Korean Service
HOME
Purple Heart
     Infantry Weapons     
     THE WHOLE SITE     
     Combat Photos     

KOREAN WAR TIMELINE

Prelude To Tragedy; Major Events ; Blunders; Secret Decisions; Lost Chances

History  Bert '53  On Line

SOUTH KOREA
A Study
KW OVERVIEW
Casualties
NORTH KOREA
A Study
1950 1951 1952 1953

Prelude To Tragedy

7/24/45

Potsdam Conference, President Truman asks for USSR help

8/6/45

Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima

8/8/45

120,000 Russian troops invaded Manchuria and Korea

9/9/45

US accepts Japanese surrender in Korea, South of 38th parallel

11/14/47

U.N. Resolution to remove troops from Korea after national elections.

2/8/48

North Korean People's Army (NK) officially activated

4/8/48

President Truman withdraws US troops from Korea

8/15/48

The Republic of Korea was proclaimed. Syngman Rhee was elected first president
   (by a legislature formed by popular elections conducted in May)

9/9/48

Democratic People's Republic of Korea claims jurisdiction over all Korea

1/10/49

Huai-Hai, one of the most decisive battles in history

Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Forces (CCF), without control of the air, trapped a half-million-man Nationalist army between the Huai River and the Lung Hai Railway and killed or captured them all.
   Chiang Kai-shek defeated Mao in 1934 but 10,000 of Mao's 80,000 guerillas survived fifteen major battles in the 8,000 mile "Long March," gained strength fighting Japan, and forced Chiang's retreat to Taiwan (Formosa) after Huai-Hai.

6/29/49

Last US troops leave South Korea
   Korean Military Advisory Group formed (KMAG, 200 men)

8/5/49

Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson said China's leaders had foresworn their heritage
   Said they had become subservient to a foreign power, Russia.

10/1/49

Mao Zedong sees US as China's most dangerous enemy

Proclaims China as The People's Republic, backed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA)

1950

1/12/50

Acheson confirms Korea and Taiwan outside American protection

US has no contingency plans should North Korea invade

2/14/50

China and Russia sign a "Mutual Assistance" agreement if involved in a "State Of War"
   Mao agrees to Kim Il Sung's plan to invade South Korea.

6/1/50

NK strength at 135,000, with seven assault divisions and 150 T34 tanks

6/25/50

US Intelligence Agencies don't expect North Korea to invade

6/25/50

North Korea Invades

6/25/50

Yak-9P fighters strafe Kimpo and Republic of South Korean (ROK) Air Units at Seoul

6/25/50

UN Security Council demands NK stop its attack and return to its borders

6/28/50

B-26 aircraft of the 13th and 8th Bomb Squadron suffer casualties at Han

6/29/50

ROK Capitol Seoul falls, Han River bridges destroyed
   Most of ROK army's best trapped on northern side.

6/30/50

NK 3rd Division (NK-3) crosses Han River; NK drives down Peninsula

6/30/50

President Truman commits US Troops to UN

US completely unprepared to fight major infantry war anywhere

7/2/50

MacArthur asks Washington for a Marine Regimental Combat Team

7/3/50

ROK forces mistakenly attacked by US and Australian Air Units

7/5/50

Task Force Smith Crushed near Osan

Two poorly supported Infantry Companies sacrificed against tank-led Divisions

7/6/50

Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit in Taejon, with 12 Army Nurses.

7/7/50

United Nations Command created, under General Douglas MacArthur

7/8/50

3rd Battalion, 34th Regiment, crushed at Chonan

7/10/50

Fifth Air Force destroys many North Korean tanks and troops at Pyongtaek
   US troops retreat along the Seoul-Taejon road.

7/12/50

US Eighth Army takes command of ground operations in Korea

7/13/50

Lt. General Walton Walker takes command of ground forces in Korea
   US & ROKs form line from Kum river through Chongju to coastal Pyonghae-ri
   NK begin general assault along the Kum river section around Taejon

7/12-23

24th ID loses 100 miles, 2,400 men, and General Dean, in 17 days

7/18/50

8th Cavalry Regiment lands, leading unit of 1st Cavalry Division

7/20-30

ROK 3rd Division, in desperate fighting, make first successful holding operation on Peninsula

7/24-25

NK-3 defeats 8th and 5th Cavalry Regiments, and captures Yongdong
    Halts its attack after taking 2,000 casualties, mostly from artillery
   NK-2 defeats 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, in their first action

7/13-26

NK-6 murders "politically incorrect" ROK Civilians

7/13-26

   NK-6 outflanks Eighth Army unnoticed down West Coast, captures Chonju
   NK-6 positioned to drive to Pusan cutting off all UN forces in Korea

7/26/50

Eighth Army ordered back to prepared defenses

7/25-31

NK-6 defeats 19th Regiment, 24th Division and captures Chinju

7/29/50

General Walker issues 'Stand or Die' order

7/31/50

9th Infantry Regiment 2nd Infantry Division, lands at Pusan

8/2/50

Marine Brigade lands at Pusan

Attached to 25th Infantry Division, moves to Masan to meet mounting enemy pressure

8/1-3

Eighth Army digs in along Pusan Perimeter

   A defense line anchored in the west along the Naktong river.
   NK nears the high-water mark of its invasion success.
8/8/50

Mao Sets Criterian For Intervention

In secret Politburo meeting, Mao decided that China must protect its borders if UN threatened to win
   China seemed clearly aware we might hold at Pusan and then counter-attack decisively
   China's decisions always reflected knowledge of US military strength and plans, presumably provided by Philby, Burgess, American espionage sources, and the USSR.

8/8/50

6th (M46 Pattons), 70th (M26 Pershings and M4A3 Shermans) and 73rd (M26) medium tank battalions land at Pusan, followed August 16 by 72nd med tank bn. and two 2id tank companies.
   UN forces outnumber the NK in tanks, troops, artillery, and have total air supremacy.

8/7-14

Task Force Kean - 25th Infantry Division makes first US counter attack. Though opposed only by NK-6, about 7,500 troops, and given crucial support by the Marine Brigade, the attack eventually fails.
   25id does get needed combat experience and, except for its 24th Regiment, performs well in remaining Perimeter battles

8/5-19

First Battle of the Naktong Bulge

NK-4 forces three crossings of the Naktong against the 24th Division and ROK 17th Regiment.
   Heavily outnumbered, NK-4 still almost breaks through, but US and ROKs hold.
   The Marine Brigade again attacks, closely supported by two Carrier-based Corsair Squadrons
   They throw NK-4 back across the Naktong, eliminating them as a fighting force.
   NK-4 did not re-group until after the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) enter the war.

8/17/50

Massacre of US prisoners at Hill 303.

8/18-22

ROK 3rd and 8th Divisions stop 3 NK Divisions

In savage fighting ROKs stop NK-8, NK-12 and NK-5 in eastern Kyongju Corridor

8/28/50

FEC intelligence estimated China had 246,000 PLA and 374,000 militia near the Korean border.

8/29/50

British Commonwealth 27th Brigade lands at Pusan

8/27-9/15

Continuous Fighting around Pusan Perimeter

9/1-5

NK makes 5 simultaneous assaults along the Naktong

9/3/50

US attacks around Yongsan

9/4/50

5th Marines withdrawn to mount out for end-run at Inchon

9/8/50

CIA discounts China's troops in Manchuria as normal, not evidence that China would intervene.

9/15/50

Inchon Landings

Arguably the greatest amphibious assault of the century.

9/17/50

Chinese intelligence and logistics officers arrive in North Korea

Mission: Evaluate and prepare the battlefield for military action.

9/16-23

UN breaks the Pusan Perimeter cordon

9/19-29

Seoul recaptured in the north, savage infantry fighting, heavy Marine casualties
   Mop-up starts in the south as surviving NK forces flee east coast roads.

9/27/50

General MacArthur given permission to cross the 38th Parallel into North Korea

9/29/50

General MacArthur and ROK President Syngman Rhee enter Seoul

9/30/50

The JCS instructs MacArthur to continue his advance north to destroy the NK armed forces.

9/30/50

Zhou En-lai warns China will not allow a neighbor to be invaded.

9/30/50

ROK troops cross 38th Parallel

10/3/50

Zhou En-lai notifies India that, if American Forces cross the 38th Parallel, China will intervene.
   Mao had already informed Russia of this decision.

10/9/50

The Cav leads UN-sanctioned assault across 38th Parallel

10/12/50

CIA says full-scale Chinese intervention not probable, barring Russia deciding on global war.
   Stalin tells Mao Russia will provide aircraft and other support of China's intervention.

10/14/50

CCF 38th Field Army crosses Yalu at Andong

10/13-14

The 38th, 39th, and 40th Chinese Field Armies entered Korea.

10/15/50

Truman and triumphant MacArthur meet on Wake Island
Agents report Chinese troops moving into Korea but CIA gives no alert

10/19/50

NK capitol Pyongyang falls

10/20/50

187th ARCT airborne assault north of Pyongyang

10/24/50

MacArthur orders "ADVANCE TO THE BORDER"

RISK: Global nuclear war.
   US had eleven Infantry and one Armored Divisions World-wide. He was committing seven of these to possibly face a Manchurian force of 500,000 backed by a 5,000,000 man Chinese army. If Russia attacked anywhere in the world, our only defense option would be a nuclear WWIII.

REWARD: Possibly occupy all North Korea before China intervened effectively.

ALTERNATIVE: Declare objective of preserving South Korea reached.
   Resource-preserving fighting withdrawal from forward positions while constructing a Pyongyang-Wonsan stop-line, and fight from in-depth, defensible positions until war resolved by diplomacy.
   

10/24/50

Sino-Soviet leaders decide China will intervene

10/25/50

ROK 6th Division first UN troops smashed by elements of CCF 42nd Field Army around Chosan

10/26/50

1st Marine Division lands on east coast at Wonsan joining X Corps. The four divisions attack north.

10/29/50

Advanced ROK units in the west routed by elements of CCF 38th and 40th Field Armies.

10/29/50

General Willoughby says only Chinese "stragglers," are in Korea, not PLA

11/1-6

CCF 39th Army opens China's First Phase offensive

Only 30,000 lightly armed troops of their unsuspected 150,000 man deployment strike
   They ambush The Cav and the ROKs, driving us back to the Chongchon river
   Intended as a Reconnaissance probe, the easy victory helped China assess our weaknesses

11/2-3

In the east, the 7th Marine Regiment crushes the CCF 124th Division in the only UN success

11/4

MacArthur intensifies bombing of communications routes to the Yalu

11/5

Mao assigns an additional twelve CCF divisions to destroy First Marine Division and X Corps.

11/8/50

F-80 of 51st FIW downs MiG-15 in first all jet dogfight

11/21/50

US 17th Regiment reaches The Yalu

11/24

Department Of Defense had no indications China would intervene

That same day, the Second Phase of China's offensive Plan began

11/25/50

UN offensive begins from the Chongchon river to end the war by Christmas

11/26-30

China's XIII Army Group Ambushes and smashes Eighth Army in the West

Start of a route that became the longest retreat in US history.

11/27-30

China's IX Army Group Surrounds our Marines at the Chosin Reservoir

All the CCF Armies ... 300,000 troops ... had infiltrated North Korea essentially undetected

11/30

President Truman threatens use of atomic bomb against CCF

11/30-12/11

1st Marine Division fights through encircling CCF forces to reach our 3rd Infantry Division lines.
   The 10 CCF divisions attacking the Marines in Chosin required complete rebuilding

12/11/50

UN Naval forces begin evacuation at Hungnam

12/14/50

UN passes a Cease Fire resolution

12/23/50

General Walker is killed in accident, General Matthew Ridgway assumes Eighth Army command

12/24/50

Last of X Corps evacuated from North Korea

105,000 troops, 98,000 civilians, 17,500 vehicles, and 350,000 tons of cargo

12/30/50

MiG-15 jets begin attacking UN airplanes over North Korea

12/30/50

Photo Review 1950

1951

1/1/51

Photo Preview 1951

1/3/51

CCF and NK renew their offensive. Seoul is again abandoned.

1/14/51

A Fighting General Sets The Direction Of The Rest Of The War

  Over his defeatist Staff's objections, Ridgway stabilizes UN lines along the 37th parallel with an army that was gradually becoming hardened. Within six months they developed into a force that could meet and defeat the enemy, man to man. From this time, the slaughter and agony of warriors and civilians alike would be the price paid for politicians to painfully grope their way to a cease-fire.

1/25/51

UN counterattacks in the 'Ridgway' offensive, Operation Thunderbolt, over a carpet of dead CCF.
   Twin Tunnels Ambush

2/11-12

CCF counterattacks at Hoengsong, destroys ROK 8th Div.

2/14/51

23rd RCT and French Infantry Battalion hold on Wonju Line

Ridgway says successful defense at Chipyong-ni is 'turning point'

2/18-3/17

Ridgway's Operation Killer. IX Corps has limited success.

3/6-31

Eighth Army (1st Cav, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions and 1st Marine Division) re-cross Han
   Operation Ripper
   Chunchon recaptured and line Idaho reached against weak opposition, as CCF regroups.

3/18/51

UN forces retake Seoul again

The last time we had to do the job in Century XX

4/1-22

Operations Rugged and Dauntless drive 15 miles north of Line Kansas, our Third Line of Defense
   A row of tall hills nicknamed "Yamas", about 5 miles behind the front line

4/11/51

Truman relieves MacArthur, Ridgway takes FECOM

4/15/51

General James Van Fleet assumes command of Eighth Army

4/19/51

General MacArthur at Congressional hearings on his dismissal

4/22/51

CCF begins spring offensive with 27 Divisions of 250,000 foot infantry, smash Line Kansas, drive through 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions towards Seoul

4/24-25

UN Holds At Kapyong

Second Batt, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Third Batt Royal Australian Regiment and A Company 72nd US Medium Tank Batt, heavily outnumbered, stop CCF at Kapyong.

4/30/51

CCF and NK pull back to re-group

  5/10-6/5

Second CCF Spring Offensive begins, with the 'May Massacre'

5/20/51

CCF offensive stopped, after penetrating 30 miles on the east-central region

Mid May

US privately changes objective in Korea from victory to political solution.

  5/23-6/1

UN resumes attack north, regains both Line Kansas and the Wyoming bulge by mid-June.
   CCF 180th Division totally destroyed.

6/10-16

Punchbowl, near the Hwachon Reservoir. 1st Marine Division reaches northen ridges against NK

6/13/51   -
  7/27/53

Washington orders Van Fleet to stop advancing

The enemy uses respite from relentless assault to reinforce and strengthen defenses

UN forms a Main Line of Resistance (MLR) and waits for armistice negotiations

   Toward the end of the KW, artillery barrages would sometimes exceed WWI

6/13/51

Fighting lapses to patrolling and small-unit actions.

6/23/51

USSR UN Delegate Jacob Malik proposes truce

7/10/51

Truce talks begin at Kaesong ... Half our total KIAs die before they end

This is a tragic comment on Truman's tactics

8/1-10/31

Limited UN attacks in vicious small-unit actions to consolidate positions

8/23/51

Communists break off talks

8/17-9/6

Battle of Bloody Ridge

9/5-23

Battle for Heartbreak Ridge

10/3-23

Operation Commando. Five UN Divisions, including the British Commonwealth Division attack elements of Four CCF Armies, to adjust Corps boundaries.
    In the successful but savage fighting, I Corps estimates 21,000 CCF and over 4,000 UN casualties.

10/25/51

Communists resume talks

After their most monthly casualties and terrain lost in negotiations period

11/27/51

Truce talks continue at Panmunjom and a cease-fire line agreed on

 51-53

Stalemate

Talks at Panmunjom drag on until 7/27/53

Localized battles and slaughter continue all along the MLR

12/18/51

Exchange of POW lists

1952

1/1/52

Photo Preview 1952

1/2/52

UN POW Exchange Proposal

1/3/52

POW Exchange Proposal rejected by Communists

2/18/52

Riots in Koje-do prison camp

3/13/52

Another major riot at Koje-do

3/21/52

Outpost Eerie, a typical post between the two opposing MLRs in the bloody Outpost War

5/7

General Dodd captured by Koje-do POWs.

5/12-6/12

General Haydon Boatner replaces General Colson at Koje-do and ends rioting.
   General Mark Clark assumes FECOM from General Ridgway.

5/27/52

Syngman Rhee declares martial law at Pusan

6/23/52

General Clark orders bombing of NK power plants

7/23/52

Air strikes knock out North Korea's hydroelectric power for over two weeks

  6/52-10/52

Vicious, bitter localized fighting along MLR as truce talks drag on.

8/12-25

Marine reinforced company capture Bunker Hill (hill 122 east of Panmunjom), and holds it against battalion-level CCF counter-attacks.

8/29/52

Largest air strike of war, 1400 aircraft hit Pyongyang

9/17-24

Puerto Rican 65/3id lost Outpost Kelly to the more experienced CCF 384th Regiment.

  10/8-11/18

Truce talks halted. General Clark initiates Operation Showdown

10/6-15

Battle ofWhite Horse Hill - ROK 9th Division inflicts 10,000 casualties on CCF while repelling repeated ferocious assaults

10/26-28

The Black Watch and BCD tanks and Infantry fight off the CCF in the Battle of The Hook

11/3/52

2/160/40id fight for Heartbreak Ridge, Hill 851

11/15-27

Communist stage propaganda "POW Olympics" at Camp 5, Pyoktong

12/25/52

38/2id fights off savage CCF assault at T-Bone Hill

12/1-31

President-Elect Eisenhower visits.  Stalemate and bloody Outpost War continue

1953

1/1/53

Photo Preview 1953

1/25/53

Foretaste of Vietnam's media sensationalism

   31/7id assaults Spud Hill, enemy strongpoint at T-Bone, in Operation Smack.
   In spite of strong tank and air support the 31st was repulsed with heavy casualties
   Press falsely castigates the assault as unnecessary loss of life staged for visiting brass.
2/11/53

General Maxwell Taylor takes command of Eigth Army

3/5/53

New USSR Premier Georgi Malenkov speaks of peaceful coexistence

3/28/53

NK Premier Kim Il Sung and CCF Peng Teh-huai agree to POW exchange

3/30/53

Truce talks resume at Panmunjom

3/1-4/31

More savage fighting around Old Baldy, T-bone, outpost Eerie and Pork Chop.
   CCF-141 and CCF-67 take the Old Baldy - Pork Chop region from 7th ID and hold it.
   Exchanging countless thousands of artillery rounds, the CCF took the Vegas and Reno outposts from the 5th Marines on March 26, but the Marines re-took Vegas and held it against determined attacks until the CCF broke off the action.

3/17/53

9/2id loses and retakes portions of Little Gibraltar

3/1-4/31

More savage fighting as UN forces lose Old Baldy and Eerie rather than inordinate sacrifice of life for ground during final stages of truce talks

4/16-18

17th and 31st Infantry Regiments suffer heavy casualties at Pork Chop Hill

4/20-26

Exchange of sick and wounded POWs

4/23/53

Panmunjom talks resume

6/6-10

7th Infantry Division suffer more heavy casualties at Pork Chop Hill and are withdrawn

6/14/53

Communist attack drives back ROK positions

6/18/53

ROKs release 27,000 NK POWs who refuse repatriation.
    Communists again break off truce talks

6/25/53

CCF sends 3 armies, almost 100,000 troops, against 5 ROK divisions totaling half their number, driving the ROKs back several thousand yards. The CCF drive stops under staggering UN artillery barrages, about 2.7 million rounds in June alone.

7/10/53

Truce talks resume after UN assures ROK acceptance of cease-fire terms

7/24-25

Chinese violently attack 'The Hook'

Aussies and Marines inflict terrible casualties and hold

   Our enemies finally realize that the UN may sacrifice ground in some areas, but will make the loss in life to the attackers hideously out of proportion to any gains

That was the alternative MacArthur and his Superiors ignored three bloody years earlier

7/27/53

Cease-fire signed at 2200 Hrs

Shooting Stops. The question, for how long?

9/4/53

Repatriation of POWs starts at Freedom Village, Panmunjom


June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953

Over 53,000 ROK and UN troops, including over 8,000 Americans, are MIA. One assumes the great majority of them were murdered by North Korean soldiers after surrendering, or being found wounded, or in the (often death) camps for POWs.

Though most attention has focused on the Korean War's first year, bloody fighting persisted throughout the entire war. Half of our dead were killed after the truce talks began, while people talked and postured, at Panmunjom.

Artillery concentrations on the small outposts and contested hills of the MLR exceeded anything in WWI or WWII; typically a thousand rounds exploding in 10 minutes or so, followed by battalion- and regiment-scale assaults against positions scarcely large enough to hold a company. The Marines fought for Bunker Hill, Reno, Carson and Vegas; the ROKs for Sniper Ridge, Triangle Hill and Big Nori; our 2nd Division fought for Old Baldy, Arrowhead and Pork Chop, as did our 7th Division in their turn.

Dozens of other obscure, torn landscapes soaked the blood of other valliant infantrymen.

Some of the most dangerous and important sections of the MLR were held valiantly by the ROKs and our UN allies.

Casualty List


                 SEARCH SITE                  
 
     Tanks and Fighting Vehicles     
 
               Enemy Weapons              

     The Korean War, 1950-1953        
 
  Map and Battles of the MLR   
 
        Korean War Time Line        


-  A   VETERAN's  Blog  -
Today's Issues and History's Lessons


  Guest Book