Continual exercise makes good soldiers because it qualifies them for
military duties; by being habituated to pain, they insensibly learn to
despise danger. The transition from fatigue to rest enervates them. They
compare one state with another, and idleness, that predominate passion
of mankind, gains ascendancy over them. They then murmur at every trifling
inconvenience, and their souls soften in their emasculated bodies. |
MAURICE DE SAXE, Reveries on the Art of War
The Kum River is the first large stream south of the Han flowing generally
north from its source in the mountains of southwestern Korea. Ten miles
east of Taejon, the river in a series of tight loops slants northwest,
then bends like an inverted letter U, and 12 miles northwest of the city
starts its final southwesterly course to the sea. For 25 miles upstream
from its mouth, the Kum River is a broad estuary of the Yellow Sea, from
1 to 2 miles wide. In its semicircle around Taejon, the river constitutes
in effect a great moat, much in the same manner as the Naktong River protects
Taegu and Pusan farther south and the Chickahominy River guarded Richmond,
Virginia, during the American Civil War.
Protected by this water barrier, generally 10 to 15 miles distant, Taejon
lies at the western base of the Sobaek Mountains. To the west, the coastal
plain stretches northward to Seoul and southwestward to the tip of Korea.
But south and southeastward all the way to the Naktong and on to Pusan
lie the broken hills and ridges of the Sobaek Mountains. Through these
mountains in a southeasterly course from Taejon passes the main Seoul-Pusan
railroad and highway. Secondary roads angle off from Taejon into all of
southern Korea. Geographical and communication factors gave Taejon unusual
The Seoul-Pusan railroad crossed the Kum River 8 air miles due north
of Taejon. Nine air miles westward and downstream from the railroad, the
main highway crossed the river. The little village of Taep'yong-ni stood
there on the southern bank of the Kum 15 air miles northwest of Taejon.
At Kongju, 8 air miles farther westward downstream from Taep'yong-ni and
20 air miles northwest of Taejon, another highway crossed the Kum.
Engineers blew the highway bridges across the Kum at Kongju and Taep'yong-ni
and the railroad bridge at Sinch'on the night and morning of 12-13 July. On the approaches to Taejon, engineer units placed demolitions
on all bridges of small streams tributary to the Kum. 
Downstream from Kongju the 24th Reconnaissance Company checked all ferries
and destroyed all native flat-bottomed boats it found in a 16-mile stretch
below the town. Checking below this point for another twenty miles it came
to the south side of the river. In the arc of the river from Kongju eastward
to the railroad crossing, General Menoher, the assistant division commander
of the 24th Division, then ordered all similar boats seized and burned.
General Dean and his 24th Division staff had a fairly clear idea of
the situation facing them. On 13 July, the division intelligence officer
estimated that two enemy divisions at 60 to 80 percent strength with approximately
fifty tanks were closing on the 24th Division. Enemy prisoners identified
them as the 4th Division following the 34th Infantry and the 3d
Division following the 21st Infantry. This indicated a two-pronged
attack against Taejon, and perhaps a three-pronged attack if the 2d
Division moving south next in line to the east could drive ROK forces
out of its way in time to join in the effort. 
Behind the moat of the Kum River, General Dean placed his 24th Division
troops in a horseshoe-shaped arc in front of Taejon. The 34th Infantry
was on the left, the 19th Infantry on the right, and the 21st Infantry
in a reserve defensive blocking position southeast of Taejon. On the extreme
left, the 24th Reconnaissance Company in platoon-sized groups watched the
principal river crossing sites below Kongju. Thus, the division formed
a two-regiment front, each regiment having one battalion on the line and
the other in reserve. 
The 24th Division was in poor condition for what was certain to be its
hardest test yet. In the first week, 1,500 men were missing in action,
1,433 of them from the 21st Regiment. That regiment on 13 July had a strength
of about 1,100 men; the 34th Infantry had 2,020 men; and the 19th Infantry,
2,276 men. There were 2,007 men in the division artillery. The consolidated
division strength on strength 14 July was 1,440 men. 
Action against the Kum River Line began first on the left (west), in
the sector of the 34th Infantry.
From Seoul south the N.K. 4th Division had borne the brunt of
the fighting against the 24th Division and was now down to 5,000-6,000
men, little more than half strength. Approximately 20 T34 tanks led the
division column, which included 40 to 50 pieces of artillery. Just before
midnight of 11 July the 16th Regiment sent out scouts to make a
reconnaissance of the Kum, learn the depth and width of the river, and
report back before 1000 the next morning. An outpost of the 34th Infantry
I&R Platoon during the night captured one of the scouts, an officer, 600 yards north
of the river opposite Kongju. The regiment's mission was the capture of
U.N. air attacks on North Korean armor, transport, and foot columns
had become by now sufficiently effective so that the enemy no longer placed
his tanks, trucks, and long columns of marching men on the main roads in
broad daylight. The heavy losses of armor and equipment to air attack in
the vicinity of P'yongt'aek, Chonui, and Ch'onan in the period of 7 to
10 July had wrought the change. Now, in approaching the Kum, the enemy
generally remained quiet and camouflaged in orchards and buildings during
the daytime and moved at night. The North Koreans also used back roads
and trails more than in the first two weeks of the invasion, and already
by day were storing equipment and supplies in railroad tunnels. 
The N.K. 4th Division Crosses the Kum Below Kongju
On the high ground around Kongju, astride the Kongju-Nonsan road, the
3d Battalion, 34th Infantry, was in its defensive positions. On line from
left to right were L, I, and K Companies, with the mortars of M Company
behind them. The 63d Field Artillery Battalion was about two and a half
miles south of the Kum in their support. Three miles farther south, the
1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, was in an assembly area astride the road.
 (Map 6)
Communication between the 3d Battalion units was practically nonexistent.
For instance, L Company could communicate with only one of its squads,
and it served as a lookout and was equipped with a sound power telephone.
The L Company commander, 1st Lt. Archie L. Stith, tried but failed at the
3d Battalion headquarters to obtain a radio that would work. He had communication
with the battalion only by messenger. Procurement of live batteries for
Signal Corps radios SCR-300's and 536's was almost impossible, communication
wire could not be obtained, and that already laid could not be reclaimed.
At 0400 hours 13 July, D Company of the 3d Engineer Combat Battalion
blew the steel truss bridge in front of Kongju. A few hours after daybreak
an enemy squad walked to the water's edge, 700 yards from a 34th Infantry
position across the river, and set up a machine gun. On high ground north
of this enemy machine gun squad, a North Korean tank came into view. 
The men of the 3d Battalion, 34th Infantry, now had only the water barrier
of the Kum between them and the enemy. That after noon, the North Koreans began shelling Kongju from across the river.
The command situation for Colonel Wadlington continued to worsen as
both the regimental S-2 and S-3 were evacuated because of combat fatigue.
Then, that night, K Company, a composite group of about forty men of the
3d Battalion in such mental and physical condition as to render them liabilities
in combat, was withdrawn from the Kum River Line with division approval
and taken to Taejon for medical disposition. 
There were now only two understrength rifle companies of the 34th Infantry
in front of Kongju-L Company on the left and I Company on the right of
the road on the river hills, with some mortars of the Heavy Weapons Company
behind. These troops knew of no friendly units on their left (west). From
the 19th Infantry on their right, Capt. Melicio Montesclaros had visited
the I Company position and told the men there was a 2-mile gap between
that flank and his outpost position eastward on the regimental boundary.
Shortly after daybreak of the 14th, American troops on the south side
of the Kum at Kongju heard enemy tanks in the village across the river.
By 0600, enemy flat trajectory weapons, possibly tank guns, were firing
into I Company's area. Their target apparently was the mortars back of
the rifle company. Simultaneously, enemy shells exploded in air bursts
over L Company's position but were too high to do any damage. Soon thereafter,
L Company lookouts sent word that enemy soldiers were crossing the river in two barges, each carrying approximately thirty men, about
two miles below them. They estimated that about 500 North Koreans crossed
between 0800 and 0930.
The weather was clear after a night of rain. The 63d Field Artillery
Battalion sent aloft a liaison plane for aerial observation. This aerial
observer reported by radio during the morning that two small boats carrying
men were crossing the Kum to the south side and gave the map co-ordinates
of the crossing site. Apparently this was part of the same enemy crossing
seen by L Company men. The battalion S-3, Maj. Charles T. Barter, decided
not to fire on the boats but to wait for larger targets. One platoon of
the 155-mm. howitzers of A Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, in
position east of Kongju fired briefly on the enemy troops. But Yak fighter
planes soon drove away the liaison observation planes, and artillery fire
Soon after the enemy crossed the river below L Company, Lieutenant Stith,
the company commander, unable to find the machine gun and mortar sections
supporting the company and with his company coming under increasingly accurate
enemy mortar and artillery fire, decided that his position was untenable.
He ordered L Company to withdraw. The men left their positions overlooking
the Kum shortly before 1100. When Sgt. Wallace A. Wagnebreth, a platoon
leader of L Company, reached the positions of the 63d Field Artillery Battalion,
he told an unidentified artillery officer of the enemy crossing, but, according
to him, the officer paid little attention. Lieutenant Stith, after ordering
the withdrawal, went in search of the 3d Battalion headquarters. He finally
found it near Nonsan. Learning what had happened, the battalion commander
relieved Stith of his command and threatened him with court martial. 
The 63d Field Artillery Battalion Overrun
Three miles south of the river, the 63d Field Artillery Battalion had
emplaced its 105-mm. howitzers along a secondary road near the village
of Samyo. The road at this point was bordered on either side by scrub-pine-covered
hills. From north to south the battery positions were A, Headquarters,
B, and Service. The artillery battalion had communication on the morning
of the 14th with the 34th Regimental headquarters near Nonsan but none
with the infantry units or the artillery forward observers with them on
the Kum River Line. The day before, the commanding officer of the 63d Field
Artillery Battalion, Lt. Col. Robert H. Dawson, had been evacuated to Taejon
because of illness, and Maj. William E. Dressler assumed command of the
About 1330 an outpost of the artillery battalion reported enemy troops
coming up the hill toward them. It received instructions not to fire unless
fired upon as the men might be friendly forces. As a result, this group of enemy soldiers overran the machine gun outpost
and turned the captured gun on Headquarters Battery.  Thus began the
attack of the North Korean 16th Regiment on the 63d Field Artillery
Battalion. Enemy reconnaissance obviously had located the support artillery
and had bypassed the river line rifle companies to strike at it and the
line of communications running to the rear.
Now came enemy mortar fire. The first shell hit Headquarters Battery
switchboard and destroyed telephone communication to the other batteries.
In rapid succession mortar shells hit among personnel of the medical section,
on the command post, and then on the radio truck. With the loss of the
radio truck all means of electrical communication vanished. An ammunition
truck was also hit, and exploding shells in it caused further confusion
in Headquarters Battery. 
Almost simultaneously with the attack on Headquarters Battery came another
directed against A Battery, about 250 yards northward. This second force
of about a hundred enemy soldiers started running down a hill from the
west toward an A Battery outpost "squealing like a bunch of Indians,"
according to one observer. Some of the artillerymen opened up on them with
small arms fire and they retreated back up the hill. Soon, however, this
same group of soldiers came down another slope to the road and brought
A Battery under fire
at 150 yards' range. Mortar fire began to fall on A Battery's position.
This fire caused most of the artillerymen to leave their gun positions.
Some of them, however, fought courageously; Cpl. Lawrence A. Ray was one
of these. Although wounded twice, he continued to operate a BAR and, with
a few others, succeeded in holding back enemy soldiers while most of the
men in the battery sought to escape. Soon a mortar burst wounded Ray and
momentarily knocked him unconscious. Regaining consciousness, he crawled
into a ditch where he found fifteen other artillerymen-not one of them
carrying a weapon. All of this group escaped south. On the way out they
found the body of their battery commander, Capt. Lundel M. Southerland.
Back at Headquarters Battery, enemy machine guns put bands of fire across
both the front and the back doors of the building which held the Fire Direction
Center. The men caught inside escaped to a dugout, crawled up a ravine,
and made their way south toward Service Battery. In the excitement of the
moment, apparently no one saw Major Dressler. More than two and a half
years later his remains and those of Cpl. Edward L. McCall were found together
in a common foxhole at the site. 
After overrunning A and Headquarters Batteries, the North Koreans turned
on B Battery. An enemy force estimated at 400 men had it under attack by
1415. They worked to the rear of the battery, set up machine guns, and
fired into it. The battery commander, Capt. Anthony F. Stahelski, ordered
his two machine guns on the enemy side of his defense perimeter to return
the fire. Then enemy mortar shells started falling and hit two 105-mm.
howitzers, a radio jeep, and a 2 1/2-ton prime mover. A group of South
Korean cavalry rode past the battery and attacked west toward the enemy,
but the confusion was so great that no one in the artillery position seemed
to know what happened as a result of this intervention. The North Koreans
kept B Battery under fire. At 1500 Captain Stahelski gave the battery march
order but the men could not get the artillery pieces onto the road which
was under fire. The men escaped as best they could. 
An hour and a half after the first enemy appeared at the artillery position
the entire 63d Field Artillery Battalion, with the exception of Service
Battery, had been overrun, losing 10 105-mm. howitzers with their ammunition
and from 60 to 80 vehicles. The 5 guns of A Battery fell to the enemy intact.
In B Battery, enemy mortar fire destroyed 2 howitzers; artillerymen removed
the sights and firing locks from the other 3 before abandoning them.
Meanwhile, Service Battery had received word of the enemy attack and
prepared to withdraw at once. A few men from the overrun batteries got
back to it and rode its trucks fifteen miles south to Nonsan. Stragglers
from the overrun artillery battalion came in to the Nonsan area during the night and next morning. Eleven officers and
125 enlisted men of the battalion were missing in action. 
It is clear from an order he issued that morning that General Dean did
not expect to hold Kongju indefinitely, but he did hope for a series of
delaying actions that would prevent the North Koreans from accomplishing
an early crossing of the Kum River at Kongju, a quick exploitation of a
bridgehead, and an immediate drive on Taejon. 
Pursuant to General Dean's orders, Colonel Wadlington, the acting regimental
commander, left his headquarters at Ponggong-ni on the main road running
south out of Kongju the morning of the 14th to reconnoiter the Nonsan area
in anticipation of a possible withdrawal. He was absent from his headquarters
until midafternoon.  Shortly after his return to the command post,
between 1500 and 1600, he learned from an escaped enlisted man who had
reached his headquarters that an enemy force had attacked and destroyed
the 63d Field Artillery Battalion. Wadlington at once ordered Lt. Col.
Harold B. Ayres to launch an attack with the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry,
to rescue the men and equipment in the artillery area and drive the North
Koreans westward. According to Ayres, Wadlington's order brought him his
first word of the enemy attack. 
The 1st Battalion a little after 1700 moved out northward in a column
of companies in attack formation. The three-mile movement northward was
without incident until C Company approached within a hundred yards of the
overrun artillery position. Then, a few short bursts of enemy machine gun
and some carbine fire halted the company. Dusk was at hand. Since his orders
were to withdraw if he had not accomplished his mission by dark, Colonel
Ayres ordered his battalion to turn back. At its former position, the 1st
Battalion loaded into trucks and drove south toward Nonsan. 
As soon as the 24th Division received confirmation of the bad news about
the 63d Field Artillery Battalion it ordered an air strike for the next
morning, 15 July, on the lost equipment-a practice that became standard
procedure for destroying heavy American equipment lost or abandoned to
enemy in enemy-held territory. 
During the day I Company, 34th Infantry, had stayed in its position on the river line. Enemy mortar fire
had fallen in its vicinity until noon. In the early afternoon, artillery
from across the river continued the shelling. The acting commander, Lt.
Joseph E. Hicks, tried but failed to locate L Company and the 3d Battalion
Headquarters. A few men from the Heavy Weapons Company told him that enemy
roadblocks were in his rear and that he was cut off. Except for the enemy
shelling, all was quiet in I Company during the day. That night at 2130,
pursuant to orders he received, Hicks led I Company over the mountains
east and southeast of Kongju and rejoined the regiment. The 34th Infantry
occupied new positions just east of Nonsan early in the morning of 15 July.
In their first day of attack against it, the North Koreans had widely
breached the Kum River Line. Not only was the line breached, but the 19th
Infantry's left flank was now completely exposed. The events of 14 July
must have made it clear to General Dean that he could not long hold Taejon.
Nevertheless, Dean tried to bolster the morale of the defeated units.
After he had received reports of the disaster, he sent a message at 1640
in the afternoon saying, "Hold everything we have until we find where
we stand-might not be too bad-may be able to hold-make reconnaissance-may
be able to knock those people out and reconsolidate. Am on my way out there
now."  Informing Colonel Stephens that the 34th Infantry was in
trouble, he ordered him to put the 21st Infantry Regiment in position on
selected ground east of Taejon. Something of Dean's future intentions on
operations at Taejon was reflected in his comment, "We must coordinate
so that the 19th and 34th come out together." General Dean closed
his message by asking Stephens to come to his command post that night for
a discussion of plans. 
Although an aerial observer saw two tanks on the south side of the Kum
River southwest of Kongju early in the morning of the 15th, enemy armor
did not cross in force that day. Other parts of the 4th Division continued
to cross, however, in the Kongju area. Air strikes destroyed some of their
boats and strafed their soldiers. By nightfall of 15 July some small groups
of North Korean soldiers had pressed south from the river and were in Nonsan.
The N.K. 3d Division Crosses the Kum Against the 19th Infantry
The third and last regiment of the 24th Division, the 19th Infantry,
commanded by Col. Guy S. Meloy, Jr., began to arrive in Korea on 4 July.
Nearly ninety years earlier the 19th Infantry Regiment had won the sobriquet,
"The Rock of Chickamauga," in a memorable stand in one of the
bloodiest of Civil War battles. Now, on 11 and 12 July General Dean moved
the 1950 version of the regiment to Taejon as he concentrated the 24th
Division there for the defense of the city. Before dark of the 12th, the 19th Infantry was in position to relieve the 21st Infantry
Regiment on the south bank of the Kum, but the formal relief and transfer
of responsibility for the regimental sector did not take place until 0930
the next day. Fourteen years earlier General Dean had served as captain
in the regiment in Hawaii. 
The 19th Infantry's zone of responsibility was a wide one, extending
from high ground just east of the railroad bridge, 8 miles due north of
Taejon, westward along the river to within 3 miles of Kongju. This was
an airline distance of 15 miles or a river distance of almost 30 miles
because of the stream's numerous deep folds. Necessarily, there were wide
gaps between some of the units in disposing a regiment-a 2-battalion regiment
at that-over this distance. The main regimental position was astride the
Seoul-Pusan highway where it crossed the Kum River at Taep'yong-ni, about
midway of the regimental sector. (Map 7)
Engineer demolition troops had blown, but only partially destroyed,
the highway bridge over the Kum at 2100, 12 July. The next morning they
dynamited it again, and this time two spans dropped into the water. On
the 15th, engineers destroyed the railroad bridge upstream at Sinch'on.
At Taep'yong-ni the Kum River in mid-July 1950 was 200 to 300 yards
wide, its banks 4 to 8 feet high, water 6 to 15 feet deep, and current
3 to 6 miles an hour. Sandbars ran out into the streambed at almost every
bend and the channel shifted back and forth from the center to the sides.
The river, now swollen by rains, could be waded at many points when its
19th Regiment BAR man at Dike Position near Taep'yong-ni
On the regimental right, the railroad bridge lay just within the ROK
Army zone of responsibility. A mile and a half west of the railroad bridge
a large tributary, the Kap-ch'on, empties into the Kum. On high ground
west of the railroad and the mouth of the Kap-ch'on, E Company in platoon-sized
units held defensive positions commanding the Kum River railroad crossing
site. West of E Company there was an entirely undefended 2-mile gap. Beyond
this gap C Company occupied three northern fingers of strategically located
Hill 200 three miles east of Taep'yong-ni.  Downstream from C Company
there was a 1,000-yard gap to where A Company's position began behind a
big dike along the bank of the Kum. The A Company sector extended westward
beyond the Seoul-Pusan highway at Taep'yong-ni. One platoon of A Company
was on 500-foot high hills a mile south of the Taep'yong-ni dike and paddy
West of the highway, the 1st Platoon of B Company joined A Company behind
the dike, while the rest of the company was on high ground which came down
close to the river. West of B Company for a distance of five air miles
to the regimental boundary there was little protection. One platoon of
G Company manned an outpost two miles away. The I&R Platoon of about
seventy men, together with a platoon of engineers and a battery of artillery,
all under the command of Capt. Melicio Montesclaros, covered the last three miles of
the regimental sector in the direction of Kongju.
The command post of Lt. Col. Otho T. Winstead, commander of the 1st
Battalion, was at the village of Kadong, about a mile south of the Kum
on the main highway. Colonel Meloy's regimental command post was at the
village of Palsan, about a mile farther to the rear on the highway. 
The 2d Battalion with two of its rifle companies was in reserve back
of the 1st Battalion. Behind A Company, east of the highway, were two platoons
of G Company; behind B Company, west of the highway, was F Company. The
4.2-inch mortars of the Heavy Mortar Company were east of the highway.
Artillery supporting the 19th Infantry consisted of A and B Batteries,
52d Field Artillery Battalion; A and B Batteries of the 11th Field Artillery
Battalion (155-mm. howitzers); and two batteries of the 13th Field Artillery
Battalion. Lt. Col. Charles W. Stratton, commanding officer of the 13th
Field Artillery Battalion, coordinated their firing. The 52d Field Artillery
Battalion, in position along the main highway at the village of Tuman-ni,
about three miles south of the Kum, was farthest forward. Behind it two miles farther south were the 11th and the 13th Field Artillery Battalions.
The larger parts of the 26th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons)
Battalion and of A Company, 78th Heavy Tank Battalion (light M24 tanks),
were at Taejon.
Aerial strikes on the 14th failed to prevent the build-up of enemy armor
on the north side of the Kum opposite Taep'yong-ni. Tanks moved up and
dug in on the north bank for direct fire support of a crossing effort.
Their fire started falling on the south bank of the Kum in the 19th Infantry's
zone at 1300, 14 July. Late in the day an aerial observer reported seeing
eleven enemy tanks dug in, camouflaged, and firing as artillery. There
were some minor attempted enemy crossings during the day but no major effort.
None succeeded. 
The afternoon brought the bad news concerning the left flank-the collapse
of the 34th Infantry at Kongju.
The next morning, at 0700, Colonel Meloy received word from his extreme
left flank that North Koreans were starting to cross there. An aerial strike
and the I&R Platoon's machine gun fire repelled this crossing attempt.
But soon thereafter enemy troops that had crossed lower down in the 34th
Infantry sector briefly engaged the Reconnaissance Platoon when it tried
to establish contact with the 34th Infantry. 
These events on his exposed left flank caused Colonel Meloy to reinforce
the small force there with the remainder of G Company, 1 machine gun platoon
and a section of 81-mm. mortars from H Company, 2 light tanks, and 2 quad-50's
of the 26th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion-in all, two thirds of his
reserve. Lt. Col. Thomas M. McGrail, commanding officer of the 2d Battalion,
accompanied these troops to the left flank. Meloy now had only F Company
in reserve behind the 1st Battalion in the main battle position. 
The morning of 15 July, Colonel Stephens at 0600 started his 21st Infantry
Regiment from the Taejon airstrip for Okch'on, ten miles east of the city
on the main Seoul-Pusan highway. This organization was now only a shadow
of a regiment. Its 1st Battalion had a strength of 517 men. The 132 men
of the 3d Battalion were organized into K and M Companies and attached
to the 1st Battalion. A separate provisional group numbered 466 men. As
already noted, the regiment so organized numbered little more than 1,100
men of all ranks. 
General Dean had ordered the move to the Okch'on position. He feared
there might be a North Korean penetration through ROK Army forces east
of Taejon, and he wanted the 21st Infantry deployed on the high hills astride
the highway in that vicinity to protect the rear of the 24th Division. The
regiment went into position five miles east of Taejon, beyond the railroad
and highway tunnels, with the command post in Okch'on. From its new position
the 21st Infantry also controlled a road running south from a Kum River
ferry site to the highway. One battery of the 11th Field Artillery Battalion
accompanied the 21st Infantry. A company of attached engineer troops prepared
the tunnels and bridges east of Taejon for demolition. 
As evening of 15 July approached, Colonel Meloy alerted all units in
battle positions for an enemy night crossing. Supporting mortars and artillery
fired on the enemy-held villages across the river. This and air strikes
during the evening set the flimsy Korean wood-adobe-straw huts on fire
and illuminated the river front with a reddish glow.
Enemy sources indicate that all day the N.K. 3d Division had
made preparations for an attack on the river line, and that repeated air
attacks seriously hampered the movement of its heavy equipment and instilled
fear in the minds of its soldiers. Political officers tried to raise the
lowering morale of the troops by promising them a long rest after the capture
of Taejon and by saying that when the city fell the Americans would surrender.
Just before dusk, 2d Lt. Charles C. Early, platoon leader of the 3d
Platoon, B Company, from his position above the Kum, saw an enemy T34 tank
come around a bend in the highway across the river. While he telephoned
this information to his company commander, he counted eight more tanks
making the turn in the road. He could see them distinctly with the naked
eye at a distance of about two miles. Three of the tanks pulled off the
road, swung their turrets, and fired on Early's position. Most of their
rounds passed overhead. Enemy artillery began firing at the same time.
The 1st Battalion had called for an air strike when the enemy tanks opened
fire, and now two planes appeared. When the planes arrived over the river
all the tanks except one took cover in a wooded area. The strike left the
exposed tank burning on the road. The two planes stayed over the area until
dark. Upon their departure, enemy infantry in trucks moved to the river's
Small groups of enemy soldiers tested the American river defenses by
wading into the river; others rushed out to the end of the blown bridge,
jumped into the water, and began swimming across. Recoilless rifle and
machine gun fire of the Heavy Weapons Company inflicted heavy casualties
on this crossing attempt at and near the bridge, but some of the North
Koreans got across under cover of tank fire.
Upstream in front of Hill 200 another enemy crossing attempt was under
way in front of C Company. The combined fire from all company weapons supported
by that from part of the Heavy Weapons Company repelled this attack and
two more that followed after short intervals.
Some rounds falling short from friendly 81-mm. mortars knocked out two
of the company's 60-mm. mortars and broke the base plate of the remaining
one. Corporal Tabor improvised a base plate and, holding the tube in his
hand, fired an estimated 300 rounds. With his first river crossing attacks
repulsed, the enemy made ready his major effort. At 0300 Sunday, 16 July,
an enemy plane flew over the Kum and dropped a flare. It was the signal
for a co-ordinated attack. The intensity of the fire that now came from
enemy guns on the north bank of the river was as great, General Meloy has
said, as anything he experienced in Europe in World War II. Under cover
of this intense fire the North Koreans used boats and rafts, or waded and
swam, and in every possible way tried to cross the river. American artillery,
mortar, and supporting weapons fire met this attack.  Representative
of the accidents that weigh heavily in the outcome of most battles was
one that now occurred. One of the 155-mm. howitzers of the 11th Field Artillery
Battalion had been as signed to fire flares over the river position on
call. At the most critical time of the enemy crossing, the 1st Battalion
through the regiment requested a slight shift of the flare area. Normally
this would have taken only a few minutes to execute. But the artillery
personnel misunderstood the request and laid the howitzer on an azimuth
that required moving the trails of the piece. As a result of this mishap
there were no flares for a considerable period of time. Colonel Winstead,
the 1st Battalion commander, said that mishap and the resulting lack of
flares hurt his men more than anything else in their losing the south bank
of the river. 
Enemy troops succeeded in crossing the river at 0400 in front of the
gap between C and E Companies on the regimental right and struck the 1st
Platoon of C Company for the fourth time that night. In the midst of this
attack, Lt. Henry T. McGill called Lt. Thomas A. Maher, the 1st Platoon
leader, to learn how things were going. Maher answered, "We're doing
fine." Thirty seconds later he was dead with a burp gun bullet in
his head. North Koreans in this fourth assault succeeded in overrunning
the platoon position. The platoon sergeant brought out only about a dozen
men. C Company consolidated its remaining strength on the middle finger
of Hill 200 and held fast. But the North Koreans now had a covered route
around the east end of the 1st Battalion position. They exploited it in
the next few hours by extensive infiltration to the rear and in attacks
on the heavy mortar position and various observation and command posts.
Simultaneously with this crossing at the right of the main regimental
position, another was taking place below and on the left flank of the main
battle position. This one lasted longer and apparently was the largest
of all. At daybreak, men in B Company saw an estimated 300 to 400 North Korean soldiers on
high ground southwest of them-already safely across the river. And they
saw that crossings were still in progress downstream at a ferry site. Enemy
soldiers, 25 to 30 at a time, were wading into the river holding their
weapons and supplies on their heads, and plunging into neck-deep water.
From his observation post, Colonel Meloy could see the crossing area
to the left but few details of the enemy movement. Already B Company had
called in artillery fire on the enemy crossing force and Colonel Meloy
did likewise through his artillery liaison officer. Capt. Monroe Anderson
of B Company noticed that while some of the enemy moved on south after
crossing the river, most of them remained in the hills camouflaged as shrubs
and small trees. Lieutenant Early, fearing an attack on his rear by this
crossing force, left his 3d Platoon and moved back to a better observation
point. There for an hour he watched enemy soldiers bypass B Company, moving
By this time it seemed that the North Koreans were crossing everywhere
in front of the regiment. As early as 0630 Colonel Winstead had reported
to the regiment that his command post and the Heavy Mortar Company were
under attack and that the center of his battalion was falling back. The
enemy troops making this attack had crossed the river by the partly destroyed
bridge and by swimming and wading. They made deep penetrations and about
0800 overran part of the positions of A Company and the right hand platoon
of B Company behind the dike. They then continued on south across the flat
paddies and seized the high ground at Kadong-ni. Lt. John A. English, Weapons
Platoon leader with B Company, seeing what had happened to the one platoon
of B Company along the dike, ran down from his hill position, flipped off
his helmet, swam the small stream that empties into the Kum at this point,
and led out fourteen survivors. 
This enemy penetration through the center of the regimental position
to the 1st Battalion command post had to be thrown back if the 19th Infantry
was to hold its position. Colonel Meloy and Colonel Winstead immediately
set about organizing a counterattack force from the 1st Battalion Headquarters
and the Regimental Headquarters Companies, consisting of all officers present,
cooks, drivers, mechanics, clerks, and the security platoon. Colonel Meloy
brought up a tank and a quad-50 antiaircraft artillery half-track to help
in the counterattack. This counterattack farce engaged the North Koreans
and drove them from the high ground at Kadong-ni by 0900. Some of the enemy
ran to the river and crossed back to the north side. In leading this attack,
Maj. John M. Cook, the 1st Battalion Executive Officer, and Capt. Alan
Hackett, the Battalion S-1, lost their lives. 
Colonel Meloy reported to General Dean that he had thrown back the North Koreans, that he thought the situation was under control, and that he
could hold on until dark as he, General Dean, had requested. It was understood
that after dark the 19th Infantry would fall back from the river to a delaying
position closer to Taejon. 
Roadblock Behind the 19th Infantry
But events were not in reality as favorable as they had appeared to
Colonel Meloy when he made his report to General Dean. Colonel Winstead,
the 1st Battalion commander, soon reported to Colonel Meloy that while
he thought he could hold the river line to his front he had no forces to
deal with the enemy in his rear. Fire from infiltrated enemy troops behind
the main line was falling on many points of the battalion position and
on the main supply road. Then came word that an enemy force had established
a roadblock three miles to the rear on the main highway. Stopped by enemy
fire while on his way forward with a resupply of ammunition for the 1st
Battalion, 2d Lt. Robert E. Nash telephoned the news to Colonel Meloy who
ordered him to go back, find Colonel McGrail, 2d Battalion commander, and
instruct him to bring up G and H Companies to break the roadblock. Almost
simultaneously with this news Colonel Meloy received word from Colonel
Stratton that he was engaged with the enemy at the artillery positions.
All morning the hard-pressed men of the 19th Infantry had wondered what
had happened to their air support. When the last two planes left the Kum
River at dark the night before they had promised that air support would
be on hand the next morning at first light. Thus far only six planes, hours
after daylight, had made their appearance over the front. Now the regiment
sent back an urgent call for an air strike on the enemy roadblock force.
Scattered, spasmodic firing was still going on in the center when Colonel
Meloy and his S-3, Maj. Edward O. Logan, left the regimental command post
about an hour before noon to check the situation at the roadblock and to
select a delaying position farther back. Before leaving the Kum River,
Meloy gave instructions to Colonel Winstead concerning withdrawal of the
troops after dark. 
The enemy soldiers who established the roadblock behind the regiment
had crossed the Kum below B Company west of the highway. They bypassed
B and F Companies, the latter the regiment's reserve force. Only enough
enemy soldiers to pin it down turned off and engaged F Company. During
the morning many reports had come into the regimental command post from
F Company that enemy troops were moving south past its position. Once past
F Company, the enemy flanking force turned east toward the highway. 
About 1000, Colonel Perry, commanding officer of the 52d Field Artillery
Battalion, from his command post near Tuman-ni three miles south of the
Kum River, saw a long string of enemy soldiers in white clothing pass over
a mountain ridge two miles westward and disappear southward over another ridge.
He ordered A Battery to place fire on this column, and informed the 13th
Field Artillery Battalion below him that an enemy force was approaching
it. A part of this enemy force, wearing regulation North Korean uniforms,
turned off toward the 52d Field Artillery Battalion and headed for B Battery
Men in B Battery hastily turned two or three of their howitzers around
and delivered direct fire at the North Koreans. The North Koreans set up
mortars and fired into B Battery position. One of their first rounds killed
the battery commander and his first sergeant. Other rounds wounded five
of the six chiefs of sections. The battery executive, 1st Lt. William H.
Steele, immediately assumed command and organized a determined defense
of the position. Meanwhile, Colonel Perry at his command post just south
of B Battery assembled a small attack force of wire, medical, and fire
direction personnel not on duty, and some 19th Infantry soldiers who were
in his vicinity. He led this group out against the flank of the North Koreans,
directing artillery fire by radio as he closed with them. The combined
fire from B Battery, Colonel Perry's group, and the directed artillery
fire repelled this enemy attack. The North Koreans turned and went southward
into the hills. 
Before noon the enemy force again turned east to the highway about 800
yards south of the 52d Field Artillery position. There it opened fire on
and halted some jeeps with trailers going south for ammunition resupply.
Other vehicles piled up behind the jeeps. This was the beginning of the
roadblock, and this was when Colonel Meloy received the telephone message
about it. South of the roadblock the 11th and 13th Field Artillery Battalions
came under long range, ineffective small arms fire. The artillery continued
firing on the Kum River crossing areas, even though the 13th Field Artillery
Battalion Fire Direction Center, co-ordinating the firing, had lost all
communication about 1100 with its forward observers and liaison officers
at the infantry positions. 
The North Korean roadblock, a short distance below the village of Tuman
where the highway made a sharp bend going south, closed the only exit from
the main battle position of the 19th Infantry. At this point a narrow pass
was formed by a steep 40-foot embankment which dropped off on the west
side of the road to a small stream, the Yongsu River, and a steep hillside
that came down to the road on the other side. There was no space for a
vehicular bypass on either side of the road. South of this point for approximately
four miles high hills approached and flanked the highway on the west. As
the day wore on, the enemy built up his roadblock force and extended it
southward into these hills.
When Colonel Meloy and Major Logan arrived at the roadblock they found
conditions unsatisfactory. Small groups of soldiers, entirely disorganized and apathetic, were returning some
fire in the general direction of the unseen enemy. While trying to organize
a group to attack the enemy on the high ground overlooking the road Colonel
Meloy was wounded. He now gave to Colonel Winstead command of all troops
along the Kum River.
Major Logan established communication with General Dean about 1300.
He told him that Meloy had been wounded, that Winstead was in command,
and that the regimental situation was bad. Dean replied that he was assembling
a force to try to break the roadblock but that probably it would be about
1530 before it could arrive at the scene. He ordered the regiment to withdraw
at once, getting its personnel and equipment out to the greatest possible
extent. Soon after this conversation, enemy fire struck and destroyed the
regimental radio truck, and there was no further communication with the
division. Colonel Winstead ordered Major Logan to try to reduce the roadblock
and get someone through to establish contact with the relief force expected
from the south. Winstead then started back to his 1st Battalion along the
river. Shortly after 1330 he ordered it to withdraw. In returning to the
Kum, Winstead went to his death. 
During the previous night the weather had cleared from overcast to bright
starlight, and now, as the sun climbed past its zenith, the temperature
reached 100 degrees. Only foot soldiers who have labored up the steep Korean
slopes in midsummer can know how quickly exhaustion overcomes the body
unless it is inured to such conditions by training and experience. As this
was the initial experience of the 19th Infantry in Korean combat the men
lacked the physical stamina demanded by the harsh terrain and the humid,
furnace-like weather. And for three days and nights past they had had little
rest. This torrid midsummer Korean day, growing light at 0500 and staying
light until 2100, seemed to these weary men an unending day of battle.
When the 1st Battalion began to withdraw, some of the units were still
in their original positions, while others were in secondary positions to
which enemy action had driven them. In the withdrawal from Hill 200 on
the battalion right, officers of C Company had trouble in getting the men
to leave their foxholes. Incoming mortar fire pinned them down. Cpl. Jack
Arawaka, a machine gunner, at this time had his gun blow up in his face.
Deafened, nearly blind, and otherwise wounded from the explosion, he picked
up a BAR and continued fighting. Arawaka did not follow the company off
As 2d Lt. Augustus B. Orr led a part of the company along the base of
the hill toward the highway he came upon a number of North Korean soldiers
lying in rice paddy ditches and partly covered with water. They appeared
to be dead. Suddenly, Orr saw one of them who was clutching a grenade send
air bubbles into the water and open his eyes. Orr shot him at once. He and his men now discovered that the other North Koreans
were only feigning death and they killed them on the spot. 
When C Company reached the highway they saw the last of A and B Companies
disappearing south along it. Enemy troops were starting forward from the
vicinity of the bridge. But when they saw C Company approaching from their
flank, they ran back. Upon reaching the highway, C Company turned south
on it but soon came under enemy fire from the hill east of Palsan-ni. An
estimated six enemy machine guns fired on the company and scattered it.
Individuals and small groups from the company made their way south as best
they could. Some of those who escaped saw wounded men lying in the roadside
ditches with medical aid men heroically staying behind administering to
their needs. On the west side of the highway, F Company was still in position
covering the withdrawal of B Company. At the time of the withdrawal of
the 1st Battalion, F Company was under fire from its left front, left flank,
and the left rear. 
As elements of the withdrawing 1st Battalion came up to the roadblock,
officers attempted to organize attacks against the enemy automatic weapons
firing from the high ground a few hundred yards to the west. One such force
had started climbing toward the enemy positions when a flight of four friendly
F-51's came in and attacked the hill. This disrupted their efforts completely
and caused the men to drop back off the slope in a disorganized condition.
Other attempts were made to organize parties from drivers, mechanics, artillerymen,
and miscellaneous personnel to go up the hill-all to no avail. Two light
tanks at the roadblock fired in the general direction of the enemy. But
since the North Koreans used smokeless powder ammunition, the tankers could
not locate the enemy guns and their fire was ineffective. Lt. Lloyd D.
Smith, platoon leader of the 81-mm. mortar platoon, D Company, was one
of the officers Major Logan ordered to attack and destroy the enemy machine
guns. He and another platoon leader, with about fifty men, started climbing
toward the high ground. After going several hundred feet, Smith found that
only one man was still with him. They both returned to the highway. Men
crowded the roadside ditches seeking protection from the enemy fire directed
at the vehicles. 
Several times men pushed vehicles blocking the road out of the way,
but each time traffic started to move enemy machine guns opened up causing
more driver casualties and creating the vehicle block all over again. Strafing
by fighter planes seemed unable to reduce this enemy automatic fire of
three or four machine guns. Ordered to attack south against the enemy roadblock
force, F Company, still in its original reserve position, was unable to
do so, being virtually surrounded and under heavy attack.
About 1430, Major Logan placed Capt. Edgar R. Fenstermacher, Assistant
S-3, in command at the roadblock, and taking twenty men he circled eastward
and then southward trying to determine the extent of the roadblock and to find a bypass. Approximately two
hours later, he and his group walked into the positions of the 13th Field
Artillery Battalion which had started to displace southward. A few minutes
later Logan met General Dean. With the general were two light tanks and
four antiaircraft artillery vehicles, two of them mounting quad .50-caliber
machine guns and the other two mounting dual 40-mm. guns. 
In carrying out Meloy's instructions and going back down the road to
find Colonel McGrail and bring G and H Companies to break the roadblock,
Nash ran a gantlet of enemy fire. His jeep was wrecked by enemy fire, but
he escaped on foot to the 13th Field Artillery Battalion position. There
he borrowed a jeep and drove to McGrail's command post at Sangwang-ni on
the regimental extreme left flank near Kongju. After delivering Meloy's
orders, Nash drove back to Taejon airstrip to find trucks to transport
the troops. It took personal intercession and an order from the assistant
division commander, General Menoher, before the trucks went to pick up
G Company. Meanwhile, two tanks and the antiaircraft vehicles started for
the roadblock position. Colonel McGrail went on ahead and waited at the
13th Field Artillery Battalion headquarters for the armored vehicles to
arrive. They had just arrived when Logan met General Dean. 
Logan told General Dean of the situation at the roadblock and offered
to lead the armored vehicles to break the block. Dean said that Colonel
McGrail would lead the force and that he, Logan, should continue on south
and form a new position just west of Taejon airfield. While Logan stood
at the roadside talking with General Dean, a small group of five jeeps
came racing toward them. Lt. Col. Homer B. Chandler, the 19th Infantry
Executive Officer, rode in the lead jeep. He had led four jeeps loaded
with wounded through the roadblock. Every one of the wounded had been hit
again one or more times by enemy fire during their wild ride. 
McGrail now started up the road with the relief force. One light tank
led, followed by the four antiaircraft vehicles loaded with soldiers; the
second light tank brought up the rear. About one mile north of the former
position of the 13th Field Artillery Battalion, enemy heavy machine gun
and light antitank fire ripped into the column just after it rounded a
bend and came onto a straight stretch of the road. Two vehicles stopped
and returned the enemy fire. Most of the infantry in the antiaircraft vehicles
jumped out and scrambled for the roadside ditches. As McGrail went into
a ditch he noticed Colonel Meloy's and Major Logan's wrecked jeeps nearby.
Enemy fire destroyed the four antiaircraft vehicles. After expending their
ammunition, the tanks about 1600 turned around and headed back down the
road. McGrail crawled back along the roadside ditch and eventually got
out of enemy fire. The personnel in the four antiaircraft vehicles suffered
an estimated 90 percent casualties. The location of the wrecked Meloy and Logan jeeps would indicate that McGrail's relief force came
within 300 to 400 yards of the regimental column piled up behind the roadblock
around the next turn of the road. 
Back near Kongju on the regimental west flank, G Company came off its
hill positions and waited for trucks to transport it to the roadblock area.
Elements of H Company went on ahead in their own transportation. Captain
Montesclaros stayed with the I&R Platoon, and it and the engineers
blew craters in the road. They were the last to leave. At Yusong General
Menoher met Capt. Michael Barszcz, commanding officer of G Company, when
the company arrived there from the west flank. Fearing that enemy tanks
were approaching, Menoher ordered him to deploy his men along the river
bank in the town.
Later Barszcz received orders to lead his company forward to attack
the enemy-held roadblock. On the way, Barszcz met a small convoy of vehicles
led by a 2 1/2 ton truck. A Military Police officer riding the front fender
of the truck yelled, "Tanks, Tanks!" as it hurtled past. Barszcz
ordered his driver to turn the jeep across the road to block it and the
G Company men scrambled off their vehicles into the ditches. But there
were no enemy tanks, and, after a few minutes, Barszcz had G Company on
the road again, this time on foot. Some distance ahead, he met General
Dean who ordered him to make contact with the enemy and try to break the
About six miles north of Yusong and two miles south of Tuman-ni, G Company
came under long-range enemy fire. Barszcz received orders to advance along
high ground on the left of the road. He was told that enemy troops were
on the hill half a mile ahead and to the left. While climbing the hill
the company suffered several casualties from enemy fire. They dug in on
top at dusk. A short time later a runner brought word for them to come
down to the road and withdraw. That ended the effort of the 19th Infantry
and the 24th Division to break the roadblock behind the regiment. 
Efforts to break the enemy roadblock at both its northern and southern
extremities disclosed that it covered about a mile and a half of road.
The enemy soldiers imposing it were on a Y-shaped hill mass whose two prongs
dropped steeply to the Yongsu River at their eastern bases and overlooked
the Seoul-Pusan highway.
Behind the roadblock, the trapped men had waited during the afternoon.
They could not see either of the two attempts to reach them from the south
because of a finger ridge cutting off their view. Not all the troops along
the river line, however, came to the roadblock; many groups scattered into
the hills and moved off singly or in small units south and east toward
About 1800, several staff officers decided that they would place Colonel
Meloy in the last tank and run it through the roadblock. The tank made
four efforts before it succeeded in pushing aside the pile of smoldering
2 1/2-ton trucks and other equipment blocking the road. Then it rumbled southward. About
twenty vehicles followed the tank through the roadblock, including a truck
towing a 105-mm. howitzer of the 52d Field Artillery Battalion, before
enemy fire closed the road again and for the last time. A few miles south
of the roadblock the tank stopped because of mechanical failure. There
Captain Barszcz and G Company, withdrawing toward Yusong, came upon it
and Colonel Meloy. No one had been able to stop any of the vehicles for
help that had followed the tank through the roadblock. Instead, they sped
past the disabled tank. The tank commander, Lt. J. N. Roush, upon Colonel
Meloy's orders, dropped a thermite grenade into the tank and destroyed
it. Eventually, an officer returned with a commandeered truck and took
Colonel Meloy and other wounded men to Yusong. 
About an hour after the tank carrying Colonel Meloy had broken through
the roadblock, Captain Fenstermacher, acting under his authority from Major
Logan, ordered all personnel to prepare for cross-country movement. The
critically wounded and those unable to walk were placed on litters. There
were an estimated 500 men and approximately 100 vehicles at the roadblock
at this time. Captain Fenstermacher and others poured gasoline on the vehicles
and then set them afire. While so engaged, Captain Fenstermacher was shot
through the neck. About 2100 the last of the men at the roadblock moved
eastward into the hills. 
One group of infantrymen, artillerymen, engineers, and medical and headquarters
troops, numbering approximately 100 men, climbed the mountain east of the
road. They took with them about 30 wounded, including several litter cases.
About 40 men of this group were detailed to serve as litter bearers but
many of them disappeared while making the ascent. On top of the mountain
the men still with the seriously wounded decided they could take them no
farther. Chaplain Herman G. Felhoelter remained behind with the wounded.
When a party of North Koreans could be heard approaching, at the Chaplain's
urging, Capt. Linton J. Buttrey, the medical officer, escaped, though seriously
wounded in doing so. From a distance, 1st Sgt James W. R. Haskins of Headquarters
Company saw through his binoculars a group of what appeared to be young
North Korean soldiers murder the wounded men and the valiant chaplain as
the latter prayed over them. 
All night long and into the next day, 17 July, stragglers and those
who had escaped through the hills filtered into Yusong and Taejon. Only
two rifle companies of the 19th Infantry were relatively intact-G and E
Companies. On the eastern flank near the railroad bridge, E Company was
not engaged during the Kum River battle and that night received orders to withdraw.
When Captain Barszcz encountered Colonel Meloy at the stalled tank the
latter had ordered him to dig in across the road at the first good defensive
terrain he could find. Barszcz selected positions at Yusong. There G Company
dug in and occupied the most advanced organized defense position of the
U.S. 24th Division beyond Taejon on the morning of 17 July. 
The North Korean 3d Division fought the battle of the
Kum River on 16 July without tanks south of the river. Most of the American
light tanks in the action gave a mixed performance. At the roadblock on
one occasion, when Major Logan ordered two tanks to go around a bend in
the road and fire on the enemy machine gun positions in an attempt to silence
them while the regimental column ran through the block, the tankers refused
to do so unless accompanied by infantry. Later these tanks escaped through
the roadblock without orders. An artillery officer meeting General Dean
at the south end of the roadblock asked him if there was anything he could
do. Dean replied, "No, thank you," and then with a wry smile
the general added, "unless you can help me give these tankers a little
The 19th Infantry regimental headquarters and the 1st Battalion lost
nearly all their vehicles and heavy equipment north of the roadblock. The
52d Field Artillery Battalion lost 8 105-mm. howitzers and most of its
equipment; it brought out only 1 howitzer and 3 vehicles. The 13th and
11th Field Artillery Battalions, two miles south of the 52d, withdrew in
the late afternoon to the Taejon airstrip without loss of either weapons
or vehicles. 
The battle of the Kum on 16 July was a black day for the 19th Infantry
Regiment. Of the approximately 900 men in position along the river only
434 reported for duty in the Taejon area the next day. A count disclosed
that of the 34 officers in the regimental Headquarters, Service, Medical,
and Heavy Mortar Companies, and the 1st Battalion, 17 were killed or missing
in action. Of these, 13 later were confirmed as killed in action. All the
rifle companies of the 1st Battalion suffered heavy casualties, but the
greatest was in C Company, which had total casualties of 122 men out of
171. The regimental headquarters lost 57 of 191 men. The 1st Battalion
lost 338 out of 785 men, or 43 percent, the 2d Battalion, 86 out of 777
men; the 52d Field Artillery Battalion had 55 casualties out of 393 men,
or 14 percent. The total loss of the regiment and all attached and artillery
units engaged in the action was 650 out of 3,401, or 19 percent. 
During 17 July, B Company of the 34th Infantry relieved G Company, 19th
Infantry, in the latter's position at Yusong, five miles northwest of Taejon.
The 18th Infantry that afternoon moved to Yongdong, twenty-five air miles
southeast of Taejon, to re-equip. 
In the battle of the Kum River on 16 July one sees the result of a defending
force lacking an adequate reserve to deal with enemy penetrations and flank
movement. Colonel Meloy never faltered in his belief that if he had not
had to send two-thirds of his reserve to the left flank after the collapse
of the 34th Infantry at Kongju, he could have prevented the North Koreans
from establishing their roadblock or could have reduced it by attack from
high ground. The regiment did repel, or by counterattack drive out, all
frontal attacks and major penetrations of its river positions except that
through C Company on Hill 200. But it showed no ability to organize counterattacks
with available forces once the roadblock had been established. By noon,
demoralization had set in among the troops, many of whom were near exhaustion
from the blazing sun and the long hours of tension and combat. They simply
refused to climb the hills to attack the enemy's automatic weapons positions.
The N.K. 3d Division, for its part, pressed home an attack which
aimed to pin down the 19th Infantry by frontal attack while it carried
out a double envelopment of the flanks. The envelopment of the American
left flank resulted in the fatal roadblock three miles below the Kum on
the main supply road. This North Korean method of attack had characterized
most other earlier actions and it seldom varied in later ones.
 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 406, 101115 Jul 50; 3d Engr (C) Bn WD,
14 Jul 50.
 24th Recon Co WD, 12 Jul 50; ADCOM G-3 Log, 202513 Jul 50; 24th Div
G-2 Jnl, entry 778, 131330 Jul 50.
 24th Div WD, Narr Summ, 13 Jul 50: Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entries 681 and
790, 122200 and 131445 Jul 50; EUSAK WD, G-2 Sec, 13 Jul 50.
Ltr and Comments, Wadlington to author, I Apr 53 (Wadlington
commanded the 34th Infantry at the time); 24h Div WD, Narr Summ, 13 Jul
 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 413, 131535 Jul 50; Ibid., G-1 Stf Hist
Rpt, 14 Jul 50.
 ATIS Res Supp, Issue 2 (Documentary Evidence of N.K. Aggression),
Interrog 118; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p.
46; 24th Div WD, G-2 Sec, PW Interrog file, interrog of 2d Lt Bai Jun
Pal, 12 and 13 Jul 50.
 EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Rpt, 13 and 22 Jul 50; 24h Div WD, G-2 PW Interrog
File, interrog of Lee Ki Sup, 20 Jul 50.
 Interv, Mitchell with MSgt Milo W. Garman (Plat Sgt, 2d Plat, K Co.
34th Inf), 1 Aug 50; Interv, Mitchell with 2d Lt James B. Bryant (Plat
Ldr, B Co, 34th Inf), 30 Jul 50; Wadlington Comments; Ltr, Lt Col Harold
B. Ayres to author, 3 Oct 52.
 Interv, 1st Lt Billy C. Mossman with Stith, Jul 50; Wadlington
 24th Div WD, 13 Jul 50; 3d Engr (C) Bn Unit WD, 13 Jul 50; Interv,
Mitchell with MSgt Wallace A. Wagnebreth (Plat Ldr, L Co, 34th Inf), 31
Jul 50, copy in OCMH.
 Interv, Mitchell with Garman, 1 Aug 50; Wadlington Comments.
 Interv, Mossman with Stith, 31 Jul 50; Interv, Mitchell with
Wagnebreth, 31 Jul 50; Interv, Mossman with Pfc Doyle L. Wilson, L Co,
34th Inf, 2 Aug 50; Interv, author with Maj Clarence H. Ellis, Jr. (S-3
Sec, 11th FA Bn, Jul 50), 22 Jul 54; Interv, Mossman with SFC Clayton F.
Cores (Intel Sgt, Hq Btry, 63d FA Bn), 31 Jul 50.
 Intervs, Mossman with Stith, 31 Jul 50, and Wilson, 2 Aug 50;
Interv, Mitchell with Wagnebreth, 31 Jul 50.
 Interv, Mitchell with Cpl Lawrence A. Ray (A Btry, 63d FA Bn), 29
 Interv, Mitchell with SFC Leonard J. Smith (Chief Computer, FDC, Hq
Btry, 63d FA Bn), 29 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 1056, statement
of Lee Kyn Soon.
 Intervs, Mossman with Pvt Fred M. Odle (A Btry, 63d FA Bn), 28 Jul
50, and Sgt Leon L. Tucker (Hq Btry, 63d FA Bn), 31 Jul 50; interv,
Mitchell with Ray, 29 Jul 50. General Order 55, 7 September 1950,
awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to Corporal Ray. EUSAK WD.
 Interv, Mitchell with Smith, 29 Jul 50; Washington Post, April 9,
 Interv, Mitchell with Pvt William R. Evans, 29 Jul 50; 24th Div WD,
G-2 Jnl, entry 1056, 15-19 Jul 50, statement of Capt Stahelski.
 Interv, Mossman with Tucker, 31 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 14 July 50.
Enemy sources indicate the N.K. 4th Division occupied Kongju by 2200, 14
July, and claim that the 16th Regiment in overrunning the 63d Field
Artillery Battalion captured 86 prisoners 10 105-mm. howitzers, 17 other
weapons, 86 vehicles and a large amount of ammunition. See ATIS Res Supp
Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Division), p. 46
 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 457, 141025 Jul 50: Wadlington Comments;
Ltr, Maj David A. Bissett, Jr. (Sr Aide to Gen Dean, Jul 50), 14 Jul 52.
 Wadlington Comments; Ltr, Wadlington to author, 2 Jun 55.
 Wadlington Comments and Ltr to author, 1 Apr 53; Ltr, Ayres to
author, 3 Oct 52; Interv, Mossman with Gores, 31 Jul 50: 24th Div WD, G-
2 Jnl, entry 1056, 15-19 Jul 50. The communications officer of the 63d
Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Lt. Herman W. Starling, however, has
stated that about 1400 he went to the 1st Battalion command post and
reported that the artillery was under attack and asked for help. Ayres
says he has no knowledge of this but that it might have occurred in his
absence since he was away from his post command most of the day. He says
no one on his staff reported such an incident to him.
 Ltr, Ayres to author, 3 Oct 52; Interv, Mitchell with Bryant, 30
Jul 50; Wadlington Comments; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 1056, 15-19 Jul
 24th Div Arty WD, 15 Jul 50; Barth MS, p. 5.
 Wadlington Comments; Interv, Mitchell with Sgt Justin B. Fleming
(2d Plat, I Co, 34th Inf), 1 Aug 50.
 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 495, 141830 Jul 50.
 Ibid., entry 487, 141640 Jul 50; Ltr, Stephens to author, 17 Apr
 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 936. 150830 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl,
entry 562, 151945 Jul 50; Ibid., Narr Summ, 25 Jun-22 Jul 50.
 21st Inf WD, 13 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 13 Jul 50.
 Interv, Mitchell with Col Meloy, 30 Jul 50. Standard practice was
to blow the spans adjacent to the friendly side of a stream.
 There were two 600 foot high hills (Hills 200) in the 1st
Battalion, 19th Infantry, zone. The second is close to the highway and
just east of the village of Palsan.
 The positions given for the 19th Infantry at the Kum River are
based on 19th Inf WD, 13 Jul 50; Ltr, Brig Gen Guy S. Meloy, Jr., to
author, 6 Jul 52; Notes and overlays of 19th Inf position 14-16 Jul 50
prepared by Lt Col Edward O. Logan (S-3, 19th Inf, at Kum River) for
author, Jun 52: Interv, author with Maj Melicio Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52;
Intervs, Capt Martin Blumenson with 2d Lt Charles C. Early (Plat Ldr, 3d
Plat, B Co, 19th Inf), 26 Aug 51, with 2d Lt Augustus B. Orr (Plat Ldr,
C Co, 19th Inf), 26 Aug 51, and with Capt Elliot C. Cutler, Jr. (CO Hv
Mort Co, 19th Inf at Kum River), 27 Aug. 51.
 Overlay, Logan for author, Jun 52; Ltr and sketch map, Col Perry
(CO 52d FA Bn at Kum River) for author, 8 Jun 52.
 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 911, 142105 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 14 Jul
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 4 Dec 52; Overlay, Logan for author, Jun 52.
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May 52; Ltr, Capt Michael Barszcz (CO G
Co, 19th Inf) to author, 3 Jul 52; Notes and overlay, Logan for author,
Jun 52; 19th Inf WD, 14-15 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 15 Jul 50; EUSAK WD, G-3
Sec, Msg at 151700 Jul 50.
 21st Inf WD, 29 Jun-22 Jul 50 and Incl II, Activities Rpt 1st Bn;
24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 408, 131440 Jul 50; Ltr, Gen Stephens to
author, 17 Apr 52.
 Ltr, Stephens to author, 17 Apr 52; Ltr, Perry to author, 8 Jun 52;
21st Inf WD, 15-16 Jul 50.
 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 96 (N.K. 3d Div), p. 32.
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 30 Dec 52; Intervs, Blumenson with Early, 26
Aug 51, and Orr, 26 Aug 51; 19th Inf WD, 15 Jul 50.
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May 52; 19th Inf WD, 16 Jul 50; 13th FA Bn
WD, 16 Jul 50. The journal of the 19th Infantry was lost in action on
the 16th. The summary of events in the regimental war diary for 16 July
was compiled later from memory by the regimental staff.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52, quoting his conversation with
Winstead on 16 Jul 50.
 Interv, Blumenson with Orr, 26 Aug 51.
 Interv, Blumenson with Early, 26 Aug 51.
 Ibid.; Ltrs, Meloy to author, 4, 30 Dec 52.
 Ltrs, Meloy to author, 4, 30 Dec 52; Notes, Logan for author, Jun
52; Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May 52.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52; Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May 52:
Interv, Mitchell with Meloy, 30 Jul 50; Intervs, Blumenson with Early,
26 Aug 51, and Cutler, 27 Aug 51: 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 583,
160730, Jul 50.
 Ltrs, Meloy to author, 29 May, 20 Aug, and 30 Dec 52.
 19th Inf WD, Summ, 16 Jul 50; 52d FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; 24th Div WD,
G-3 Jnl, entry 160910 Jul 50; Ltr, Meloy to author, 30 Dec 52.
 Ltrs, Meloy to author, 29 May, 20 Aug, and 30 Dec 52.
 Notes and overlay, Logan for author, Jun 52.
 Ltr, Col Perry to author, 8 Jun 52; Notes, Logan for author, Jun
52; Ltr, Meloy to author, 30 Dec 52; 52d FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; 13th FA Bn
WD, 16 Jul 50. General Order 120, 5 September 1950, 24th Division,
awarded the Silver Star to Lieutenant Steele for action on 16 July.
 Ltr, Perry to author, 8 Jun 52; Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52,
quoting Maj Leon B. Cheek, S-3, 13th FA Bn; Interv, Blumenson with Lt
Nash (S-4, 2d Bn, 19th Inf), 1 Aug 51.
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May, 7 Jul, 4 Dec, and 30 Dec 52; Notes,
Logan for author, Jun 52; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 1031, 161300 Jul
50. The message in the G-2 Journal reporting Logan's conversation with
General Dean reads, "Colonel Meloy hit in calf of leg. Winstead in
command. Vehicles badly jammed. Baker Battery is no more [apparently
referring to B Battery, 52d Field Artillery Battalion, but in error].
Will fight them and occupy position in rear. Both sides of road.
Vehicles jammed. Taking a pounding in front. Air Force does not seem
able to find or silence tanks."
 Interv, Blumenson with Orr, 26 Aug 51.
 Ibid.; Ltr, Meloy to author, 4 Dec 52, citing comments provided him
by Capt Anderson, CO, B Co.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52; Interv. Blumenson with Lt Smith (D
Co, 19th Inf), 25 Aug 51.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52; Interv, author with Col Thomas M.
McGrail, 24 Oct 52.
 Interv, Blumenson with Nash, 1 Aug 51: Interv, author with McGrail,
24 Oct 52.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52: Interv, author with McGrail, 24
 Ibid.; 19th Inf WD, 16 Jul 50; 78th Hv Tk Bn, A Co, WD, 16 Jul 50.
 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 3 Jul 52; Interv, author with Montesclaros,
20 Aug 52. Interv, Blumenson with 2d Lt Robert L. Merbert (Plat Ldr, 2d
Plat, G Co, 19th Inf), 20 Aug 51.
 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 3 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 20
 Ltrs, Meloy to author, 20 Aug and 30 Dec 52; Notes, Logan for
author, Jun 52; Intervs, Blumenson with Early, 26 Aug 51 and Herbert, 20
Aug 51; 52d FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; 13th FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; Intervs,
author with Huckabay and Eversole, 52d FA Bn, 4 Aug 51.
 Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52; Ltr, Meloy to author, 4 Dec 52
(both Meloy and Logan quote information from Fenstermacher on the
departure from the roadblock); Interv, Blumenson with Early, 26 Aug 51;
19th Inf WD, 16 Jul 50.
 Interv, Blumenson with Early, 26 Aug 51; Ltr, Meloy to author,
quoting Fenstermacher, 4 Dec 52; Notes, Logan to author, Jun 52; New
York Herald Tribune, July 19, 1950.
 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 3 Jul 52.
 Ltr, Meloy to author, 29 May 52; Notes, Logan for author, Jun 52;
Interv, author with Maj Leon B. Cheek, 5 Aug 51.
 Ltr, Col Perry to author, 6 Nov 52; 52d FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; 13th
FA Bn WD, 16 Jul 50; Interv, author with Maj Jack J. Kron (Ex Off, 13th
FA Bn), 4 Aug 51. The 11th Field Artillery Battalion on 14 July received
a third firing battery, thus becoming the first U.S. artillery battalion
in action in the Korean War to have the full complement of three firing
batteries. Interv, author with Cheek, 5 Aug 51; 19th Inf WD, 16 Jul 50.
 Table, Confirmed KIA as of August 1, 1951, 19th Infantry, for 16
Jul 50, copy supplied author by Gen Meloy; Intervs, Blumenson with Early
and Orr, 26 Aug 51; The Rand Corporation, Dr. J, O'Sullivan, Statistical
Study of Casualties 19th Infantry at Battle of Taep'yong-ni, 16 July
 19th Inf WD, 17 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-4 Summ, 17-18 Jul 50.
Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation