though most of the Brigade’s
heavy equipment was at the Pusan docks, waiting for shipping, GHQFEC
decided that General Craig’s troops should again be used as “firemen”
to extinguish an NKPA conflagration.

Colonel Edward H. Forney, the Marine officer recently named deputy
chief of staff of X Corps, suggested to General Smith the possibility
of substituting an Army unit, the 32d Infantry of the 7th Infantry
Division, for the 5th Marines. Smith demurred on the grounds that these
troops had not been trained for amphibious warfare.

On 3 September, with D-day less than 2 weeks away, a conference was
held in Tokyo to decide the question once and for all. X Corps was
represented by General Wright, the G-3, and General Edward S. Almond,
the new commanding general and former chief of staff, GHQFEC. COMNAVFE
(Admiral Joy), COMSEVENTHFLT (Admiral Struble) and COMPHIBGRUONE
(Admiral Doyle) were the Navy officers present. General Almond
opened the discussion by reiterating that the 32d Infantry would be
substituted for the 5th Marines. In reply, General Smith mentioned
the complications of an amphibious assault landing and urged that the
operations plan be amended if the untrained Army regiment were to be

Another solution, offered by Admiral Struble, was baited with
reciprocal concessions. He suggested that the Brigade be employed
briefly for counterattacks in the Pusan Perimeter, but that meanwhile
the 32d or some other 7th Infantry Division regiment be moved from
Japan to Korea. There it would become a floating reserve for EUSAK,
thus releasing the Brigade units to take their former places in the 1st
Marine Division for the Inchon operation. This compromise was finally
accepted, and orders were issued for the Brigade to be withdrawn from
Eighth Army control at midnight on 5 September.

The first intimations to reach the troops at the Bean Patch were
received on the 1st, at 0810, when the Brigade was alerted for a
possible move by CG EUSAK to an unknown destination. At 1109 came
the warning order for a road lift to the Miryang assembly area. The
confirmation followed at 1215, with all units being scheduled to move
out at 1330.[325]

     [325] Brig SAR.

The Marines had another date with destiny.

_Return to the Naktong Bulge_

General Craig set up his CP in the Miryang area at 1800 on 1 September.
Billeting officers, having gone ahead by helicopter, were prepared
to take care of Brigade units as they arrived. Among them was the
1st Battalion of the 11th Marines, which had been returned from 25th
Division control to the Brigade.

The news from the front was depressing. Heavy attacks had been received
all day along the 2d and 25th Infantry Division fronts. An enemy
penetration of 4,000 yards was made at the expense of the 2d Division,
with the old familiar Naktong Bulge being occupied again by Red Koreans
who had gained a firm foothold on the east bank of the river.

This meant that General Craig’s men, now under operational control of
the 2d Division, were likely to revisit some scarred parcels of Korean
real estate they had hoped never to see again. Major General Lawrence
B. Keiser, commanding the 2d Division, informed the Brigade commander
that several of his companies had been cut off by enemy advances which
pushed his lines back almost to Yongsan.[326] There was a good deal of
NKPA infiltration, he added, in his rear.

     [326] Craig, 23 May 54.

It had been a full day, and at 2230 that night Craig received orders
from the Eighth Army to move the Brigade at first light to a reserve
position south of Yongsan and in the rear of the 9th Infantry of the 2d

At 0630, on 2 September, the 2d Battalion of the 5th Marines arrived
at its assigned covering position on the road leading to Yongsan. The
remainder of the Brigade moved out to assembly positions during the

     [327] Brig SAR.

Craig proceeded by helicopter at 0830 to the 2d Infantry Division
headquarters for a conference with Keiser to plan the move of the
Brigade into his lines. Afterwards, the Marine general devoted the rest
of the morning to reconnaissance of the terrain by helicopter. On the
way he stopped at Lieutenant Colonel Murray’s CP and learned that the
5th Marines units were well established along the road leading to the

The planning conference for the projected counterattack began at 1430
in the 2d Infantry Division CP. General Craig was accompanied by his
assistant G-3, Major Frank R. Stewart, Jr., since his regular G-3
had not yet returned from the 1st Marine Division briefing at Tokyo.
General Keiser and his staff officers emphasized the gravity of the
situation in the 2d Division sector. They wanted General Craig to
counterattack that very afternoon on a widely extended front, but he
objected on both counts.

As for the time element, he pointed out that the hour was late. Some of
his units were not even in their assembly positions, and others were
still detraining or in trucks. Smoke and haze had resulted in such low
visibility that planes could not operate effectively. Finally, Craig’s
TACRON had not arrived and he was out of touch with the aircraft
carriers. He did not wish to commit his force piecemeal without air
support; and in the end the Army staff officers agreed with him on the
advisability of the Marines attacking in the morning.[328]

     [328] Craig, 23 May 54.

Next came a discussion as to the nature of the Marine counterattack.
Craig cited the risks and disadvantages of advancing on too wide a
front. He suggested that the 2d Infantry Division specify the Marine
objectives and allow him to attack in such formations as he deemed
most effective. Keiser and his staff assented, and the Marine officers
hurried back to the Brigade CP.

_All-Out NKPA Offensive_

Glancing at the big picture, there could be no doubt that the enemy was
making an all-out effort to smash through the Pusan Perimeter. Late
in August it became evident that he was massing troops. The blow fell
in the early morning hours of 1 September. The direction of the main
attack remained in doubt until that afternoon, when it was revealed as
a bid for a breakthrough in the Naktong Bulge which would expose the
Pusan-Taegu lifeline.

Despite heavy casualties of the past 2 months, NKPA overall strength
was estimated as high as 133,000 men as the result of filling the
ranks with hastily trained replacements. Thirteen infantry regiments,
3 security regiments and the remnants of the original 3 armored
regiments were believed to be participating in the offensive.[329]

     [329] Maj H. D. Stewart, “Rise and Fall of an Army,” _Military
           Review_, 30, no. 11:32–35 (Feb 51).

For 2 months the Eighth Army had been purchasing time with space,
and the enemy realized that time was now fighting on the side of the
United Nations. The first ground force unit sent by a member nation to
reinforce United States and ROK troops was the British 27th Infantry
Brigade, which landed and took over a sector early in September. But
the enemy knew that other UN contingents had been promised.

The reorganized ROK army, moreover, had recovered from its early
disasters and was giving a good account of itself in the northern
sectors of the Pusan Perimeter. There the 1st, 3d, 6th, 8th, and
Capital Divisions had not only maintained their tactical integrity
throughout August but even delivered several counterattacks.[330]

     [330] U. S. Dept of State, “Fifth Report to the Security
           Council, October 5, 1950,” _United Nations Action in
           Korea under Unified Command_ (Washington: GPO, 1950).

The NKPA numerical superiority, in short, could not last much longer.
It was now or never if the invaders hoped to batter their way to Pusan,
and Pyongyang staked everything on a final offensive.

The brunt fell upon the United States 2d Infantry Division. Troops from
four enemy divisions were identified on this sensitive front, well
supported by armor and artillery. Within a few hours pressure became so
great that EUSAK decided to send the Marine mobile reserve to the aid
of the Army troops.

Not only was the terrain familiar to Marines who had fought their way
up Obong-ni Ridge, but they were renewing acquaintance with the same
enemy outfit. For G-2 reports confirmed that the NKPA 4th Infantry
Division was back again at the old stand--or at least such survivors as
had emerged with a whole skin from their defeat of 17–18 August in this

Perhaps because of the large numbers of new recruits filling the ranks,
the retreaded outfit followed in reserve just behind the NKPA 9th
Infantry Division as it crossed the Naktong and drove eastward. The 9th
was one of the enemy units hastily raised from constabulary forces for
purposes of the invasion. Assigned to guard duty at Seoul throughout
July and half of August, the troops devoted themselves wholeheartedly
to the pleasant mission of forcing South Koreans to “volunteer” as
soldiers or laborers against their own people. Thus the division could
be considered a fresh and rested outfit, though deficient in training
and combat discipline as compared to the older NKPA units.

Troops from the enemy’s 2d and 10th Divisions were also identified on
the front of the United States 2d Infantry Division, but the Marines
had no contacts with these units.[331]

     [331] _Ibid._

_The Marines Jump Off_

General Keiser’s operational directive for the 3 September
counterattack was half a page in length. As in the case of the first
Naktong counterstroke, the Marine brigade was placed opposite the
center of the Bulge, with the mission of driving westward “to restore
former 9th Infantry positions.” This time, however, Craig’s force was
scheduled to jump off 4 miles east of Observation Hill; for the North
Koreans were knocking at the gates of Yongsan.

The Brigade’s line of departure was a long north-south ridgeline about
a thousand yards west of Yongsan and directly south of Myong-ni. This
high ground was occupied on 2 September by the 9th Infantry. When the
Marines passed through the next morning, the Army unit was to swing
northward to attack on the Brigade right. Still farther north, the
23d Infantry had orders to hold positions on the right of the 9th and
maintain contact with friendly units by patrolling.[332]

     [332] 2d InfDiv Op Dir, 2 Sep 50; and Brig Op Order 19-50.

On the Brigade’s left, a special task force of the Army’s 72d Tank
Battalion and 2d Engineer Battalion was to attack southward from Il-li
to the Naktong River line below the Bulge. There it would link with the
25th Division’s right.

The fact that the Communists upset the plan by smashing through the 9th
Infantry lines on the night of 2–3 September was both bad and good news
from the standpoint of the Marines. It was bad because an overextended
friendly unit had been shattered by many times its numbers and forced
into a disorganized withdrawal. It was good because the enemy was
plowing ahead at full steam, obviously unaware that he was shortly due
for a blow that would find him off balance and send him reeling.

Low hanging clouds and smoke made for poor visibility on the morning
of the 3d when General Craig set out on his customary prebattle
reconnaissance by helicopter. He was accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel
Stewart, who had just returned from the 1st Marine Division planning
conferences at Tokyo.

“We couldn’t see anything but an occasional mountain peak,” Craig
recalled at a later date. “After flying around for some time, we had
almost decided to return to the CP and complete the tour by jeep. Then
Colonel Stewart noticed a hole in the clouds, and we dropped to an
altitude where we had a good view of the front.”[333]

     [333] Craig, 23 May 54.

What Craig and Stewart saw was a long column of Marines fighting their
way toward the line of departure.

Lieutenant Colonel Murray’s plan of attack for the 5th Marines called
for the 1st and 2d Battalions to advance westward astride the Yongsan
road, with 2/5 on the right. Taplett’s 3d Battalion would initially be
in reserve, blocking the southern approaches to Yongsan.[334]

     [334] Annex How.

At 0450, 3 September, 2/5 detrucked about 800 yards from Yongsan
and marched forward in a route column. Moving into the town a short
time later, the Marines received small arms fire from snipers hidden
in buildings, ditches and culverts. Most of them were liquidated as
the column pushed through to the road junction at the western end of
Yongsan by 0630.[335]

     [335] _Ibid._

At this fork a secondary route branches from the main road through the
large village of Myong-ni, about 2,000 yards northwest of Yongsan.

Although still 1,000 yards from the designated line of departure, the
2d Battalion came under moderate fire from its right front. Moreover,
dawn had brought indications of considerable activity and confusion
ahead of the Marines. Ignoring the fire, Roise went forward about 500
yards to a low hill lying athwart the MSR. There he was jolted by the
discovery that the 9th Infantry’s lines had collapsed.[336]

     [336] _Ibid._

On the right of the road there was no friendly situation worthy of the
name. To the left of the MSR, an Army tank unit was parked behind the
little hill which Roise had reached, and to the front were 4 of its
tanks--2 destroyed and 2 abandoned. Included in the wreckage ahead were
2 burned-out NKPA T-34’s.

Three hundred yards to the west, on the high ground south of the main
road, Army troops were retreating from 1/5’s line of departure. The
soldiers had buckled under an onslaught by the NKPA 9th Division,
which had launched an all-out attack at first light.[337]

     [337] _Ibid._

Having observed evidence of the confusing situation from their
helicopter, Craig and Stewart landed some distance behind Yongsan and
proceeded forward by jeep and foot. The Brigade commander located 1/5’s
CP south of Yongsan and discovered that the battalion was slightly out
of position. During 2/5’s delay in moving through the city, Murray had
ordered Newton to swing westward and align his unit for the attack as
best he could. Darkness, coupled with confusion caused by the Army’s
withdrawal and 2/5’s fight, had caused the 1st Battalion to move south
of Chukchon-ni instead of Yongsan, as planned. Craig instructed 1/5’s
commander to make a 500-yard correction northward during the actual

     [338] Craig, 23 May 54 (with comments by LtCol M. R. Olson, 17
           Jun 54).

Roise was meanwhile taking the situation in hand north of the MSR. At
0645 he called Marine tanks forward to cover the withdrawal of 9th
Infantry troops from the high ridge in 1/5’s zone.

Second Lieutenant Robert M. Winter led his platoon of M-26’s into hull
defilade next to 2/5’s OP on the low hill and unleashed overhead fire
in support of the Army troops. The pursuit by the North Koreans began
to lag.

_Progress of Brigade Attack_

Despite enemy artillery fire in the 2d Battalion zone, Companies
D and E jumped off from the road junction at 0715 to clear the
Yongsan-Myong-ni road and secure the 5th Marines’ right flank.[339]

     [339] This section is derived from: Brig SAR; Muetzel, 5–6
           Jan 50 (with comments by Col G. R. Newton, Maj J. R.
           Stevens, and Capt G. C. Fox); and Craig, 23 May 54.

While this move was in progress, the last of the 9th Infantry troops
vacated 1/5’s line of departure to the left front. Roise immediately
smothered that ridgeline with fire from Marine tanks, artillery, air,
mortars, and machineguns.

Despite this blanket of steel, enemy guns from the high ground were
able to fire across the MSR at Company E as it cleared a series of
hills below Myong-ni. These hills had been designated 2/5’s line of
departure the previous day, but now were considered part of the first

At 0800, when Captain Samuel Jaskilka reported that Easy Company had
completed its mission, Roise ordered Company D to push through Myong-ni
and take the hill just northwest of that village.


3–5 SEPTEMBER 1950



By this time the entire Brigade was shifting into high gear. Winter’s
tanks on the little hill straddling the MSR were joined by the 1st
Platoon, Able Company Engineers. The Army armored unit behind the
southern portion of the hill suddenly went into hull defilade and added
its firepower to that of the Marine M-26’s. Craig, Snedeker and Stewart
crawled to the crest of the hill on the right side of the MSR and
studied the front from positions between the Marine tanks and Roise’s

The NKPA 9th Division had been stopped in its tracks when the Brigade’s
supporting arms connected. Then the Reds concentrated their fire on the
little hill where Craig’s OP was located. Lieutenant Winter was shot
through the neck and one of his men wounded while aiding him. Before
being evacuated, the painfully wounded tank officer offered General
Craig a bottle of whiskey left in his M-26.

Chaplains Sporrer and Hickey were taken under machinegun fire as they
walked forward on the MSR toward the hill. “It’s lucky they’re poor
shots,” said Sporrer as a second and third burst cracked over his head.
The two chaplains arrived just in time to administer to the wounded
being carried off the hill by the engineers.

At 0855, the 1st Battalion jumped off from below Chukchon-ni. The
attack having been launched too far to the south, Companies A and B had
to veer northwest as they advanced toward the enemy-held ridge 1,000
yards away. Fenton’s unit was on the right, gradually closing on the
MSR as it moved forward.

To the south, Stevens deployed his 1st, 2d, and 3d Platoons from right
to left in that order, the latter being slightly withheld to protect
the open left flank.

As the men of 1/5 waded into the knee-deep muck of the rice paddy, they
came under long-range small-arms fire from their objective. Newton
countered immediately by plastering the ridge with artillery and mortar
fire. The advance continued and only a few casualties were taken by
the time the companies reached a drainage ditch midway across the rice
paddy. Here the long skirmish line paused to check its direction and
place the wounded on dikes where they would be seen by corpsmen.

During the advance from the drainage ditch to the base of the ridge,
1/5’s commander frequently called on air, artillery and mortars to
blast enemy automatic weapons on the crest and forward slopes of the
objective. Company A had the added support of an Army tank destroyer
which gave overhead fire from the hill south of Chukchon-ni. On one
occasion Marine 75’s joined with the Army weapon to silence Communist
guns in a small village at the base of the ridge.

Throughout the rice-paddy crossing, the Marines were constantly meeting
Army stragglers, some of whom had been isolated in enemy territory for
as long as three days. Most of the soldiers were wounded, and all were
weaponless and near exhaustion.

At 1100 Fenton and Stevens radioed Newton that they were ready for the
assault, and the battalion commander immediately showered the objective
with 81-mm. mortar fire to smother North Korean machineguns.

Beyond the edge of the rice paddy in Company A’s zone, a sharp step led
to the gentle incline at the base of the ridge. After a few yards, the
gradual slope gave way to a steep rise which shot up abruptly to the
crest of the high hill.

Lieutenant Muetzel’s 2d Platoon held up at the step, using its
protection against enemy fire while 1/5’s mortar barrage was falling.
During the pause Technical Sergeant McMullen brought the 1st Platoon
into position on Muetzel’s right and Lieutenant Fox aligned his 3d
Platoon on the left.

As soon as the supporting fire lifted, Muetzel jumped to his feet and
shouted the command to assault. Every man in Company A’s skirmish
line responded by scrambling up the hillside. The Marines made such a
fearful racket that a whole company of alarmed North Koreans suddenly
jumped up from concealed foxholes on the forward slope and fled toward
the summit.

The panic-stricken Reds were easy targets for Company A’s riflemen and
BAR men. Halting on the gentle incline, the Marines carefully took aim
and killed most of the enemy soldiers. When the Communist survivors
disappeared over the crest, Company A again surged upward and within
minutes carried the summit.

_Assault on Hill 117_

The 1st Battalion secured its initial objective about noon on 3
September. Company B’s next target was a continuation of the ridge
running parallel to the MSR for 1,000 yards and topped by 4 conspicuous
peaks. Able Company’s second objective was a hill stretching across its
front beyond a 200-yard valley. This hill was connected to Stevens’
first objective by a narrow razorback ridge on the right which offered
a poor route of approach.[340]

     [340] _Ibid._

The two companies paused on their newly won positions to reorganize,
evacuate wounded, and wait for a resupply of ammunition. There they
came under heavy fire from the reverse slopes of their first objective
and the high ground to the west. Several casualties were taken before
Corsairs, requested by Newton, appeared for an air strike. As the
Marine fighter planes unloaded their ordnance, large groups of enemy
broke. Most of the Reds fled down the northern slopes, crossed the MSR
and ascended Hill 117 in 2/5’s zone.

Newton reacted to reports of the rout by throwing heavy artillery fire
across the enemy’s avenues of retreat. The hillsides and road were soon
littered with bodies and equipment.

While 1/5’s attack on its first objective was in progress, Company
D had secured the 5th Marines’ right flank by clearing Myong-ni of
moderate resistance and seizing the hill to the northwest of the large
village. The new company commander, First Lieutenant H. J. Smith,
reported to Roise that he was receiving considerable machinegun and
mortar fire from Hill 117. This high ground lay directly across 2/5’s
front, stretching northward from the MSR to a point about 500 yards
west of Myong-ni.

Smith’s reports, together with the news of the enemy’s withdrawal
to Hill 117 from 1/5’s zone, led Roise to order Company D to attack
the high ground from the north and cut off the North Korean retreat.
Shortly after 1200, Smith’s company jumped off to the southwest from
its positions above Myong-ni and fought across the rice paddies
circling the objective.

Company E could not advance from the chain of hills won earlier in the
day because of enemy troops along the high ridge in Baker Company’s
zone south of the MSR. But Jaskilka’s men supported the attack on 117
by fire.

A platoon of 75’s from First Lieutenant Almarion S. Bailey’s Anti-Tank
Company, taking positions on Jaskilka’s right, quickly knocked out an
enemy gun on the objective. The Communists answered with 85-mm. fire
from a concealed T-34 tank, killing 2 and wounding 7 of the recoilless
rifle crews.

Company D gained a foothold on one of Hill 117’s spurs against light
resistance. As the unit advanced south toward the crest, however, enemy
troops pouring across the MSR from 1/5’s zone had boosted the ranks
of the defenders to approximately two battalions. Smith’s company was
caught in its isolated position 500 yards from the rest of 2/5 and
blasted by North Korean artillery, mortars, and automatic weapons.
Casualties mounted at such a staggering rate that the Marines were hard
put to retain their foothold on the northern tip of the hill.

While the 2d Battalion was maneuvering and fighting on the right of
the road, the 2d Platoon of tanks pushed westward along the MSR from
its early morning position 500 yards west of Yongsan. The Brigade
armor became heavily engaged with enemy antitank weapons, and several
casualties were taken as Marines exposed themselves from unbuttoned
M-26’s to spot Communist emplacements. Second Lieutenant John S.
Carson, who had taken over the platoon after Winter was wounded, fell
before enemy machinegun fire and died instantly.

Going into hull defilade on another low hill overlooking the MSR, the
2d Platoon surprised three T-34 tanks on the road ahead and quickly
destroyed them with 90-mm. fire. The tankmen then turned their
guns on a wealth of targets spread across the front: Red antitank
weapons, machinegun positions, troop concentrations, and groups either
retreating or attempting to reinforce.

About noon, Second Lieutenant Sweet’s 3d Platoon joined the 2d and
added its firepower to the fusillade. Another T-34 was knocked out when
Sweet’s men blasted a thicket suspected of concealing an antitank gun.
A fifth North Korean tank went out of action when it was abandoned by
its crew on the left side of the road.

In the afternoon of 3 September, enemy resistance across 1/5’s front
weakened proportionately as it grew stronger in the 2d Battalion zone.
Newton launched his attack on Objective Two at 1510, after MAG-33 and
1/11 had softened up the North Korean positions.[341]

     [341] _Ibid._

Company B drove down the ridgeline paralleling the MSR and in little
more than an hour had seized its part of the objective, a peak directly
across the road from Hill 117. During the 1,000-yard advance, Fenton
reported another large group of enemy fleeing to 2/5’s zone. The
information was quickly relayed to Roise, who had ample reason by this
time to curse the fortunes of war.

In Company A’s zone, Stevens and his platoon leaders worked out a
classic scheme of maneuver for seizing Hill 91, their part of the
battalion objective. McMullen’s 1st Platoon and the company machineguns
were to remain in position as the base of fire, while Muetzel’s 2d
Platoon feinted across the 200-yard valley to the front. Fox’s 3d
Platoon, earmarked for the main effort, would then circle to the south
and flank the enemy’s right.


Muetzel’s unit jumped off with Company B at 1510, crossed the
low ground, and ascended a draw leading to Hill 91. The Marines
miscalculated, however, and climbed too far up the slope, so that
they came within grenade range of the crest and were pinned down by
machinegun fire. The platoon was split, with Muetzel and two squads on
the left of the draw and Corporal Raymond E. Stephens and his squad on
the right.

During the preparatory artillery barrage, Fox had led his platoon
around to the enemy’s right Hank, concealed en route by a rice-paddy
bank. Not knowing when the supporting fire would lift, he withheld his
squads from an assault line by a wide safety margin. Thus when the
artillery ceased, the North Koreans had time to come out of their holes
and hit the envelopment with small arms fire. Fox was wounded, and
command passed to Technical Sergeant George W. Bolkow who worked the
platoon up into the enemy positions.

The 3d Platoon’s assault was sparked by Corporal Virgil W. Henderson
and his 3d Squad, who worked to the rear of a troublesome machinegun
position and destroyed it. During the attack Henderson was painfully
wounded in the jaw by a Communist bullet.

Since both forward platoons had SCR 300 radios, Muetzel heard the
report that Fox was wounded. Concluding that the envelopment had faded,
the 2d Platoon leader requested and received permission to make a
frontal assault on Hill 91 from his position on the forward slopes.
Enemy mortar fire had added to the woes of Muetzel’s diversionary
thrust. And though an OY-2 of VMO-6 had given information leading to
the destruction of the mortar position, the beleaguered platoon leader
sought the relative safety of a frontal assault.

Corporal Stephens, acting on his own initiative across the draw, had
worked his squad up to the razorback ridge and around the enemy’s left
flank. Thus the hapless North Koreans on Hill 91 were hit by a “triple
envelopment” when Stephens struck from the north, Muetzel from the east
and Bolkow from the south.

Company A reported its objective seized at 1630, and Newton ordered
Stevens and Fenton to dig in for the night.

Both Roise and Newton were confronted by serious space factors on the
night of 3–4 September. The 2d Battalion’s front was more than 2,000
yards long and formed a right angle. A gap of 500 yards stretched
between Company D’s precarious position on the northern tip of Hill 117
and Easy Company’s lines below Myong-ni. This left Smith’s depleted
unit isolated and Jaskilka’s right dangling.

The 1st Battalion’s right flank was exposed more than 1,000 yards along
the MSR; and its front was almost a mile in length, with a 200-yard
valley separating the two rifle companies. The Brigade Reconnaissance
Company was deployed on high ground far out on Newton’s left flank, but
this was hardly ample protection for the many avenues of approach in
the south.

Exhibiting his characteristic faith in high explosives, Newton
called on the 1st Platoon, Able Company Engineers, to contribute
their sundry lethal devices to 1/5’s infantry defense. Beginning at
1800, 3 September, one group of engineers fanned out to the front
and right flank of Company B’s lines. Despite fire from Hill 117 and
enemy positions to the west, the demolitions men strung out dozens of
antipersonnel mines, hand grenades, and blocks of TNT wrapped with
60-penny spikes. Before darkness set in, Baker Company’s forward slopes
had the potential of an active volcano.

In Company A’s zone, Technical Sergeant David N. Duncan and Sergeant
Bryan K. White led the other half of the engineer platoon in laying
a similar field of obstacles. Duncan crowned his handiwork with a
40-pound shaped charge hooked up in a gully with a trip wire.

Staff Sergeant Saweren J. Dennis and his 2d Squad of engineers crept
forward at midnight 1,000 yards on the MSR and laid an antitank
minefield across the road near the southern tip of Hill 117. On the way
Dennis discovered an enemy antitank minefield embedded in the road.
Although the engineers had never seen a Russian wooden-box mine before,
knowledge gained from the study of intelligence manuals during the
Brigade’s sea voyage enabled them to detect, remove, and disarm every
mine in the field during darkness. The work was delayed a few minutes
when Dennis traced a clanking sound to the roadside ditch and killed a
Communist soldier frantically trying to insert a loaded magazine into
his submachinegun.

Before the engineers completed their work and retired to 1/5’s
lines, Nature added an obstacle of her own to any enemy plans for a
counterattack. A rainstorm broke, and the heavy downpour, accompanied
by unseasonably icy winds, wrought misery on friend and foe alike for
the rest of the night.


Mission Completed

_Collapse of the 9th NKPA Division--Attacks of 5 September--Two Marine
Tanks Killed--The Brigade’s Final Action--Brigade Embarkation at
Pusan--Results of Brigade Operations--Summaries and Conclusions_

The casualties of 2/5 for 3 September totaled 18 dead and 77 wounded,
most of them being taken by Company D. Lieutenant Colonel Murray
ordered the 3d Battalion to pass through the 2d, therefore, and
continue the attack on the right of the MSR at 0800 the next morning.
The 1st Battalion was to resume its advance south of the MSR, while the
Reconnaissance Company far out on the left would move forward to a new
blocking position.[342]

     [342] This section is derived from: Brig SAR 3d Bn, 5th
           Marines (3/5) SAR, 1–6 Sep 50; Craig, 23 May 54; and
           Taplett, 20 Apr 54.

Shortly after dawn on the 4th, the 1st Platoon of engineers went
forward and removed the mines ahead of 1/5’s positions. Preparatory
fires by 1/11 at 0750 routed a group of enemy on the peak on Baker
Company’s front, and the Marine riflemen had a field day as the Reds
threw away their weapons and pelted westward.

Companies A and B jumped off at 0800 and advanced rapidly over the high
ground south of the MSR against negligible resistance. The attackers
frequently observed small groups of enemy fleeing in all directions,
and many of the Communists were cut down by Brigade air, artillery, and
armor. Twelve prisoners were captured before 1/5 reached its half of
Brigade Objective One at 1505. This was the high ground south of the
MSR at Kang-ni, over 3,000 yards from the line of departure.

Shortly after 0800, 3/5 had launched a two-pronged assault against
Hill 117, core of the NKPA 9th Division’s resistance the previous day.
Company G advanced through Easy Company’s lines just above the MSR and
pushed across the intervening rice paddies. The Marines charged over
a small knoll in their path but found the enemy positions unoccupied
except for several dead. Bohn quickly led the company to the southern
slopes of Hill 117, which was strangely quiet by comparison with the
tumult of the previous day. In capturing the southern half of the hill,
Company G killed only 15 North Koreans.

Simultaneously with Bohn’s advance, Company H swung wide to the right
and passed through the thin ranks of Dog Company on the northern tip of
Hill 117. The attackers drove south against negligible resistance and
quickly linked with Company G, securing the objective at 0840.

A connecting road runs from Myong-ni to the MSR, tracing the eastern
base of Hill 117. Since engineers on the previous night had located the
enemy minefield east of the junction on the main road, Taplett moved
his headquarters to the MSR via the connecting road. The lead vehicle,
a personnel carrier loaded with communications men, struck a Communist
mine on the secondary route east of the newly captured objective. The
resulting explosion caused 10 casualties.

By noon the engineers had cleared the road of several Russian-type
mines identical to those found during the night. The two anti-vehicular
minefields were among the first such obstacles encountered by the UN
forces in the Korean conflict.

After seizing Hill 117, Companies G and H continued the attack westward
by advancing abreast on the high ground north of the MSR. Contact with
1/5 on the left was maintained, but the 9th Infantry on the right soon
fell behind and disappeared from sight.

At 1045 Company G ran into machinegun fire coming from the 3/5 area of
the Brigade objective, the hill north of Kang-ni. Taplett blasted the
hill with Marine air and artillery, and the North Koreans were in full
retreat within an hour. MAG-33 and 1/11 rained death on the retreating
Reds and continued to pound the hill preparatory to an assault by
Company G. Bohn led his troops forward and secured the objective at

Looking across the stream bed to the north of their new positions, the
Marines of George Company spotted enemy infantry escorting a T-34 tank
and withdrawing into the 9th Infantry zone. The Communist column was
quickly dispersed by machinegun fire.

_Collapse of NKPA 9th Division_

Marines following up the 3,000-yard advance along the MSR saw, a
picture of devastation unequalled even by the earlier defeat of the
NKPA 4th Division. Hundreds of enemy dead were strewn along the road,
hillsides and ridgelines. On the MSR between Hill 117 and Kang-ni lay
a long column of North Koreans who had been caught by Marine air and
artillery while attempting to reinforce Red lines. The dead leader was
a lieutenant colonel whose briefcase contained a lengthy artillery
treatise among other less scholarly documents.[343]

     [343] _Ibid._

In addition to knocked-out and abandoned Communist tanks, vehicles,
mortars, and antitank guns, the countryside was littered with enough
small arms, ammunition, and gear to equip several hundred men. Even the
North Korean paymaster had been caught in the sweeping tide of Brigade
arms, and Marines distributed a huge quantity of worthless currency
among themselves.

Not only did the Marines reap a harvest of enemy materiel; they also
recaptured a great quantity of United States Army equipment lost
during the Communist drive. American tanks, artillery pieces, mortars,
vehicles, small arms, and ammunition and supply dumps were turned over
to the 2d Division by the Brigade.

The destruction of the enemy camp left Army and Marine intelligence
officers inundated by captured enemy documents. Muster rolls, ledgers,
maps, orders, textbooks, and propaganda material were heaped into
separate piles.

Late in the afternoon of 4 September, the 9th Infantry moved into
positions on the high ground northeast of 3/5. This completed the
advance to Phase Line One of the 2d Division’s counterattack plan.
The second phase line on G-3 maps was drawn through Hill 125 and
Observation Hill, 3,000 yards west of Kang-ni.

When informed that the Brigade had completed the first part of its
mission, General Keiser authorized General Craig to advance toward
Phase Line Two.

Beyond Kang-ni, the Brigade’s right boundary became the MSR, so that
3/5 could not advance westward from its half of Objective One. Major
Charles H. Brush, Murray’s S-3, radioed Newton and passed on orders
for the battalion commander to take the next piece of high ground,
Cloverleaf Hill, just south of the MSR at Hwayong-ni, about a thousand
yards away.

The 1st Battalion struck out through the intervening rice paddy,
Company A on the left and Baker Company just below the MSR. Fenton’s
unit had hardly begun the advance when it was stopped by heavy
machinegun fire coming from the high ground north of Hwayong-ni. Newton
then called for an air strike on the ridge and also requested 3/5 to
keep it covered with supporting fire during Company B’s attack.

Enemy resistance evaporated with accustomed rapidity, and the Marines
reported Cloverleaf Hill secure at 1800. Murray then ordered both front
line battalions to establish night defenses and be prepared to continue
the attack at 0800, 5 September.

The extent and trace of the Brigade front line on the night of 4–5
September was almost identical to that of 24 hours before. Again
Newton’s battalion was in front on the left by a good 1,000 yards, and
Companies A and B were stretched across a line almost a mile long, with
the left flank wide open.

Separated from both 1/5 on the left and the 9th Infantry on the right,
the 3d Battalion established a perimeter defense, even though it was in
the center of the counterattack zone.

There was considerable tension and excitement after darkness on 4
September, although the Brigade lines were never seriously threatened.
The engineers were busy in 1/5’s zone until after midnight, creeping to
the front and flanks to lay mines. The 3d Battalion was shelled heavily
throughout the night, and 1/5’s CP took direct hits killing 1 Marine
and wounding 2 others. One of the wounded was Second Lieutenant James
R. Young, Newton’s Assistant S-3. The artillery liaison officer, First
Lieutenant Joris J. Snyder, was knocked unconscious for several hours,
though he received not a scratch from the 120-mm. explosion a few yards

At 0230 night-fighter planes of Major Joseph H. Reinburg’s VMF(N)-513
bombed the North Korean mortar position causing most of the damage, and
the shelling slackened appreciably. Completing this mission, the Marine
pilots dumped general purpose and fragmentation bombs on enemy vehicles
and troops in the area.[344]

     [344] VMF(N)-513 SAR, Appendix 6, 16.

Companies G and H reported movement forward of their lines before dawn,
and 3/5’s 81-mm. mortars quickly illuminated the front, disclosing
several small groups of enemy. There was a flurry of fire, but the Reds
gave no indication of organizing for an assault. One of the groups,
either by error or suicidal folly, stumbled into the area of Taplett’s
CP. A listening post of Weapons Company took the intruders under fire,
killing an NKPA officer and routing the others.

_Attacks of 5 September_

Marines of the 3d Battalion were startled at daybreak, 5 September,
when a company of North Koreans attacked the 9th Infantry’s left flank
in full view of 3/5’s positions on the adjacent high ground. George,
How, and H & S Companies poured machinegun fire into the mass of Reds
at ranges of 600–1,000 yards. Most of the Red attackers were cut down
before they could flee into the hills west of the Army lines.[345]

     [345] This section is derived from: Annex How; 3/5 SAR, 1–6
           Sep 50; Taplett, 20 Apr 54; and Fenton, 8 May 54.

Company B, on its high ground south of Hwayong-ni, heard the firing in
3/5’s area at daybreak and steeled itself for a possible counterattack
from the right flank. When Newton received word of the abortive attack
on the 9th Infantry, he ordered his two rifle companies to prepare to
move out at 0800 as planned.

The Marines of Companies A and B were organizing their attack
formation on Cloverleaf Hill when two Air Force P-51’s came in for
an uncontrolled air strike on the high ground north of Hwayong-ni.
Strafing the ridge from north to south, the planes riddled Cloverleaf
Hill as they pulled out of their dives. The 2 exposed companies were
showered with bullets, and it seemed miraculous that only 1 Marine was

At 0820, 1/5 jumped off to the west to seize the Brigade’s portion
of Phase Line Two--Hill 125 and Observation Hill. Beyond these hills
lay Obong-ni Ridge, blocking the path to the Naktong River, third and
final phase line of the 2d Division counterattack. Because of its
tactical importance and great significance, battle-scarred Obong-ni was
designated a special objective, apart from the phase lines.

Half a mile west of Hwayong-ni the MSR makes a right-angle turn to the
south, proceeds in that direction for 1,000 yards, then resumes its
westward course through the cut between Hill 125 and Observation Hill.

Companies A and B, with the latter on the right, moved rapidly through
the rice paddy below the MSR after leaving their line of departure
on Cloverleaf Hill. At the road bend mentioned above, the MSR turned
across Baker Company’s front. When Fenton’s unit crossed over to the
base of the high ground leading to Hill 125, Companies A and B were
separated by the MSR as it resumed its westward course. Stevens’ unit
started up the long eastern slopes of Observation Hill, while Fenton’s
men secured the eastern extension of Hill 125.

Obong-ni Ridge rumbled its first greeting to 1/5 at 0935 when mortars
and artillery fired at the Marine attackers from emplacements around
the hill. The Reds were answered immediately by 1/11 and Newton’s
81-mm. mortar platoon; and the rifle companies continued the advance to
Phase Line Two, securing their objectives at 1100.



Murray ordered 1/5 to hold up until the 9th Infantry tied in on
Fenton’s right. Communist automatic weapons on Obong-ni Ridge fired on
the Marines sporadically during this interlude.

At 1000, while 1/5 was attacking to the west, the 3d Battalion had
swung southward behind Cloverleaf Hill to take positions on the 5th
Marines’ left. This was in preparation for Murray’s contemplated
assault on Obong-ni Ridge by two battalions. It was planned that
Newton’s unit would take the northern half of the long hill and 3/5 the
southern portion.

Company G led the 3d Battalion advance through the rice paddy south of
Cloverleaf Hill. Artillery and 75-mm. recoilless guns paved the way
by raking possible enemy hiding places, enabling the infantrymen to
proceed rapidly. Bohn’s destination was Hill 91, a shoe-like projection
jutting out from the southern reaches of Obong-ni Ridge. Reaching
the base of the high ground, Bohn requested that supporting fires
be lifted. Attached tanks, 75’s, and 1/11 immediately shifted their
destruction to Obong-ni Ridge.

Company G started up the slopes of Hill 91, while an attached 75-mm.
recoilless gun obliterated a wheel-mounted machinegun and its crew
going into position on the crest. The Marines had climbed only a few
yards when Bohn was ordered by Taplett at 1230 to withdraw the company
to Observation Hill.

Company H, then passing between Hill 91 and Observation Hill on its
way to Obong-ni’s eastern approaches, received the same order from the
Battalion commander. The assault on the ridge had been canceled, and
Murray was concentrating his regiment along the MSR.

_Two Marine Tanks Killed_

Throughout the Brigade advance on 5 September, the Marines were
hampered by heavy rain and fog which prevented MAG-33 and VMO-6 from
operating effectively. Thus the enemy was offered a rare opportunity to
mount a daylight attack.[346]

     [346] This section is derived from: Annex How; LtCol M. R.
           Olson, interv with author, 15 Jun 54; Taplett, 20 Apr
           54; Muetzel, 5–6 Jan 54 (with comments by Maj J. R.
           Stevens); and Fenton, 8 May 54.

After Company B received orders to hold up on Hill 125, Fenton
ordered his men to dig foxholes along the rain-soaked crest facing
Tugok village and Finger Ridge to the west and Obong-ni Ridge to the
southwest. The company commander directed the attached 1st Platoon of
tanks to remain in the road cut, just to the rear of the famous bend
around the forward slopes of Hill 125. Peering through the rain and
fog, the Marine tankmen could see the dead, black hulls of the three
T-34’s knocked out by the Brigade 2 weeks earlier.

At 1420 the sporadic sniping from the front suddenly increased to the
intensity of preparatory fire, and Baker Company was pinned down on its
ridgeline positions. The northern tip of Obong-ni Ridge blazed with
NKPA machineguns, whose chatter was soon joined by that of automatic
weapons concealed in Tugok and at the northern base of Observation
Hill. A Communist antitank gun on Finger Ridge added its voice
intermittently to the chorus.

Fenton’s radio went dead just as he reported the situation to Newton
at his OP on the high ground to the east. As luck would have it, every
other radio in the company area was inoperative because of the mud and
rain; and Fenton was unable to warn the Marine tanks in the road cut
that enemy armor and troops were advancing toward the road bend from
the west.

As the Communist vehicles swung into the turn, a company of Red
soldiers left the road and assaulted Company B’s positions by advancing
up the draw on the Marines’ left front. The intense overhead fire
supporting the Red Infantry enabled them to get well up the forward
slopes. Meanwhile, a squad of North Koreans advanced up the draw
leading from Tugok and harassed Fenton’s right front.

To stop the attack, the Marines were forced to man the crest of Hill
125. Thus exposed to the enemy’s supporting fire, Company B had to pay
a heavy price in casualties.

During the advance of the Communist armor, it was determined that
the first 2 of the 3 vehicles were T-34 tanks and the last a tracked
armored personnel carrier. Fenton immediately deployed his assault
squad on the slopes below his left flank to meet the threat on the MSR.

Lieutenant Pomeroy, unaware of the enemy tanks around the bend,
advanced his M-26’s so that the machineguns on Obong-ni Ridge could be
taken under massed fire. Thus, as the first Marine tank reached the
bend, its 90-mm. gun was pointing to the left front, a quarter turn
away from the enemy armor.

The lead T-34 fired on the Marine vehicle as soon as it came into
view. Before the turret of the M-26 could be turned to take aim,
several more 85-mm. projectiles struck; and the Brigade lost its first
tank to enemy action. The second M-26 in column tried to squeeze by the
first to render assistance, and it too was knocked out by 85-mm. fire
in the restricted passageway.

The crews of both Marine tanks managed to get out of their vehicles
through the escape hatches. Some of the wounded were aided by the
engineer mine-clearance team accompanying the tank column.

Since the road bend was now blocked, the remainder of Pomeroy’s tanks
could do nothing but park in the road cut. It was Marine infantrymen
who stepped in at this point and blunted the NKPA victory on the MSR.

Company B’s assault squad plastered the lead T-34 with 3.5″ rocket fire
and stopped it cold. Shortly afterwards, the 1st Battalion’s assault
platoon reached the fight scene and went into action with its 3.5’s. In
short order the infantrymen had completed the destruction of the first
tank, knocked out the second, and destroyed the enemy personnel carrier.

The historic road bend, as seen through the rain and mist, had become a
graveyard of armor. A total of 8 steel monsters were sprawled there in
death: 5 T-34’s and 1 armored carrier of the NKPA, and 2 Pershing tanks
of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.

_The Brigade’s Final Action_

On Hill 125 the fight reached a climax as Marines exchanged grenades
and small-arms fire with the North Koreans slithering up the slopes
in the driving rain. Company B had used all of its 60-mm. mortar
shells and was running low on grenades and small arms ammunition.
Enemy automatic weapons on the ridges to the front were still cutting
down the Marine defenders at 1500 when Fenton sent a runner to Newton
requesting more ammunition.[347]

     [347] _Ibid._

The endurance contest was still in progress half an hour later, as the
9th Infantry moved into positions on the high ground north of Hill 125.
Having no communications with his own supporting arms, Fenton sent a
messenger to the Army unit commander, asking that he place artillery
fire on the Marine front.

When Army shells began falling in answer to the request, 1/5’s 81-mm.
mortars belatedly got into the fight and worked over the forward
slopes of Hill 125 to within 50 yards of Company B’s positions. The
heavy supporting fire turned the tide, and enemy pressure slackened

During the final stage of the enemy’s attack, Company A was being
relieved on Observation Hill by 3/5. Stevens told his platoon leaders
to leave their grenades and extra ammunition on the hill, since his
orders were to withdraw to the rear. While the relief was taking place,
however, Company A was ordered to reinforce Fenton’s unit against the
enemy’s attack on Hill 125. Muetzel’s 2d Platoon, after recovering its
ammunition, was augmented by a machinegun section, mortar squad, and
two SCR-300 radios, before the young officer led the unit across the
MSR to lend a hand.

When Stevens’ relief by 3/5 was completed, he added the 1st Platoon to
Company B’s reinforcements, and himself withdrew to Cloverleaf Hill
with the 3d Platoon as ordered.

The reinforcements were fed into Fenton’s line as fast as they reached
the summit of Hill 125. By this time every man in Company B had been
committed to the forward wall--mortarmen, clerks, signalmen, and all.
Lieutenant Howard Blank combined his Able Company mortars with those
of the defenders and immediately followed up the artillery and 81-mm.
fire which had blunted the attack. These final concentrations of 60-mm.
mortar fire on Obong-ni and Finger Ridges and the forward slopes of
Hill 125 ended the enemy attack. The surviving Reds withdrew to Tugok.

At 1600, during the dying minutes of the Brigade’s final action in the
Pusan Perimeter, Newton was ordered back to the regimental CP for a
conference. The executive officer, Major Merlin R. Olson, took over 1/5
from the battalion OP on the ridge east of Hill 125.

The 5th Marines commander had called the leaders of his battalions to
brief them on General Craig’s last field directive, which began with
the long awaited words:


Taplett’s 3d Battalion had sustained 24 casualties from artillery and
mortar fire between its occupation of Observation Hill and the time it
was relieved by a company of the 23d Infantry shortly after midnight.
Plodding rearward through mud and driving rain, 3/5’s long column began
its three-and-a-half-mile march to an entrucking point 2,000 yards west
of Yongsan.

Following 3/5 were the weary, mud-soaked troops of the 1st Battalion.
Having successfully defended Hill 125 at a cost of 2 killed and 23
wounded, Baker Company had filed down to the road after being relieved
by another company of the 23d Infantry. Muetzel brought up the rear
with Company A’s contingent, and a battalion column was formed at
Olson’s check point east of Hill 125.

By dawn of 6 September, the two battalions were loading aboard trucks
to follow the rest of the Brigade. Numbed by fatigue and icy rain, the
bent forms huddled together in the cargo vehicles had no regrets as
they bade good-bye to the Pusan perimeter.

_Brigade Embarkation at Pusan_

The movement to Pusan was completed by the morning of 7 September, and
the Brigade troops found themselves back at the docks where they had
landed a little more than a month before. In fact, the docks were to be
their bivouac area during the next 6 days; the men slept in the open
and took their meals on board the transports in which they would soon
be sailing around the peninsula.

The survivors of the Naktong fights--even the latecomers who had joined
the Brigade at the Bean Patch--felt old and worn when they saw the
large draft of shiny new Marines just landed as third rifle companies
organized with their own NCO’s and platoons. The veterans had forgotten
how young and untroubled a Marine could look; how neat and clean he
could appear in a recently issued utility jacket.

The new companies were immediately assigned to their battalions. It
was another job for officers and NCO’s who had the responsibility of
replacing equipment lost in action as well as servicing ordnance, motor
transport and other heavy equipment which had been sent from the Bean
Patch to Pusan late in August.[348]

     [348] Col J. L. Stewart, interv with author, 10 Jun 54.

General Craig and his staff had their headquarters in one of the Pusan
University buildings. There was no opportunity for planning, let alone
rehearsals, for the forthcoming amphibious assault at Inchon. Craig
and his officers had all they could do to get the Brigade ready for

Among the tasks to be accomplished in less than a week, it remained
to give some weapons training to the 3,000 troops of the 1st Korean
Marine Regiment. This newly raised unit, attached to the Brigade for
embarkation, was to make a name for itself within the next year and
become the fourth rifle regiment of the 1st Marine Division. But in
September 1950 there were great gaps in the training of the KMC’s. The
men kept their rifles scrupulously clean, and they could strip an M-1
expertly, but few of them had ever fired a shot.

Marine NCO’s had the hazardous duty of giving the eager and excited
KMC’s their first target practice after eight rounds of ammunition for
each man had been acquired. No Marine casualties resulted, fortunately,
but puffed and bruised cheeks were the rule among Koreans having their
first experience with an M-1’s recoil.

There was, of course, no end of “scuttlebutt” going the rounds of the
Marines as to their destination. One day the troops were lined up in
formation and read a long lecture on the hydrographic aspects of the
west coast port of Kunsan. It is to be hoped that this red herring made
some impression upon the Koreans who were listening, since Pusan was a
headquarters of enemy spies. As for the Marines, most of them concluded
that at least Kunsan could be eliminated from the list of possible

The secret was well kept by Brigade officers in the higher echelons.
Two engineer officers, First Lieutenant Ernest P. Skelt and
Commissioned Warrant Officer Willard C. Downs, were given the secret
mission of constructing wooden scaling ladders for the next operation.
This project gave rise to more rumors, but it is safe to say that few
men in the ranks knew the answer when the Brigade was deactivated at
0001 on 13 September 1950. The components immediately resumed their old
unit designations in the 1st Marine Division and sailed to take part in
the amphibious assault on Inchon scheduled for the 15th.[349]

     [349] The Inchon-Seoul operation of the 1st Marine Division
           and 1st Marine Air Wing from 15 September to 7 October
           1950 is to be the subject of Volume II of this
           historical series devoted to Marine operations in Korea.

_Results of Brigade Operations_

As the mountains behind Pusan faded from sight, General Craig and his
men could reflect that the Brigade’s 67 days of existence had been
productive. Altogether, the Marine air-ground team had fought three
difficult offensive operations in a month while traveling 380 miles
with a third of its organic transportation plus Army vehicles.

Total casualties for the Brigade included 148 KIA, 15 DOW, 9 MIA (seven
of whom were later reclassified as KIA after recovery of the bodies)
and 730 WIA.[350] It was estimated that the Marines inflicted total
casualties of 9,900 killed and wounded on opposing NKPA units. Enemy
losses of arms and equipment were on such a scale as to impair the
effectiveness of the forces concerned.

     [350] Brig SAR, basic report.

In its initial operation, as a component of Task Force Kean, the
Brigade had the major part in the first sustained Eighth Army
counterattack--the military equivalent of a hard left jab which rocks
an opponent back on his heels. General MacArthur, when reporting to
the United Nations, asserted that “this attack not only secured the
southern approaches to the beachhead, but also showed that the North
Korean forces will not hold under attack.”[351]

     [351] MCBS, I-II-A-18-19. This valuable operational study
           by Marine senior officers has been the guide for the
           summaries and analyses of Brigade results in these pages.

The Communist drive in this sensitive area came closest of all NKPA
thrusts to the vital UN supply port of Pusan. Up to that time the NKPA
units spearheading the advance--the 6th Infantry Division and the 83d
Motorcycle Regiment--had never suffered a reverse worth mentioning
since the outset of the invasion. Then the counterattack by the 1st
Provisional Marine Brigade hurled the enemy back 26 miles in 4 days
from the Chindong-ni area to Sachon.

It was estimated that the Marine air-ground team killed and wounded
1,900 of the enemy while destroying nearly all the vehicles of an NKPA
motorized battalion in addition to infantry armament and equipment. The
enemy threat in this critical area was nullified for the time being,
and never again became so serious. Marine efforts assisted Army units
of Task Force Kean in taking new defensive positions and defending
them with fewer troops, thus freeing some elements for employment on
other fronts. Finally, the Marines earned more time and space for the
building up of Eighth Army forces in preparation for a decisive UN

The next Brigade operation, the first battle of the Naktong, ranks with
the hardest fights of Marine Corps history. The enemy, after showing
skill and aggressiveness in breaching the last natural barrier of
the Pusan Perimeter, widened his Naktong bridgehead and took strong
defensive positions in preparation for an all-out offensive while still
maintaining his material superiority.

Only two Eighth Army units were available for a counterattack--the 27th
Infantry and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The Army regiment
being needed in reserve on the southern front, the “firemen of the
Pusan Perimeter” were placed under the operational control of the 24th
Infantry Division on the central front. There the Marines had the
mission of clearing the enemy from Obong-ni Ridge and two other large
hill masses of the Naktong Bulge.

The NKPA 4th Infantry Division had taken maximum advantage of strong
defensive terrain in accordance with the precepts taught by Soviet and
Chinese Communist military instructors. This enlarged bridgehead was
credited by CINCFE with giving the enemy the capability of mounting a
serious threat to the main railroad from Pusan to Taegu.

It took a bitter and costly effort on the part of the Brigade, but the
result was the most smashing defeat ever given an NKPA major unit up to
this time. This reverse turned into a rout and slaughter toward the end
as Marine air, artillery, armor, and mortars inflicted terrible losses.
Broken NKPA forces were cut down in flight or while trying to swim the

If the Brigade’s first operation may be likened to a hard left jab,
the fight in the Naktong Bulge is comparable to a solid right dealing
a knockdown blow. The enemy lurched back to his feet, it is true, but
the three rifle regiments of the NKPA 4th Infantry Division had to be
filled up with hastily trained recruits.

Arms ranging from rifles to howitzers were abandoned as impediments
by the routed Communists, so that the rebuilt NKPA 4th Infantry
Division needed new armament and equipment of all sorts. General
MacArthur’s summary of the action, reported to the UN Security Council
on 18 September 1950, stated that “attacks by the United States 24th
Division and the Marines eliminated a major penetration of the Naktong
defense line on 18 August. Here, the enemy 4th Division was decisively
defeated, lost its bridgehead, and was thrown westward across the
Naktong River, suffering very heavy losses in both personnel and

Never before had a major NKPA unit taken such a staggering defeat. As
evidence of recent victories won over United States troops, the 4th
Infantry Division had brought captured American machineguns and 105-mm.
howitzers into the Naktong Bulge. Among the most important results
achieved by the Brigade, therefore, was the hurt done to Red Korean

Not only was the enemy’s Naktong bridgehead liquidated; he also lost
heavily in time, which was becoming more valuable to him than space if
he hoped to profit from his rapidly dwindling advantage in numbers. Not
until 10 days later did the Communists establish another bridgehead in
the Naktong Bulge area, and then it was their misfortune to encounter
the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade again.

During the early morning hours of 1 September 1950, the enemy made his
final effort to smash through to Pusan. Again the 27th Infantry was
needed on another front, so that the Marines, as the only other mobile
reserve unit, were committed under the operational control of the 2d
Infantry Division, The seriousness of the situation in the Naktong
Bulge is indicated by the fact that the enemy had enlarged his new
bridgehead with a penetration of about 4,000 yards in the sector of
the 2d Division. Elements of four enemy divisions had been identified
on the central front when the Marines jumped off on the morning of 3

The Brigade’s 3-day fight did not end as decisively as the first battle
of the Naktong. That is because it was an unfinished fight. The Marines
were pulled out on the night of 5 September, after gains of 2,500 to
3,000 yards that day, and it can only be conjectured what General Craig
and his men might have accomplished during the next 48 hours.

As it was, the Brigade had a prominent part in disrupting the enemy’s
effort to sever the Pusan-Taegu lifeline. Heavy losses both in
personnel and equipment were inflicted on NKPA forces, and the Marines
helped to reduce the enemy’s new bridgehead by 8,000 to 10,000 yards.

Not only had the enemy lost the battle; he had lost the war, as it
proved, for EUSAK staff officers were even then planning a great
UN counterstroke in the Pusan Perimeter. This drive was to be in
conjunction with the amphibious assault on Inchon.

The turning point in the UN fortunes of war owed in no small measure to
the three counterattacks by the Marines in the Pusan Perimeter. As for
the overall effects, it would be hard to improve upon the analysis and
evaluation in the Marine Corps Board Study:

  “A careful examination of any of these operations in which Marines
  engaged discloses that a single failure would have a profound
  effect upon the entire UN effort.... On 3 separate occasions the
  Brigade was attached to the defending UN forces at points of
  dangerous enemy penetrations and 3 times Marine units spearheaded
  the counterattacking elements and effectively stopped the enemy’s
  efforts, seizing the initiative from him, inflicting serious losses
  upon him, and forcing the abandonment of immediate attempts at
  decisive penetration.”[352]

     [352] MCBS, I-II-A-36.

_Summaries and Conclusions_

No Marine tactical organization of history ever did more than the
Brigade to uphold the tradition of the Corps as a force-in-readiness.
The transition from activation to embarkation took only 6 days, and it
may be recalled that the Brigade became the first United States unit
to get into the fight after crossing the Pacific from the American

Although the components had been hastily thrown together without
opportunity for training or rehearsals, there were singularly few
instances of tactical fumbling during the early actions. Some of the
men had their only weapons familiarization instruction in actual
battle, when they fired new arms for the first time. But thanks to the
steadying influence of combat-wise company officers and NCO’s, the
Marines of the Brigade soon gained competence.

The Brigade command and staff faced unusual problems arising from
such factors as emergency situations, hurried planning, oral orders,
incomplete intelligence, and lack of adequate maps. There were
decisions now and then which officers would not have made if they had
been endowed with the wisdom of knowledge after the event. But on the
basis of information at the time, the Brigade command and staff need
no whitewashing from history. Marine victories, on the other hand,
may be attributed in large degree to a high order of leadership and
professional ability in the upper echelons as well as on the company
and platoon level.

It might have been argued that it was a waste to commit amphibious
specialists to the operations of mountain warfare. But Marines were
also trained as infantry, and gravel-crunching fighting men were needed
to correct an illusion held by many of their countrymen. Atomic bombs,
guided missiles, jet planes, and other marvelous new weapons had
convinced a large section of the public that the day of push-button
warfare was at hand. These Americans sincerely believed that wars could
be waged at long distance, and the Marines of the Brigade served their
country well by demonstrating that even in the tactical millenium it
was necessary to seek out the enemy and close with him. For if there
was any outstanding figure of the conflict in Korea, it was some second
lieutenant making split-second decisions which meant life or death for
a platoon holding a hill position against enemy attack in the darkness.

The three squadrons of MAG-33 provided support which the Brigade
reported as “the best close air support in the history of the Marine
Corps ... outstanding in its effectiveness.” Army infantry officers
were frankly envious on occasion; and Colonel Paul L. Freeman, USA,
commanding the 23d Infantry, commented that “the Marines on our left
were a sight to behold. Not only was their equipment superior or equal
to ours, but they had squadrons of air in direct support. They used it
like artillery. It was ‘Hey, Joe--This is Smitty--Knock the left of
that ridge in front of Item Company.’ They had it _day and night_. It
came off nearby carriers, and not from Japan with only 15 minutes of
fuel to accomplish mission.”[353]

     [353] Quoted in MCBS, I-II-A-35; and I-IV-B-9.

The UN forces, of course, had complete supremacy in the air. On two
occasions the Marines of the Brigade were briefly strafed by NKPA night
hecklers making a “scalded-cat” raid. During the interlude at the Bean
Patch an enemy plane winged its way under cover of darkness to cut
loose with a brief burst of machinegun bullets before disappearing into
the night. But United States Air Force planes had virtually destroyed
the little NKPA air force during the first few weeks of the war, so
that the men of the Brigade were virtually unopposed in the air.

The time interval between a request for Marine air support and
the actual delivery varied according to local conditions, but the
ground forces seldom had cause for complaint. All-weather Squadron
VMF(N)-513, based at Itazuke, Japan, was prevented by reason of
faulty communications and liaison from responding to every request
for dawn, dusk or night support during early Brigade operations, but
such missions were flown effectively in the Naktong Bulge. Meanwhile,
the Corsairs of VMF-214 and VMF-323, orbiting on station and always
available for short notice employment, gave fresh proof that the
Navy-Marine concept of carrier-based tactical aircraft was sound in
practice. Following are the statistics of MAG-33 operations in Korea
from 3 August to 14 September 1950:

                                         _Missions in close support_
 _Squadron_   _Total   _Miscellaneous  -------------------------------
             sorties_     sorties_     _USMC_  _Army_  _ROK_  _Total_

 VMF-214        670         162          337    111     60      508
 VMF-323        498          90          304     83     21      408
 VMF(N)-513     343         264           21     50      8       79
   Totals      1511         516          662    244      8      995[354]

     [354] MCBS, II, Appendix 64.

Demands on the time of the original 4 helicopters of VMO-6 made it
necessary to fly 2 more machines in from Japan. The rotary-wing
aircraft had so many “firsts” to their credit in the Pusan Perimeter
that a major tactical innovation was obviously in the making. The
flights of General Craig, Colonel Snedeker and Lieutenant Colonel
Stewart alone were enough to indicate that the helicopter was capable
of working a revolution in command and staff procedures.

Altogether, the participation of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was
an important factor in stopping the NKPA invasion in August 1950 and
punishing the invaders so severely that they were ripe for a crushing
defeat the following month. The Marines, moreover, did a great deal
to restore the national pride of countrymen who had been hurt and
bewildered by the outcome of the first month’s operations.

It was humiliating to read on the front page that only 5 years after
reaching our greatest military strength of history, United States
troops were being pushed around by Asiatic peasants of a Soviet-trained
organization calling itself the North Korean People’s Army. Perhaps
these Americans did not remember that the decline in our Armed Forces
was due to overwhelming popular demands for the disbanding of our
victorious armies of 1945. At any rate, the United States paid the
penalty of unpreparedness in 1950 when its first ground-force units
were beaten by better trained and equipped NKPA troops. Worse yet,
correspondents at the front intimated that these defeats were due to
the softness of our youth. It was charged that United States troops had
been so pampered by motor transport that they could no longer march,
let alone fight.

The Marines helped to change all that. The Marines and the better Army
units proved that they were more than a match for the enemy when it
came to marching as well as fighting. The Marines did their best to
restore the pride of Americans who read about the advance to Kosong or
the fight on Obong-ni Ridge. The Marines, in short, deserved the pat on
the back conveyed in a dispatch to the Brigade on 23 August 1950 from
their Commandant, General Clifton B. Cates:



Glossary of Military and Aeronautical Terms

  AKA--Attack cargo ship.
  APA--Attack transport ship.
  ADC--Assistant Division Commander.
  BAR--Browning automatic rifle.
  BLT--Battalion landing team.
  BuAer--Bureau of Aeronautics
  CCF--Chinese Communist Forces (refers to entire Chinese force employed
      in Korea).
  CG--Commanding general.
  CINCFE--Commander in Chief, Far East.
  CincPacFlt--Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.
  CINCUNC--Commander in Chief, United Nations Command.
  CNO--Chief of Naval Operations.
  CO--Commanding officer.
  COMNAGFE--Commander Naval Air Group Far East
  COMNAVFE--Commander Navy Far East.
  COMPHIBGRUONE--Commander Amphibious Group One.
  COMSEVENTHFLT--Commander Seventh Fleet.
  COS--Combined Operations Section.
  CP--Command Post.
  CSG--Combat Service Group.
  CTF--Commander Task Force.
  CVG--Carrier Air Group.
  DOW--Died of wounds.
  EUSAK--Eighth United States Army in Korea.
  FAC--Forward Air Controller.
  FEAF--Far East Air Force.
  FECOM--Far East Command.
  FL--Flight leader.
  FMF--Fleet Marine Force (Pac = Pacific; Lant = Atlantic).
  GHQFEC--General Headquarters, Far East Command.
  HF--High frequency (radio).
  InfDiv--Infantry Division.
  JCS--Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  JOC--Joint Operations Center.
  KIA--Killed in action.
  KMC--Korean Marine Corps.
  KVA--Korean Volunteer Army.
  LSD--Landing ship, dock.
  LST--Landing ship, tank.
  MAG--Marine Aircraft Group.
  MCBS--Marine Corps Board Study.
  MGCIS--Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron.
  MIA--Missing in action.
  MSR--Main supply route.
  MTACS--Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron.
  NCO--Noncommissioned officer.
  NK--North Korea(n).
  NKPA--North Korean Peoples Army.
  OP--Observation post.
  OY--Light observation plane.
  POL--Petroleum oil lubricants.
  POW--Prisoner of war.
  ProvCasCo--Provisional Casual Company.
  RCT--Regimental Combat Team.
  ROK--Republic of Korea.
  SAC--Supporting Arms Center.
  SAR--Special Action Report.
  SecNav--Secretary of the Navy.
  TAC--Tactical Air Coordinator.
  TAC X Corps--Tactical Air Command, X Corps.
  TACC--Tactical Air Control Center.
  TACP--Tactical Air Control Party.
  TACRON--Tactical Air Control Squadron.
  TAD--Tactical Air Direction.
  TADC--Tactical Air Direction Center.
  TAO--Tactical Air Observer.
  TAR--Tactical air request.
  T/E--Table of equipment.
  T/O--Table of organization.
  UN--United Nations.
  VHF--Very high frequency (radio).
  VMF--Marine fighter type aircraft (squadron).
  VMF(N)--Marine night fighter type aircraft, all-weather (squadron).
  VMO--Marine observation type aircraft (squadron).
  VMR--Marine transport type aircraft (squadron).
  WIA--Wounded in action.


Command and Staff List of the First Provisional Marine Brigade

_7 July--13 September 1950_

  Commanding General           BrigGen Edward A. Craig
  Deputy Commander             BrigGen Thomas J. Cushman
  Chief of Staff               Col Edward W. Snedeker
  G-1                          Maj Donald W. Sherman
  G-2                          LtCol Ellsworth G. Van Orman
  G-3                          LtCol Joseph L. Stewart
  G-4                          LtCol Arthur A. Chidester

  _Special Staff Section_

  Adjutant                     Capt Harold G. Schrier
  Supply Officer               Maj James K. Eagan
  Air Officer                  Maj James N. Cupp
  Signal Officer               Maj Elwin M. Stimpson
  Air Observer                 Capt Edwin L. Rives
  Signal Supply Officer        1stLt Joseph E. Conners
  Engineer Supply Officer      Capt William R. Gould
  Liaison Officer              LtCol Edward R. Hagenah
  Brigade Surgeon              Capt Eugene R. Hering, Jr., USN
  Brigade Dental Officer       LtComdr Jack J. Kelly, USN

  _Headquarters and Service Battalion_

  (32 officers--183 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Maj Richard E. Sullivan
  Executive Officer            Capt Samuel Jaskilka (to 18 Aug 50)
  CoComdr, Hq Co               1stLt Nathaniel F. Mann, Jr.

  _Detachment, 1st Signal Battalion_

  (4 officers--99 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     Capt Earl F. Stanley

  _Company A, 1st Motor Transport Battalion_

  (6 officers--112 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Capt Arthur W. Ecklund

  _Company C, 1st Medical Battalion_

  (5 officers--94 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Comdr Robert A. Freyling, USN

  _Company A, 1st Shore Party Battalion_

  (12 officers--213 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Maj William L. Batchelor

  _Company A, 1st Engineer Battalion_

  (9 officers--209 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Capt George W. King

  _Detachment, 1st Ordnance Battalion_

  (5 officers--119 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     1stLt Meyer La Bellman

  _Company A, 1st Tank Battalion_

  (9 officers--173 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Capt Gearl M. English
  PlatComdr                    1st Plat 1stLt William D. Pomeroy
  PlatComdr                    2d Plat 2dLt Robert M. Winter
                                 (to 3 Sep 50, WIA)
                               2dLt John S. Carson (3 Sep 50, KIA)
  PlatComdr, 3d Plat           2dLt Granville G. Sweet

  _1st Battalion, 11th Marines_

  (44 officers--474 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           LtCol Ransom M. Wood
  Executive Officer            Maj Francis R. Schlesinger
  Headquarters Battery:
  Commanding Officer           Capt James W. Brayshay
  Service Battery:
  Commanding Officer           1stLt Kenneth H. Quelch
  Battery A:
  Commanding Officer           Capt James D. Jordan
  Battery B:
  Commanding Officer           Capt Arnold C. Hofstetter
  Battery C:
  Commanding Officer           Capt William J. Nichols, Jr.

  _Detachment, 1st Service Battalion_

  (11 officers--161 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     Capt Thomas M. Sagar

  _Detachment, 1st Combat Service Group_

  (5 officers--104 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     Maj Thomas J. O’Mahoney

  _Detachment, Reconnaissance Company_

  (2 officers--37 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     Capt Kenneth J. Houghton

  _Detachment, Military Police Company_

  (2 officers--36 enlisted men)

  DetComdr                     1stLt Nye G. Rodes

  _1st Amphibian Tractor Company_

  (10 officers--244 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           Maj James P. Treadwell

  _1st Amphibian Truck Platoon_

  (1 officer--75 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           1stLt James E. Condra


  Commanding Officer           Maj Vincent J. Gottschalk

  _5th Marines_

  (132 officers--2452 enlisted men)

  Commanding Officer           LtCol Raymond L. Murray
  Executive Officer            LtCol Lawrence C. Hays, Jr.
  S-1                          1stLt Alton C. Weed
  S-2                          Maj William C. Esterline
  S-3                          LtCol George F. Waters, Jr.
                                 (to 29 Aug 50)
  Maj                          Charles H, Brush, Jr.
  S-4                          Maj Harold Wallace

  Special Staff, 5th Marines:

  Chaplain                     LtComdr Orlando Ingvolstad, Jr., USN
  Medical Officer              Lt (jg) William E. Larsen, USN
                                 (to 11 Aug 50)
                               LtComdr Byron D. Casteel
  Supply Officer               Capt John V. Huff
  Motor Transport Officer      Capt William F. A. Trax (to 15 Aug 50)
  1stLt                        James O. Alison
  Ordnance Officer             CWO Bill E. Parrish
  Disbursing Officer           Capt Kenneth L. Shaw
  Communications Officer       Maj Kenneth B. Boyd
  Naval Gunfire Officer        Lt Jerry C. Ragon, USN
  Air Officer                  1stLt Leo R. Jillisky

  1st Battalion, 5th Marines:

  Commanding Officer           LtCol George R. Newton
  Executive Officer            Maj Merlin R. Olson
  CO, H & S Company            Capt Walter E. Godenius
  CO, Company A                Capt John R. Stevens
  CO, Company B                Capt John L. Tobin (to 17 Aug 50, WIA)
                               Capt Francis I. Fenton, Jr.
  CO, Weapons Company          Maj John W. Russell

  2d Battalion, 5th Marines:

  Commanding Officer           LtCol Harold S. Roise
  Executive Officer            LtCol John W. Stevens, II
  CO, H & S Company            1stLt David W. Walsh
  CO, Company D                Capt John Finn, Jr. (to 8 Aug 50, WIA)
                               Capt Andrew M. Zimmer (to 17 Aug 50, WIA)
                               1stLt Robert T. Hanifin, Jr.
                                (to 22 Aug 50)
                               1stLt H. J. Smith
  CO, Company E                Capt George E. Kittredge
                                 (to 7 Aug 50, WIA)
                               1stLt William E. Sweeney (to 18 Aug 50)
                               Capt Samuel Jaskilka
  CO, Weapons Company          Maj Walter Gall (to 10 Aug 50)
                               Maj Theodore F. Spiker

  3d Battalion, 5th Marines:

  Commanding Officer           LtCol Robert D. Taplett
  Executive Officer            Maj John J. Canney
  CO, H & S Company            1stLt Arthur E. House, Jr. (to 22 Aug 50)
                               1stLt Harold D. Fredericks
  CO, Company G                1stLt Robert D. Bohn
  CO, Company H                Capt Joseph C. Fegan, Jr.
                                 (to 18 Aug 50, WIA)
                               Capt Patrick E. Wildman
  CO, Weapons Company          Capt Patrick E. Wildman (to 19 Aug 50)
                               Maj Murray Ehrlich

  _Forward Echelon, 1st Marine Air Wing_

  Commanding General           BrigGen Thomas J. Cushman
  Chief of Staff               Col Kenneth H. Weir

  Marine Air Group 33:

  Commanding Officer           Col Allen C. Koonce (to 20 Aug 50)
                               Col Frank G. Dailey
  Deputy Commander             LtCol Norman J. Anderson
  Executive Officer            LtCol Radford C. West
  CO, VMF-214                  LtCol Walter E. Lischeid
  CO, VMF-323                  Maj Arnold A. Lund
  CO, VMF(N)-513               Maj Joseph H. Reinburg
  CO, Hq Squadron              Capt Norman D. Glenn
  CO, Service Squadron         LtCol James C. Lindsay
  CO, MTACS-2                  Maj Christian C. Lee


Citations and Commendations

                        September 29, 1950


The President of the Republic of Korea takes profound pleasure in
citing for outstanding and heroic performance of duty on the field of
battle during the period 2 August 1950–6 September 1950.

                            for the Award of

The First United States Provisional Marine Brigade was a vital element
in the first major counterattack against the enemy.

In late July and early August 1950, the enemy had swept through the
Chulla Provinces and had rapidly approached along the south Korean
coast to a point only 35 miles from the vital port of Pusan. Together
with the 25th Infantry Division, the First United States Provisional
Marine Brigade, from 7 August to 12 August 1950, played a major role in
attacking and driving back the enemy.

During the period 17 August to 20 August 1950 in conjunction with the
24th Infantry Division and units of the 2d Infantry Division, the
First United States Provisional Marine Brigade attacked a great pocket
of enemy forces who had successfully crossed the Naktong River and
established a firm beachhead on the eastern bank. The Brigade attacked
with such determination and skill as to earn the admiration of all who
saw or knew of its battle conduct.

Later, on the night of 31 August-1 September, the enemy again launched
an all-out offensive against the United Nations Forces. The First
United States Provisional Marine Brigade was in Army reserve at that
time. With the 2d Infantry Division, the Brigade again was committed in
almost the same area of its earlier action against the Naktong pocket
in the neighborhood of Yongsan. Again the gallant Marine forces were
instrumental in preventing the enemy from capturing their objective and
cutting the north-south lines of communication of the United Nations

The brilliant performance of duty in combat in Korea of each individual
of the First United States Provisional Marine Brigade is in accord with
the highest traditions of the military service.

This citation carries with it the right to wear the Presidential
Unit Citation Ribbon by each individual of the First United States
Provisional Marine Brigade which served in Korea in the stated period.

                        (Signed)  SYNGMAN RHEE



The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

“For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces
in Korea from 7 August to 7 September 1950. Functioning as a mobile,
self-contained, air-ground team, the First Provisional Marine Brigade,
Reinforced, rendered invaluable service during the fierce struggle to
maintain the foothold established by friendly forces in the Pusan area
during the early stages of the Korean conflict. Quickly moving into
action as numerically superior enemy forces neared the Naktong River
on the central front and penetrated to within 35 miles of Pusan in the
southern sector, threatening the integrity of the entire defensive
perimeter, this hard-hitting, indomitable team counterattacked serious
enemy penetrations at three different points in rapid succession.
Undeterred by roadblocks, heavy hostile automatic weapons and highly
effective artillery fire, extremely difficult terrain and intense heat,
the Brigade met the invaders with relentless determination and, on each
crucial occasion, hurled them back in disorderly retreat. By combining
sheer resolution and esprit de corps with sound infantry tactics and
splendid close air support, the Brigade was largely instrumental in
restoring the line of defense, in inflicting thousands of casualties
upon the enemy and in seizing large amounts of ammunition, equipment
and other supplies. The brilliant record achieved by the unit
during the critical early days of the Korean conflict attests to
the individual valor and competence of the officers and men and
reflects the highest credit upon the First Provisional Marine Brigade,
Reinforced, and the United States Naval Service.”

All of the First Provisional Marine Brigade except the First Amphibian
Tractor Company participated in operations against enemy aggressor
forces in Korea from 7 August to 7 September 1950.

The following reinforcing units of the First Provisional Marine Brigade
participated in operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from
7 August to 7 September 1950:

  Forward Echelon, First Marine Aircraft Wing (less ground personnel)

  Marine Air Group Thirty-Three, Reinforced (less ground personnel)

  Marine Observation Squadron Six plus Helicopter Section, Headquarters

  Air Support Section of Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron Two

  United States Army: Counter Intelligence Corps and Military
      Intelligence Special Detachment personnel attached to the
      Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, First
      Provisional Marine Brigade.

          For the President,
                        (Signed) R. A. ANDERSON
                            _Secretary of the Navy_



Office of the Commanding General

APO 301

                        22 August 1950

Subject: Commendation

Thru: Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division

To: Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade

1. It gives me great pleasure to commend you, your officers and men,
for the part your organization played in the successful attack which
began 17 August 50 against a determined enemy occupying a bridgehead
east of the NAKTONG RIVER in the vicinity of KUJIN-SAN and ended only
when the bridgehead had been eliminated with great loss of men and
equipment to the enemy.

2. Through excellence in leadership and grit and determination in all
ranks, your organization helped materially in preventing the enemy from
penetrating our lines at a critical time. In so doing it has upheld
the fine tradition of the Marines in a glorious manner and by close
cooperation has proved unification of the services a success.

3. Please accept my sincere thanks and congratulations. I ask that you
convey to your splendid command, the traditional “Well Done.”

                                            WALTON H. WALKER
                        _Lieutenant General, United States Army_



APO 24, 28 August 1950

To: Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, APO 25

1. I am pleased and privileged to add my personal commendation to that
of the Army Commander. And, on behalf of all officers and enlisted
personnel of my command, I desire to express our sincere appreciation
for the decisive and valiant offensive actions conducted by your
command which predominately contributed to the total destruction of the
Naktong pocket.

2. The esprit, aggressiveness and sheer determination continuously
displayed by all personnel of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in
the face of fierce enemy resistance and counteraction has aroused the
highest admiration of every member of my command.

                        JOHN E. CHURCH
                            _Maj Gen, USA_



_c/o_ Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Calif.

                                                  Ser 596
                                                  9 Sep 1950

From: The Commanding General

To: All officers and men of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, FMF

  Subj: Letter of commendation from the Commanding General, Eighth
      United States Army in Korea, of 22 August 1950 with first
      endorsement by the Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division

Encl: (1) Copy of subj ltr and endorsement

1. It is with extreme pride in your accomplishments that I publish to
all officers and men of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade the enclosed
copy of a letter from the Commanding General, Eighth United States Army
in Korea, and endorsement by the Commanding General, 24th Infantry
Division, United States Army, commending the Brigade.

2. The realization that your professional skill, esprit de corps,
outstanding bravery, and determination to succeed in all missions
has been specifically commended by the Army and Division Commanders
under whom the Brigade was serving at the time is indeed a source of
gratification to me as it will also be to you.

                        (Signed) E. A. Craig
                                 E. A. CRAIG


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  Aircraft, American:
    AD (Skyraider), 47
    B-29 (Superforts), 47
    F4U (Corsair), 48, 98, 139, 140, 141, 142, 146, 151, 181, 186, 193,
          194, 221, 243
    F-51 (Mustangs), 140, 231
    Four-engine Marine aircraft, 65
    Helicopters, 50, 87, 90, 95, 111, 131, 140, 148, 150
    HO3S-1 helicopter, 50, 95, 101
    Japan-based Air Force planes, 38
    Light Observation planes, 50, 90, 126, 150, 151
    OY-2 observation planes, 95, 110, 224
    R4D transport, 110

  Aircraft, enemy:
    Il-10 ground attack bombers, 29
    PO-2 primary trainers, 29
    YAK-type, 38, 47
    YAK-7B fighters, 29
    YAK-18 advanced trainers, 29
    Russian-made, 17

  Air Force, U. S., 140, 231, 243
    Far East Air Forces, U. S., 47, 110
    Fifth Air Force, 66, 90, 141
    Bomber Command, Far East Air Force, 47

  Air Support, U. S., 47, 110

  Air Support Section. _See_ Marine Units

  Almond, MajGen Edward A., USA, 56, 211

  Alaska, 4

  Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS). _See_ Far
          East Command

  _Alshain_ (AKA) USS, 53

  American Military Government. _See_ Korea, Republic of

  Ammunition, American, 98
    90-mm., 63, 193
    81-mm. mortar, 190
    60-mm. mortar, 153, 235
    3.5-inch rocket, 193, 235

  Ammunition, enemy:
    122-mm., 126
    85-mm., 235

  Anderson, Corpsman William H., USN, 137

  _Anderson_ (APA), USS, 53, 64, 90

  Andong, 96

  Anglo-American blockading force, 47.
    _See also_ Navy, U. S.

  Antung, 21

  Appleman, LtCol Roy E., USA, 34_n_, 45

  Arkadis, 2dLt Nickolas A., 184, 191

  Armageddon, 37

  Army forces, U. S., 174

  Army, U. S. troops. _See_ U. S. Ground Forces; and Army units

  Army, U. S., Units:
    General Headquarters, Far East, 41, 56, 60, 62
    Army of occupation in Japan, U. S., 43
    Eighth U. S. Army in Korea (EUSAK), 43, 45, 46, 47, 57, 59, 62,
          65–68, 69 _map_, 70, 88, 90, 92, 96, 98, 99, 103, 143, 150,
          207, 208, 210–212, 214, 239, 240
    X Corps, 210, 211
    2d Infantry Division, 88, 174, 212–215, 229, 236, 241
    7th Infantry Division, 43, 211
    24th Infantry Division, 43, 45–47, 67, 68, 88, 96, 98, 173–176, 207,
    25th Infantry Division, 43, 45–47, 67, 68, 88, 99, 100, 103–106,
          124, 147, 148, 150, 152, 208, 212, 215
    1st Cavalry Division, 43, 46, 67, 68, 96
    5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 88, 96, 100, 103, 106, 111–113,
          123, 143,152
      1st Battalion, 5th RCT, 123, 124
      2d Battalion, 5th RCT, 112, 152
    9th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 175–179, 182, 186, 187, 196
    29th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 46, 67, 68
    9th Infantry Regiment, 174, 212, 215–218, 228–231, 233, 235
    19th Infantry Regiment, 175, 196
    21st Infantry Regiment:
      1st Battalion, 175, 178, 196
    23d Infantry Regiment, 215, 236, 237, 243
    24th Infantry Regiment, 122, 148
      2d Battalion, 116, 117, 120
    27th Infantry Regiment, 103, 105, 240, 241
      2d Battalion, 103
    32d Infantry Regiment, 211
    34th Infantry Regiment, 46, 175–177, 196
    35th Infantry Regiment, 100, 123
    8th Field Artillery Battalion, 126
    90th Field Artillery Battalion, 147
    159th Field Artillery Battalion, 150
    555th Field Artillery Battalion, 147, 150–152
    2d Engineer Battalion, 215
    72d Tank Battalion, 215
    8076th Surgical Hospital, 194
    Task Force Hill, 174
    Task Force Kean, 101, 112, 120, 122–124, 147, 151, 239
    Task Force Perry, 67
    Task Force Smith, 45, 174
    Korean Military Advisory Group, 33
    Pusan Logistical Command, 88, 96

  Asia, 6, 13, 17, 41

  Austria, 10

  _Badoeng Strait_ (CVE-116), USS, 53, 64, 89, 90, 92, 95, 98, 139, 142

  Bailey, Cant Almarion S., 192_n_, 221

  Barstow, California, 51, 63. _See also_ Marine Corps Supply Depot

  Barth, BrigGen George B., USA, 99, 150

  Barrett, Sgt Edward F., 121

  Bartlett, Col Eugene M., USA, 65

  Bataway, Sgt Melvin R., 168 _pic._

  Batchelor, Maj William L., 143

  Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 48, 58

    Changchun, 13
    Mukden, 7, 13
    Stalingrad, 10, 19, 23, 24
    Tsinan, 13
    Tsushima, 7
    Valmy, 7
    Yalu, 7

  Bean Patch, 166 _pic._, 207, 208, 210, 211, 237, 243

  Blackmon, Sgt Thomas, 109

  _Black Swan_, HMS, 40

  Blank, Lt Howard, 236

  Bohn, 1stLt Robert D., 104, 104_n_, 119, 122, 129_n_, 132, 135,
          135_n_, 136, 137, 201, 201_n_, 203, 204, 206, 228, 233

  Bolkow, TSgt George W., 224

  Bougainville, 52

  Boxer Rebellion, 6

  Brigade Commander. _See_ Craig, BrigGen E. A.

  Brush, Maj Charles H., 174

  Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer), 52

  Buettner, Sgt Lee, 108

  Bulgaria, 16

  Byrnes, James F., U. S. Secretary of State, 2, 3_n_.

  Cahill, 2dLt John H., 104, 105_n_, 106, 108–115, 115_n_, 117,
          119, 204, 206

  Cairo Conference, 1

  Canzona, 1stLt Nicholas A., 156

  Caribbean, 53

  Carr, 1stLt Ira T., 117

  Carson, 2dLt John S., 222

  Casteel, LtCdr Byron D., USN, 194

    Army, 67
    enemy, 97, 123
    Marine, 109–111, 113, 116, 117, 122, 155, 161 _pic._, 163 _pic._,
          186, 206, 227, 237, 239

  Cates, Gen Clifton B., 48, 48_n_, 49_n_, 49, 53, 54, 58, 60, 244

  Central Powers, 7

  Changchon, 144, 146, 147, 151, 152
    ambush, 145 _map_

  Changchun, Battle of, 13

  Changwon, 92–95, 99, 103, 105, 110, 111, 113, 143

  Chemulpo (Inchon), 4, 7

  Chiang Kai-shek, Generalissimo, 12, 14

  Chidester, LtCol Arthur A., 66, 88, 91, 160 _pic._

  Chief of Naval Operations. _See_ Sherman, Adm Forrest P.

  Chief of Staff to General MacArthur. _See_ Almond, MajGen Edward A.,

  China, 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12–14, 16, 23, 25, 53
    Civil War in, 13, 14, 22
    Japanese invasion of, 1937, 8, 10

  China-Russia-Japan Triangle, 3

  Chindong-ni, 100, 103, 103_n_, 104–106, 107 _map_, 110–113, 115, 119,
          120, 123, 124, 126, 128, 129, 132, 147, 148, 150, 152, 208,

  Chinese Civil War, 153

  Chinese Communists, 10, 12, 13, 19, 20

  Chinese Communist Forces (CCF), 20, 31
    8th Route Army, 23, 24
    56th Army, 96
    164th Infantry Division, 21
    166th Infantry Division, 21, 96
    Northeast Democratic United Army, 20

  Chinese Nationalists, 12, 13, 20, 22, 25

  Chinese Nationalist army, 13

  Chinhae, 66, 95, 99, 209

  Chinju, 46, 66, 67, 68, 70, 97, 98, 100, 112, 122, 123, 143

  Chinnampo, 31

  Chistyakov, Gen Ivan (Russian), 10, 19

  Choe Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA, 23, 24

  Chongjin, 21

  Chongju, 36

  Chorwon, 31

  Chukchon-ni, 217, 219

  Chuminjin, 40

  Chunchon, 32, 39, 40

  Church, BrigGen John H., USA, 41, 46, 173–176, 178, 207

  “Citizen-Marines”. _See_ Marine Corps Organized Reserve

  Civil War, U. S., 54

  _Clymer_ (APA), USS, 53, 91, 92

  “Cold War”, 6, 9, 13

  Cole, Lt Doyle, 140

  Collins, Gen J. Lawton, USA, 208

  Combat zone, reconnaissance of, 66

  Commandant of the Marine Corps. _See_ Cates, Gen Clifton B.

  Commander in Chief, Far East. _See_ MacArthur, Gen Douglas

  Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. _See_ Radford, Adm Arthur W.

  Commander Naval Forces, Far East. _See_ Joy, VAdm C. Turner

  Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. _See_ Shepherd, LtGen
          Lemuel C., Jr.

  Commanding General, Eighth Army. _See_ Walker, Gen Walton H., USA

  Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. _See_ Craig,
          BrigGen Edward A.

  Commanding General, 25th Division. _See_ Kean, MajGen W. B.

  Commanding Officer, 5th Marines. _See_ Murray, LtCol R. L.

  Commanding Officer, VMO-6. _See_ Gottschalk, Maj Vincent J.

  Commando parties, 47

    HF net, 142
    radio vans, 88
    SCR-300 radios, 106, 109, 224, 236
    TAD net, 142
    TAO net, 142
    TAR net, 142
    VHF net, 142

  Communism, 9, 13, 14

  Communists, 13, 17, 62
    army, 13
    doctrine, 3
    Empire, 8

  Cottrell, TSgt Johnnie C., 137

  Counselman, 2dLt John D., 136

  Counterattack, enemy, 12–13 Aug 50, 154 _map_

  Cowling, 2dLt David R., 146

  Craig, BrigGen Edward A., 49, 52, 55, 55_n_, 56, 56_n_, 57, 58, 60,
          60_n_, 62, 62_n_, 63–66, 68, 70, 87, 88, 88_n_, 89–95, 99–101,
          105, 111, 111_n_, 112, 112_n_, 120_n_, 123, 125, 128, 128_n_,
          129, 129_n_, 131, 135, 135_n_, 136, 140, 144, 147, 147_n_,
          148, 148_n_, 150, 152, 156, 158 _pic._, 159 _pic._, 173, 174,
          177, 178, 178_n_, 179, 181, 186_n_, 194, 196, 207, 207_n_,
          210–212, 212_n_, 213, 213_n_, 215, 216, 216_n_, 217, 217_n_,
          219, 227_n_, 229, 236–238, 241, 244

  Crowson, SSgt T. Albert, 181, 182, 190

  Cushman, BrigGen Thomas H., 49, 52, 55, 56, 60, 62, 65, 87, 89, 95,
          140, 159 _pic._

  Czar Nicholas II, 3, 9

  Czar, Russian, 7

  Czechoslovakia, 10, 38

  D-Day, Sachon Offensive, 100, 126

  D-Day, Inchon Landing, 210, 211

  Dairen, 4

  Dallin, David J., 9_n_, 12_n_

  Daly, Col John, USA, 151

  Dean, MajGen William F., USA, 45, 46, 67

  DeFazio, T/Sgt Ernest L., 158 _pic._

  Delafield, Wisconsin, 52

  Dennis, S/Sgt Saweren J., 225

  Department of State, U. S., 14, 37

  Deputy Commander, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. _See_ Cushman,
          BrigGen Thomas H.

  Dickerson, T/Sgt Sidney S., 181, 182, 189

  Downs, CWO Willard C., 238

  Doyle, RAdm James H., USN, 24, 53

  Duncan, 2dLt Edward F., 132

  Duncan, T/Sgt David N., 225

  Eddy, 2dLt Rodger E., 184

  El Toro, California, 50, 51, 53, 55

  Emmelman, 2dLt Edward T., 113, 115

  Empress Augusta Bay, 52

  England. _See_ Great Britain

  English, Capt Gearl M., 50, 63, 92

  Erskine, MajGen Graves B., 52, 210

  Estonia, 10

  Eubanks, 1stLt Fred F., Jr., 198

  Europe, 8, 9, 12, 41

  Far East, 1, 3, 4, 6–9, 13, 22, 39, 40, 43, 45, 48, 49

  Far East Command:
    General Headquarters, Tokyo, 41, 56, 60, 62, 64
      Military Intelligence Section, GS, Allied Translator and
          Interpreter Section, 16_n_, 17_n_, 19_n_, 21_n_, 22_n_, 26_n_,
          27_n_, 28_n_, 30_n_, 33_n_, 39_n_, 130_n_

  Fegan, Capt Joseph C., Jr., 104, 104_n_, 119, 120_n_, 120–122, 129,
          135, 135_n_, 136, 137, 151, 155, 201, 201_n_, 203, 204

  Fenton, Capt Francis I., Jr., 189_n_, 190, 195, 196, 196_n_, 198, 219,
          220, 222, 224, 229, 231, 231_n_, 233, 233_n_, 234–236

  Field, 2dLt Paul R., 193

  Finger Ridge, 175–177, 193, 196, 203, 206, 234, 236

  Finn, Capt John, Jr., 113–116

  Florida, 42

  Formosa, 4, 14, 41

  Forney, Col Edward H., 211

  _Fort Marion_ (LSD), USS, 53, 63

  Fox, Capt George C., 190_n_, 192, 192_n_, 195_n_, 196, 196_n_, 197,
          198, 200, 201, 217_n_, 220, 222, 224

  France, 4

  Freeman, Col Paul L., USA, 243

  French Revolution, 7

  Fukuoka, Japan, 65

  Fullerton, TSgt C. R., 192_n_, 193

  Gall, Maj Walter, 117, 117_n_, 129

  Garvin, BrigGen Crump, USA, 66, 87

  Gay, MajGen Hobart R., USA, 46

  Geer, Andrew, 51_n_, 54_n_

  General Headquarters (GHQ). _See_ Far East Command

  Genghis Khan, 13

  Georgia, 42

  Germany, 4, 6, 8–10

  Giaquinto, Cpl Raymond, 136

  Giusti, Maj Ernest H., 48_n_, 140_n_

  Golden Gate Bridge, 64

  Gottschalk, Maj Vincent J., 50

  Great Britain: 27th Infantry Brigade, 2, 14

  Green, A. Wigfall, 34_n_

  Grew, Joseph C., 9_n_

  Guadalcanal, 53, 109

  Guam, Marianas Islands, 42, 52

  Gugeler, Capt R. A., USA, 174_n_

  _Gunston Hall_ (LSD), USS, 53, 63

  Hadong, 67, 98

  Haiti, 52

  Haman, 104, 119, 121

  Hamhung, 20, 31

  Han, Lt (NKPA), 17

  Han River, 40, 173

  Haneda Airport, 56

  Hanifin, Capt R. T., Jr., 113_n_, 114–116, 189

  Harris, MajGen Field, 159 _pic._

  Harvey, Lt(jg) Robert J., USN, 206

  Hawaii, 88

  Hay, John, U. S. Secretary of State, 6

  Helicopters. _See_ Aircraft, American

  Henderson, Cpl Virgil W., 224

  _Henrico_ (APA), USS, 53, 63, 64, 90

  Hetrick, 2dLt Lawrence W., 119, 156

  Hickey, Lt(jg) Bernard L., USN, 194, 219

  Hideyoshi, Japanese war lord, 3

  Hill, Col John G., USA, 174, 176–178, 186

    Hill 88--136, 137
    Hill 91--222, 224, 233
    Hill 99--104, 106, 110, 111, 119, 121, 123
    Hill 102--179, 182, 183, 190, 193, 195, 197, 200
    Hill 109--179, 182–184, 190, 191, 193, 195–198, 200
    Hill 117--179, 181, 182, 190, 191, 195–198, 200, 220, 221, 222, 224,
          225, 227–229
    Hill 125--175, 177, 181, 193, 229, 231, 234–237
    Hill 190--129
    Hill 143--179, 181–184, 190, 191, 195, 201
    Hill 147--179, 184, 186, 201
    Hill 153--179, 184, 186, 201
    Hill 202--147, 153, 155
    Hill 207--175, 178, 179, 183, 201, 203, 204, 206
    Hill 250--146
    Hill 255--103, 104, 110–112, 119, 121–123
    Hill 301--146
    Hill 308--124, 125, 127, 129
    Hill 311--175, 178, 203, 204, 206, 207
    Hill 342--104–106, 109–117, 123, 124, 129
    Hill 347--108
    Cloverleaf, 176–178, 229–231, 233, 236
    Observation, 175–178, 181, 184, 189, 190, 191, 193, 195, 196, 229,
          231, 233, 234, 236
    Red Slash, 179

  Hodge, LtGen John R., USA, 10, 14, 15

  Hodge, TSgt Paul A., 200

  Hongchon, 23

  Houghton, Capt Kenneth J., 144, 146

  Hungary, 10

  Hwachon, 32

  Hwayong-ni, 229–231

  Iceland, 53

  Il-li, 215

  Inchon, 17, 40, 42, 56, 98, 210, 211, 237, 238, 241

  Ingvolstad, LtCdr Orlando, Jr., USN, 194

  Intelligence, U. S.:
    Army, 20, 23_n_
    Captured NK documents, 17, 29
    Japanese maps, 127
    POW interrogations, 28, 29, 31

  Italy, 8

  Itami, Japan, 62, 65, 89
    Air Force Base, 60, 87, 89, 90

  Itazuke, Japan, 243
    Airfield, 90, 141

  “Iron Curtain,” 10

  Iwo Jima, 51, 52

  _Jamaica_, HMS, 40

  James, Cpl Melvin, 121, 121_n_

  Japan, 1–4, 6–9, 41, 43, 45, 46, 56, 57, 61 _map_, 62, 87,
          89, 211, 243
    Celestial Empire, 4
    Russian WWII declaration of war on, 9
    U. S. occupation of, WWII, 9
    Japan sea, 41
    _Kamikaze_ tactics of, 2

  Jaskilka, Capt Samuel, 217, 221, 224

  Johnston, 2dLt Thomas H., 191, 192

  Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), 48, 49, 57–60

  Joint Operations Center (JOC), 141

  Joy, VAdm C. Turner, USN, 41, 48, 49, 53, 56, 57, 70, 211

  _Juneau_ (CL), USS, 40, 47

  Kaechon, 31

  Kaesong, 32, 39

  Kanggye, 31

  Kang-ni, 227, 229

  Kapyong, 40

  Karig, Capt Walter, USNR, 40_n_

  Kean, MajGen William B., USA, 45, 88, 92, 99, 101, 105, 112,
          124, 147, 207

  Keiser, MajGen Lawrence B., USA, 212, 213, 215, 229

  Kim Il Sung, Red Korean prime minister, 16, 22, 23, 25

  Kim Mu Chong, LtGen, NKPA, 19, 20, 25

  Kim Sung Chu, 23

  Kim Ung, LtGen, NKPA, 24

  King, Maj George J., 141_n_

  King, Capt George W., 128

  Kipling, Rudyard, 6

  Kittredge, Capt George E., Jr., 111

  Klein, Lt (jg) Chester L., USN, 194

  Kobe, Japan, 60, 64, 65, 89, 90, 210

  Kochang, 67, 68, 68_n_

  Korea, 1–4, 6–8, 10, 11 _map_, 14–17, 19–21, 23, 24, 32, 37, 41–43,
          45–47, 51, 53, 56, 58–60, 61 _map_, 62, 63, 65, 70, 87–90, 96,
          97, 126, 127, 141, 150, 173, 209, 210, 242, 243
    American landing in, 1871, 3
    Annexation of by Japan, 1910, 7
    Civil War in, 14, 23.
      _See also_ Republic of Korea and North Korean Peoples Democratic
    Conflict in, historical background, 3
    Japanese possession, 1
    North. _See_ People’s Democratic Republic of
    Partition of, 10
    People’s Army. _See_ People’s Democratic Republic of
    People’s Democratic Republic of, 12, 14, 16, 16_n_, 19, 20, 21, 34,
          36, 114–116, 120, 123, 135, 136, 174, 183, 193, 200, 201, 203,
          217, 220, 224, 228, 231, 234, 235, 239
      Agrarian Reform, 16, 21
      People’s Army, 19, 20, 22, 23_n_, 67, 98, 104, 108, 128, 135, 173,
          200, 203, 212, 244
        Air Force, 29
        armament, 21
        Aviation Section of Pyongyang Military Academy, organization
          of, 29
        Casualties, 239
        Commander in Chief. _See_ Kim Il Sung
        conscription program of, 31
        Decoration “Hero of the Korean Democratic People’s Republic”, 25;
          “Order of the National Flag, 1st Class”, 25
        Deputy Commander in Chief. _See_ Choe Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA
        Division Headquarters, organization of, 26
        First Amphibious Operation in Korea, 39
        Front Headquarters, organization of, 26
        infantry division, organization of, 27
        invasion of South Korea, 32, 37, 44 _map_
        Order of Battle in, 35 _map_
        organization of, 26
        rifle regiment, organization of, 27
        rifle company, organization of, 27
        rifle platoon, organization of, 27
        spies, 22
        strength of, 213
        training of, 22, 31, 32
          I Corps, 25
          II Corps, 25
          III Corps, 25
          105th Armored Division, 21, 29, 32, 39, 97
          1st Infantry Division, 20, 25, 32, 39
          2d Infantry Division, 20, 21, 32, 39, 215
          3d Infantry Division, 20, 30, 32, 39
          4th Infantry Division, 21, 32, 39, 174, 175, 186, 196, 203,
          214, 228, 240
          5th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 39
          6th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 39, 96–98, 100, 106, 108,
          112, 117, 124, 147, 153, 239
          7th Infantry Division, 21, 22
          8th Infantry Division, 21, 22
          9th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 214, 216, 219, 227
          10th Infantry Division, 215
          12th Infantry Division, 21, 22
          13th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 33
          14th Infantry Division, 21, 22
          15th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 33, 39
          10th Mechanized Infantry Division, 21, 22
          849th Anti-tank Regiment, 29
          5th Infantry Regiment, 174
          6th Infantry Regiment, 96
          13th Infantry Regiment, 96, 117
          14th Infantry Regiment, 96
          15th Infantry Regiment, 96, 117
          16th Infantry Regiment, 174
          18th Infantry Regiment, 174, 182, 190, 203
          206th Mechanized Infantry Regiment, 29, 30
          107th Medium Tank Regiment, 29, 174
          109th Medium Tank Regiment, 29
          203d Medium Tank Regiment, 29
          83d Motorcycle Regiment, 96–98, 139, 147, 239
          308th Armored Battalion, 29
      Aviation Society, 28
      Labor Party of, 25
      Minister of National Defense. _See_ Choe Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA.
      Navy, 40
      People’s Assembly at Pyongyang, 15
      People’s Committee, 12
      Prime Minister. _See_ Kim Il Sung
      Supreme People’s Council, 16, 24
    population of, 42
    Republic of, 15, 16, 16_n_, 21–23, 26, 33, 34, 36–38, 47, 62, 67, 214
      American Military Government of, 15
      army, 16, 33, 34, 40, 45
      Army units:
        Capital Division, 34, 214
        1st Infantry Division, 34, 214
        2d Infantry Division, 34
        3d Infantry Division, 34, 36, 214
        5th Infantry Division, 34, 36
        6th Infantry Division, 34, 214
        7th Infantry Division, 34
        8th Infantry Division, 34, 214
        17th Regiment, 34
      Interim Legislature of, 15
      invasion of, 17, _map_ front endpaper
      National Assembly of, 15, 16
      Navy units: 1st Korean Marine Regiment, 238
      Security Force, 15
    Russian Occupation of, 1945, 10, 19, 20
    South. _See_ Republic of
    Terrain, 42
    trusteeship of, 2, 14, 15
    United States occupation of, 10, 16
    Volunteer Army, 19, 20, 23

  Kosong, 100, 131, 132, 135–137, 139, 140, 143, 148, 156, 244

  Kosong Turkey Shoot, 139, 146

  Kremlin, 19, 21, 23

  Krulak, Col Victor H., 49, 53

  Kumchon, 67, 68

  Kum River, 46, 96, 97, 173

  Kumwan, 68_n_

  Kunsan, 96, 97, 238

  Kurtz, SSgt Charles F., Jr., 135

  Kwangju, 36, 97

  Kyoto, 60

  Landrum, Col Eugene M., USA, 65, 68, 88, 92

  Latham, Henry J., 159 _pic._

  Latvia, 10

  Lawson, TSgt Frank J., 197

  League of Nations, 37

  Lee Hwal, Col, NKPA, 28

  Lenin, Nickolai, 13

  Lennon, 2dLt Thomas P., 206

  Liaotung Peninsula, 4, 7, 8
    Russian 25-year lease of, 6

  Lischeid, LtCol Walter E., 98

  Lischeski, TSgt F. J., 144_n_, 147

  “Long March”, 25

  Lueddeke, Lt Gustave F., 101

  Lund, Maj Arnold A., 90, 139, 140

  MacArthur, Gen of the Army Douglas, 9, 33, 38, 40, 45, 48, 49, 53,
          56–60, 62, 210, 211, 239, 240

  McMullen, TSgt Orval F., 191, 195, 200, 220, 222

  McNeely, Maj Morgan J., 113, 132, 135

  Macy, Sgt Jack, 110

  Main Supply Route (MSR):
    enemy, 47
    Marine, 94, 104, 106, 111, 112, 115, 117, 120, 120_n_, 122–124, 129,
          135, 136, 143, 151, 156, 175, 177–179, 181, 182, 190, 193,
          195, 196, 203, 216–222, 224, 225, 227–229, 231–236

  Manchukuo, 8. _See also_ Manchuria.

  Manchuria, 4, 7–10, 13, 20, 21, 23, 24, 31. _See also_ Manchukuo.
    puppet state in, 8
    Russia in (World War II), 9

  Mao Tse-tung, 12, 14, 25

  Marines, U. S., 3, 47, 52, 53, 56–58, 62–65, 70, 90, 92, 105, 106,
          108, 113, 116, 119, 123, 125, 128, 129, 157 _pic._, 176, 182,
          183, 240, 244
    Air, 60, 62, 70, 98, 122, 132, 134, 186, 190, 207, 229, 240
    Air crews, 168 _pic._
    Air-ground team, 57, 68, 89, 91, 99, 238, 239, 244
    Air Support Section, 87, 99
    Equipment, 51
    Expansion program, 58
    Ground forces, 53, 54, 60, 62, 65, 70, 88, 93, 95, 98, 108, 140;
      landing of, 90
    request for, 47
      1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 48, 89
      2d Marine Aircraft Wing, 48
      Marine Air Group-33, 49, 53, 60, 64, 68, 87, 90, 116, 122, 136,
          140, 141, 181, 186, 187, 193, 203, 204, 221, 233, 242, 243
      VMF-214, 89, 98, 141, 243
      VMF-323, 89, 90, 98, 139–143
      VMF(N)-513, 90, 141, 230, 230_n_, 243
      VMO-6, 50, 66, 70, 89, 90, 95, 101, 110, 126, 140, 141, 194, 208,
          209, 222, 224, 233, 243
    Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron Two (MTACS-2), 89, 95, 141, 142
    Marine Helicopter Squadron (Experimental) One (HMX-1), 50
    Fleet Marine Force, 48, 141
    Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, 48, 59
    Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, 48, 55, 56, 63, 87
    V Amphibious Corps, 52
    1st Marine Division, 48, 52, 56, 58, 59, 60, 87, 210, 211, 213, 216
    2d Marine Division, 48
    1st Provisional Marine Brigade, 49, 50, 52–60, 62–65, 68, 70, 87–93,
          96, 98–101, 103, 105, 108, 111, 112, 124–126, 129, 136, 141,
          148, 152, 155, 173, 175, 176, 178, 186, 194, 207–209, 211,
          212, 219, 222, 229, 234, 235, 237–244;
      Action on Southwestern Front, 7–13 Aug 50, 102 _map_;
      activation of, 49;
      Advance Party, 56, 61, 65, 70;
      air component, number of personnel, 51;
      air-ground team, 56, 140, 141;
      departure of, 54, 55;
      expansion of, 60;
      ground forces, number of personnel, 51;
      ground elements, 64, 141;
      mobilization of, 59;
      Observation Section, organization of, 141;
      rear echelon, 93
    1st Marine Regiment, 210
    5th Marine Regiment, 49–52, 91, 94, 105, 126, 177–179, 194, 195,
          209–211, 213, 216, 217, 221, 236;
      CO. _See_ Murray, LtCol Raymond L.;
      organization of, 49;
      4.2-inch Mortar Company, 105;
      Anti-Tank Company, 103, 193, 221
    1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 63, 93, 94, 111, 119, 123–125, 127–129,
          144, 147, 148, 152, 178, 179, 187, 189, 194, 196, 197, 206,
          216, 217, 219, 221, 224, 225, 227–231, 233, 235–237;
      CO. _See_ Newton, LtCol George R.
    Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 127, 129, 190–193, 195–198,
          146, 155, 200, 201, 203, 219–225, 227, 229–231, 236, 237
    Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 123, 127, 129, 144, 146, 147,
          153, 155, 189–193, 195, 197, 198, 200, 219–222, 225, 227,
          229–231, 234–237
    Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 127, 189, 190, 193
    Anti-tank assault platoon, 193
    2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 94, 110, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 129,
          131, 132, 142, 148, 152, 178, 179, 181–184, 186, 187, 189,
          192, 194, 196, 200, 206, 216, 217, 221, 222, 224, 227;
      CO, _see_ Roise, LtCol H. S.
    Company D, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 112–117, 131, 132, 181–184,
          189, 190, 217, 221, 224, 227, 228
    Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 111, 113, 114, 116, 181, 183,
          184, 186, 190, 217, 221, 224, 227
    Weapons Company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 117
    3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 94, 103–106, 110, 111, 119, 120, 122,
          129, 132, 135–137, 139, 142, 144, 148, 150–152, 177–179, 196,
          206, 216, 227, 229, 231, 233, 236, 237;
      CO. _See_ Taplett, LtCol Robert D.
    Company G, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 104, 106, 111, 112, 114, 119,
          121, 122, 132, 135, 136, 151, 201, 203, 204, 206, 227, 228,
          230, 231, 233
    Company H, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 104, 111, 119–122, 135–137,
          143, 151, 201, 203, 204, 206, 228, 230, 231
    Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 230
    7th Marine Regiment, 210
    9th Marine Regiment, 52
    1st Battalion, 11th Marines, 51, 92, 103, 116, 122, 125, 126, 136,
          139, 152, 176, 182, 187, 203, 208, 212, 222, 227, 228, 233
    Company A, 1st Engineer Battalion, 51, 103, 119, 128, 156, 195, 201,
          219, 225, 227
    Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, 50, 63, 187, 192, 193, 203,
          204, 222, 234
    Company A, 1st Motor Transport Battalion, 51
    1st Amphibious Tractor Company, 63
    Company A, 1st Shore Party Battalion, 143
    Company C, 1st Medical Battalion, 143
    Brigade Reconnaissance Company Detachment, 105, 131, 144, 227
    Brigade Medical Section, 143
    Combat Service Detachment, 92
    Brigade Air Section, 110
    Malaria and Epidemic Control Unit, 194
    First Replacement Draft, activation of, 60

  Marine Corps, U. S., 48, 50, 52, 56–58, 60, 92, 144, 147, 151, 153.
          _See also_ Marines, U. S.
    Air Station, El Toro, California. _See_ El Toro, California
    Hymn, 91
    Organized Reserve, mobilization of, 58
    Schools. _See_ Quantico, Virginia
    Supply Depot, Barstow, California, 51, 63

  Martin, Col Robert R., USA, 46

  Marx, Karl, 13

  Masan, 66, 70, 88, 93, 94, 96, 97, 99, 100, 103, 104, 120, 122, 123,
          143, 148, 207

  Matthews, Francis P., 48

  Medical Aid Stations, 194

  Mediterranean, 210_n_

  Mediterranean Fleet. _See_ Navy, U. S., 6th Fleet

  Mesanjin, 31

  Michaelis, Col John H., USA, 105, 106

  Millar, TSgt Stanley G., 192

  Miryang, 152, 173, 176, 177, 194, 211, 212;
    River, 173

  Mokpo, 97, 98

  Mokpu, 42, 97

  Mongolia, 8, 10

  Mongols, 10, 20

  Montross, Lynn J., 50_n_, 54_n_

  Morgan, TSgt Ray, 121

  Moscow, 1, 9, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, 26;
    Conference, 1945, 141

  Moses, Captain Vivian, 140

  Muccio, Ambassador John J., 15, 33, 34, 37

  Muetzel, 2dLt Francis W., 158 _pic._, 190_n_, 196_n_, 198, 217, 220,
          222, 224, 233_n_, 236, 237

  Mukden, 7;
    Battle of, 7, 13

  Munsan, 39

  Murray, LtCol Raymond L., 51–53, 63, 65, 65_n_, 70, 90, 91, 91_n_,
          101, 111, 112, 122, 124, 124_n_, 125, 127, 127_n_, 128,
          128_n_, 129, 131, 132, 135, 143, 148_n_, 152, 176, 177–179,
          186, 186_n_, 187, 196, 201, 213, 216, 217, 227, 229, 230, 233

  Myong-ni, 216, 217, 221, 224, 228

  Naktong, 96, 174, 214, 215, 237, 239, 240, 241;
      Bulge, 150, 173, 174, 175, 180, 185 _map_, 203, 206, 212, 213,
          215, 240, 241, 243;
      River, 47, 66–68, 88, 150, 172 _pic._, 203, 207, 215, 231, 240
    First Battle of, 17–19 Aug 50, 173–206, 199 _map_, 202 _map_,
          205 _map_;
      1st Provisional Marine Brigade Objective One, 129, 176–179,
          192, 195, 198;
      Objective Two, 178, 201, 203, 204;
      Objective Three, 178, 179, 204, 206
    Second Battle of, 3–6 Sep 50, 207-235, 218 _map_, 223 _map_,
          232 _map_;
      1st Provisional Marine Brigade Objective One, 217, 220,
          221, 227, 229;
      Objective Two, 222

  Nam Il, LtGen, NKPA, 24, 25

  Nam River, 88

  Namwon, 97

  Nanking, 23

  Nanam, 20, 31

  Naval Blockade:
    United Nations, 40;
    U. S., of Formosa, 41;
    of Korean Coast, 41

  Naval Forces in the Far East, 41

  Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, California, 64

  Naval Support, U. S., 47

  Navy, U. S.:
    Sixth Fleet, U. S., 58, 210_n_
    Seventh Fleet, U. S., 41, 211
    Task Force 77, 47
    Task Group 53.7, 63, 64, 89–91
    Task Group 96.5, 40
    PhibGroup One, 211
    Amphibious Planning Group 1, 53
    Task Unit 53.7.3, 63

  Nazi invasion of Russia, 8

  Nelson, Lt(jg) Bentley G., USN, 194

  _Newsweek_, 39_n_

  Newton, LtCol George R., 93, 94, 119, 123, 123_n_, 124, 124_n_, 125,
          127, 128, 129, 146, 147, 155, 187, 189, 191, 195, 198, 200,
          201, 217, 217_n_, 219, 221, 222, 224, 225

  _New York Times_, 16_n_

  No Name Ridge, 179, 180

  Nonsan, 174

  Oakley, 2dLt Arthur A., 113–115

  Obong-ni, 183, 184

  Obong-ni Ridge, 162 _pic._, 175–179, 181, 185 _map_, 187, 191–196, 199
          _map_, 200–203, 206, 231, 233, 234, 236

  Obregon, PFC Eugene A., 161 _pic._

  O’Donnell, MajGen Emmett, USAF, 47

  Offensive, Sachon, 145 _map_, 148 _map_

  Okinawa, 41, 46, 51

  Oliver, Robert T., 12_n_

  Olson, Maj Merlin R., 236, 237;
    LtCol, 123_n_, 124_n_, 125_n_, 129_n_, 217_n_, 233_n_

  O’Mahoney, Maj Thomas J., 92

  Ongjin Peninsula, 17, 32, 39

  “Open Door” Policy, 6

  Osaka, 60

  Osan, 45, 74

  Oso-ri, 127, 128

  Pacific Ocean, 7, 8

  Paedun-ni, 100, 127, 129, 131, 132, 149 _map_

  Pang, MajGen, NKPA, 97

  Partridge, MajGen Earle E., USAF, 66, 70

  Patton, Gen George S., USA, 45

  Pearl Harbor, T. H., 55

  Peiping, 24

  Peleliu, 210

  Pendleton, Camp Joseph H., California, 48–51, 51_n_, 52, 53, 87, 90

  Pentagon, 41, 57, 59, 60

  Perry, Commodore Matthew C., 3

  Pescadores Group, 4

  Peters, SSgt Carl W., 168 _pic._

  Philippine Islands, 6, 41

  _Pickaway_ (APA), USS, 53, 63, 65, 91

  Plan Able, 58, 60

  Plan Baker, 58

  Pochon, 39

  Pohang-dong, 46, 47, 67, 96

  Poland, 10, 38

  “Police Action”, 39

  Pomeroy, 1stLt William D., 129, 204, 234, 235

  Port Arthur, 4, 7

  Potsdam Conference, July 1947, 9_n_

  Pugok, 131

  Pusan, 18, 42, 47, 62, 65–67, 70, 87–89, 92, 93, 95–97, 99, 141, 173,
          208–211, 213, 214, 236–241
    Harbor, 89, 91
    Perimeter, 57, 96, 142, 150, 174, 210, 211, 213, 214, 236, 237,
          239–242, 244. _See_ map inside back cover
    Terminal, 91
    University, 237

  Pyongyang, 4, 12, 14–16, 16_n_, 20–24, 26, 29, 34, 47, 214
    Military Academy, 28, 30, 31

  Quantico, Virginia, 50, 52

  Radford, Adm Arthur W., USN, 48, 49

  Reeves, MSgt Harold, 116

  Regimental Combat Team (RCT). _See_ Army units, Marine units

  Reid, 2dLt Wallace J., 113, 115

  Reinburg, Maj Joseph H., 230

  Rhodes, 1stLt Nye G., 158 _pic._

  Richards, 1stLt Wayne E., 195

  Robinson, SSgt Robert, 108

  Roise, LtCol Harold S., 94, 110, 111, 111_n_, 112–114, 116, 129, 131,
          132, 178, 181, 189, 216, 217, 219, 221, 222

  Roosevelt, President Franklin D., 2, 3

  Rumania, 10

  Russell, Maj John W., 189

  Russia, 1, 2, 4, 6–8, 13, 140;
      Czarist, 6;
      Nazi invasion of, 8.
      _See also_ Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    Baltic Fleet, 7

  Russian-Japanese Border Clashes, 8

  Russian revolution of 1917, 8, 13

  Russo-Japanese War, 3, 6

  Sachon, 98, 100, 122, 125, 129, 136, 140, 142–144, 146–148, 156, 239

  Sachon Offensive, 130 _map_, 133 _map_, 134 _map_

  Sachon Offensive Situation Map, 149

  Sadong, 31

  Saint Johns Military Academy, 52

  Saipan, 53

  Sakhalin Island, 7, 8

  Samchok, 40

  Samchonpo, 156

  San Clemente Island, 63

  San Diego, California, 53, 63, 210

  Sangnyong-ni, 112, 113, 124, 128, 129

  Sasebo, Japan, 60, 64

  Schryver, 1stLt Hugh C., 144, 190

  Scott, Hugh D., Jr., 159 _pic._

  Sebilian, 1stLt Robert C., 191

  Secretary of the Navy. _See_ Matthews, Francis P.

  Seoul, 6, 32, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42, 46, 96, 98, 174
    attack on, 39
    fall of, 40
    Russian legation at, 6
    strafing of, 17
    University, 208, 214

  Shepherd, LtGen Lemuel C., Jr., 49, 53, 55, 158 _pic._

  Sharp, Capt L. D., Jr., 64_n_

  Sherman, Adm Forrest P., USN, 48, 49, 58, 60

  Sherman, Gen William T., USA, 54

  Shinka, 2dLt M. J., 181_n_, 182, 183

    American: LST Q0119, 143
    Enemy: Torpedo Boat, 39

  Siban-ni, 98

  Siberia, 9, 21

  _Silcily_ (CVE), USS, 90, 95, 98, 142

  Simpson, PFC Benjamin C., 192

  Sinchon, 31

  Singi, 123, 124

  “Sino-Japanese War”, 4, 6

  Sinuiju, 20, 21, 31, 32

  Sinuiju Airfield, 28

  Skelt, 1stLt Ernest P., 238

  Smith, LtCol Charles B., USA, 45

  Smith, 1stLt H. J., 221, 224

  Smith, 1stLt James W., 146

  Smith, MajGen Oliver P., 159 _pic._, 210, 211

  Smolensk, 24

  Snedeker, Col Edward W., 65, 70, 90, 91, 219

  Snyder, 1stLt Joris J., 230

  Soviet Russia, _See_ Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

  Spain, 37

  Spanish-American War, 1898, 6

  Spotter, LtComdr Otto E., USN, 195, 219

  Stalin, Joseph, 1–3, 8, 9, 13

  Stalingrad, Battle of, 10, 19, 23, 24

  Stephens, Cpl Raymond E., 224

  Stevens, Capt John R., 191, 192, 192_n_, 195, 197, 198, 200, 201, 217,
          219, 220, 222, 224;
    Maj., 144_n_, 146, 190_n_, 196_n_, 233_n_

  Stewart, Maj Frank R., Jr., 213, 214_n_

  Stewart, Col J. L., 55, 56_n_, 62_n_, 65, 65_n_, 66, 66_n_, 68_n_, 70,
          70_n_, 87, 87_n_, 88, 91, 91_n_, 99, 100, 100_n_, 101, 148,
          150, 151, 178_n_, 208, 216, 217, 219, 237_n_, 244

  Strategic triangle. _See_ China-Russia-Japan triangle

  Strategy, Communist:
    “end run,” 65, 67
    United Nations: delaying action, 40, 45, 46, 65

  Stratemeyer, LtGen George E., USAF, 41, 60

  Struble, VAdm Arthur D., USN, 41, 211

  Summers, PFC Ralph J., 161 _pic._

  Sunam-dong, 136

  Sunchon, 97

  Suwon, 40, 41, 45

  Sweeney, 1stLt William E., 113, 114, 181_n_, 184, 191

  Sweet, 2dLt Granville G., 192, 193, 222

  Syngman, Dr. Rhee, 1, 15, 33, 158 _pic._, 209

  Syngman, Madame Rhee, 209

  Tactical Air Control Center, U. S. Air Force (TACC), 141

  Tactical Air Control Party, 110, 139

    NKPA, 25
      air, 22
      artillery, 22
      tank, 22
    Soviet cold-war, 39

  Taedabok Pass, 131, 132

  Taegu, 36, 65, 66, 70, 88, 90, 92, 96, 98, 141, 173, 213, 240, 241

  Taejon, 36, 40, 46, 67, 174, 175

  Taepyong-ni, 110, 113, 114

  Taesil-li, 127, 128, 149 _map_

  Tanghong-ni, 143

  Taplett, LtCol Robert D., 103–105, 105_n_, 110, 111, 119, 122, 132,
          135, 135_n_, 136, 143, 148, 150–152, 177, 178, 201, 201_n_,
          204, 206, 216, 227_n_, 228, 230, 233, 233_n_, 236

  Tarawa, 53

  Tartars, 10

  Taylor, 1stLt David S., 147, 190

  Tennant, Lt William G., USN, 194

  Terrio, PFC Donald, 121, 121_n_

  Thirty-eighth Parallel, 10, 12, 14–17, 21, 32, 37–39, 42, 59

  Tobin, Cape John L., 123, 125, 144, 146, 153, 155, 189, 190

  Togo, Adm, Japanese, 7

  Tokkong-ni, 113, 117

  Tokyo, 41, 43, 49, 56, 59, 60, 62, 65, 210, 211, 213, 216

  Tompkins, Pauline, 6_n_

  Tosan, 100, 103, 111, 112, 123, 124, 129, 149 _map_

    motor transport, 55
      cargo trucks, 88
      jeeps, 131, 140
      M-44 armored personnel carriers, 151
      motorcycles, 140
      2½-ton trucks, 131
      Army trucks, 93, 177
      Marine truck, 166 _pic._
    enemy, 139, 140
      motorcycles, 139, 140, 158 _pic._

  Trans-Siberian Railroad, 4

    Japan-England, treaty of alliance, 1902, 6
    Japan-Korea, treaty of amity, 1887, 4
    Portsmouth, treaty of, 5 September 1905, 7
    Russia-China treaty of alliance, 1896, 4
    Russia-China, treaty of alliance, 1902, 6
    Russia-Japan, 1896, 7
    Russia-Japan, 1898, 7
    Russia-Nationalist China treaty of friendship, 8, 13

  Triple Intervention (Russia-Germany-France), 4

  Truce of the Bear, 6

  Truman, President Harry S., 15, 38, 41, 45, 49, 58

  Trygve Lie (U. N. Secretary-General), 37

    battle of, 13
    fall of, 13

    battle of, 7
    Straits, 90

  Tugok, 175–177, 179, 182, 186, 189, 190, 193, 196, 234, 236

  Uffelman, 1stLt Paul R., 184

  Uijongbu, 39, 194

  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14,
          22, 25, 38, 64
    American Joint Commission, 15
    army, 22
    army of occupation, 24
    Nationalist China treaty of friendship and alliance, 1945, 13
    withdrawal of occupation troops in Korea, 16

  United Nations, 15, 16, 34, 37–39, 214
    Commander. _See_ MacArthur, Gen Douglas
    Commission on Korea, 15, 38
    Ground Forces, 66
    forces, 96, 141, 228, 241, 243
    General Assembly, 15
    Naval blockade, 40
    Security Council, 38, 45, 240

  United States, 1, 3, 8, 13–15, 33, 34, 38, 40, 42, 50, 60
    air-ground team, 48, 49
    ground forces, 45–47, 120
      commitment of, 38
      first enemy contact by, 45
    Lend Lease, 140
    Naval blockade of Korean coast, 41

  _Valley Forge_ (CV), USS, 48

  Valmy, Battle of, 7

  Van Orman, LtCol Ellsworth G., 91

  Vasilev, LtGen, Russian, 22, 23

  Vladivostok, 4, 21
    Occupation of by Japan, 8

  Waegwan, 67, 96

  Walker, LtGen Walton H., USA, 45, 57, 62, 65–67, 70, 88, 89, 91, 92,
          100, 104, 174

  Wang Yun, Col, NKPA, 29

  Wang Yun, MajGen, NKPA, 29

  Washington, D. C., 48, 49, 52, 58

  Washington, University of, 52

      antitank guns, 117, 131, 132, 137, 192, 222
      automatic weapons, 131
      “burp guns,” 113. _See also_ automatic weapons
      hand grenades, 120, 183
      howitzers, 122-mm, 207
      machineguns, 117, 124, 131, 135, 182–184
      machinegun, 7.62-mm., 30
      mortar, 111
      mortar, 120-mm., 230
      rifle, 85-mm., 30, 193, 221
      self-propelled guns, 76-mm., 29
      semiautomatic pistol, Tokarev, 21
      small arms, 140, 155, 216, 224
      tanks, Russian-made, 16
      tank, T-34, 21, 30, 45, 46, 63, 162 _pic._, 175, 193, 208, 216,
          221, 222, 228, 234
    United States:
      guns, 20-mm., 140
      guns, 75-mm., 46
      guns, 90-mm., 50, 132, 137, 192, 193, 203, 222
      howitzers, 105-mm., 46, 50, 55, 126, 139, 171 _pic._, 182, 240
      howitzers, 155-mm., 46
      machineguns, .50-caliber, 143
      mortars, 60-mm., 114, 116, 131, 135, 153, 182, 197, 236
      mortars, 81-mm., 117, 155, 184, 197, 200, 206, 220, 230, 235, 236
      mortar, 4.2-inch, 105, 155, 184
      rifle, 75-mm. recoilless, 104, 183, 193, 204, 219, 221
      rifle, M-1, 238
      rockets, air, 168 _pic._
      rocket, 2.36″, 194
      rocket, 5-inch, 47
      rocket launchers, 3.5″, 46, 52, 153
      tanks, 143, 157 _pic._, 160 _pic._, 167
      tanks, light, 46, 150, 151
      tanks, M-24, 43
      tanks, M-26 “Pershing,” 50, 63, 93, 129, 137, 144, 163 _pic._,
          192, 193, 203, 217, 219, 222, 234, 235
      tanks, M4A3 medium, 50
      supporting arms, 171 _pic._

  Weir, Col Kenneth H., 56_n_, 62_n_, 87, 89, 95

  Westerman, 1stLt Jack, 132, 135

  Whampoa Military Academy, 23, 24

  Wheatley, SSgt John I., 121

  White, Sgt Bryan K., 225

  _Whiteside_ (AKA), USS, 53

  Williams, 2dLt John O., 120, 121, 203

  Winter, 2dLt Robert M., 217, 219, 222

  Wirth, 2dLt Leroy K., 116, 182, 189

  “Wolfhounds.” _See_ 27th Infantry Regiment

  Wonsan, 21

  Wood, LtCol Ransom H., 51, 94, 126, 178

  World War I, 7, 10, 52, 53
    Armistice ending, 8

  World War II, 1, 8, 10, 13, 19, 24–26, 37, 38, 43, 45, 48, 50–54, 56,
          109, 140, 173

  Wright, MSgt Edward A., 190

  Wright, BrigGen Edwin K., USA, 56, 62, 211

  Yaban-san, 105, 112, 117, 119

    conference, 2
    agreement, 8

  Yalu River, 4, 21, 42, 47;
    battle of, 7

  Yellow Sea, 41, 98

  Yenan, 19, 23, 25;
    Military School, 23, 25

  Yonchon, 39

  Yongdok, 96

  Yongdungpo, 38, 96

  Yongsan, 164 _pic._, 174, 175, 196, 212, 216, 217, 222, 237

  Yosu, 97

  Young, 2dLt James R., 230

  Yugoslavia, 38

  Yu Kyong Su, LtGen, NKPA, 25

  Zimmer, Capt Andrew M., 116, 116_n_, 117, 117_n_, 129_n_, 131, 132,
          181, 181_n_, 182, 183, 189, 189_n_


  For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government
  Printing Office
  Washington 25, D. C. - Price $2

[Illustration: (Map of Korea, indicating battle fronts in July, 1950.)]


AUG.-SEP. 1950


Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page

When illustrations had no captions or useful headings that could
be used as captions, Transcriber added them and placed them in
parentheses, usually by copying them from the List of Illustrations on
page ix. Those parenthetical captions will be visible only in versions
of this eBook that do not display the actual illustrations.

The first two maps are identical to the last two maps.

Footnote 265, originally footnote 7 on page 148: “18 May 5” was printed
that way, with an incomplete year.

Footnote 278, originally footnote 6 on page 176: “Plan 13-60” was
printed that way. All other Plans are numbered as “nn-50”, so this may
be a misprint.

Page 245: Transcriber added “BuAer” and “LSD” to the Glossary.

Page 266: “Ground,” an index entry following “Marine Helicopter
Squadron (Experimental)” under “Marines,” did not include a page

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "U.S. Marine Operations in Korea 1950-1953 Volume I (of 5) - The Pusan Perimeter" ***

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