For Korea, 1950 was a year of
astonishment, and tragedy.
Before daylight on Sunday, June 25,
1950, the North Korea People's Army attacked south
across the 38th parallel.
Kim Il Sung, the North Korean Premier,
had an army 135,000 strong, far superior to that of
South Korea. Eight combat-ready divisions with a large
reserve force, led by 120 Soviet T34 medium tanks,
supported by extensive mobile artillery, and an air
force of 180 Soviet fighters and bombers.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Army had
only 95,000 men and four combat-ready infantry
divisions, supported by a total of eighty-nine 105-mm
howitzers, and had no tanks.
The North Koreans quickly crushed South
Korean defenses, and butchered a path down the
peninsula until they were stopped by United Nations
forces under General Douglas MacArthur at the Pusan
Our embattled forces held at the
Perimeter until MacArthur had built up our strength
enough to attack at Inchon, far behind North Korean
lines, in perhaps the most astonishing amphibious
assault of the twentieth century. The enemy was routed,
Seoul was recaptured, and Eighth Army struck north
across the parallel, with some ROK elements and a few
units of X Corps even reaching the Yalu.
But, in November, China entered the war
in force. Our armies were ambushed, routed, and driven
back in the longest retreat in the history of the
1950 was a year full of astonishment,
1951 was just ahead, with its own full
share of both.