To the devil with history and principles! After all, what is the problem? |
Verdy du Vernois at battle of Nachod, anecdote told by Foch
The Logistical Situation
The Eighth Army advance into North Korea had begun under great logistical
difficulties and was supported only on the narrowest margin. On 10 October,
the day after the attack began, General Milburn expressed himself as being
disturbed by the logistical situation of I Corps. He felt that at least
3,000 tons of balanced stocks should be in the Kaesong ammunition supply
points. But Col. Albert K. Stebbins, Jr., Eighth Army G-4, informed him
that this could not be accomplished unless all the truck companies were
diverted to that task. The unfavorable supply situation largely grew out
of the fact that during the first half of October (1-17 October) unloading
activities at Inch'on for Eighth Army were negligible. Practically all
the port capabilities at that time were engaged in mounting out the 1st
Marine Division for the Wonsan operation. Levels of some supplies for I
Corps were at times reduced to one day, and only selective unloading enabled
the supply sections to meet troop requirements. Most combat vehicles, such
as tanks, operated in the forward zone without knowing whether they would
have enough fuel at hand to continue the attack the next day.
Because it could not support any more troops north of the Han River
at this time, Eighth Army had been compelled to undertake the movement
north of the 38th Parallel with only one corps (I Corps), leaving IX Corps
below the river. As rapidly as the logistical situation permitted, General
Walker intended to move IX Corps into North Korea to help in the drive
to the border. On 23 October, General Walker informed General Coulter that
the ROK III Corps (5th and 11th Divisions) would relieve IX Corps' in its
zone as soon as practicable for this purpose, and not later than 10 November.
On 19 October the army forward distributing point was at Kaesong. Hence,
for most units supplies had to be trucked more than a hundred miles-a most
difficult logistical situation even with good roads, and those in Korea
were far from that. During this time Eighth Army used about 200 trucks
daily to transport food, gasoline, and lubricants to dumps 50 miles north of Seoul.
A pipeline, completed in October, carried aviation gasoline from Inch'on
to Kimpo Airfield and helped immensely in supplying the planes with fuel.
The 3d Logistical Command at Inch'on was assigned to Eighth Army on
7 October with the primary mission of providing it with logistical support
in North Korea. Eighth Army in turn attached the 3d Logistical Command
to the 2d Logistical Command. From Pusan the 2d Logistical Command continued
of necessity to forward by rail and truck supplies for Eighth Army.
The solution to Eighth Army's logistical problems rested in the last
analysis on the railroads. Airlift and long-distance trucking were emergency
measures only; they could not supply the army for an offensive operation
several hundreds of miles from its railhead.
At the end of September, rail communications for Eighth Army did not
extend beyond the old Pusan Perimeter. Yet the army itself was then at
the Han River, 200 miles northward. Because of the resulting logistical
strain, the repair of the rail line north of Waegwan was of the greatest
The reconstruction of the railroad bridges over the major rivers north
of Taegu constituted the greatest single problem. To rebuild these bridges
Eighth Army marshaled all available bridging equipment and materiel. Engineer
construction troops, aided by great numbers of Korean laborers, worked
to the limit of their endurance to restore the rail lines northward. The
Koreans assumed responsibility for repairing minor bridges, I Corps most
of the highway bridges, and Eighth Army the rail bridges and the largest
The first great task was to repair the 165-foot break in the Waegwan
rail bridge over the Naktong. Working fifty feet above the water, the engineers,
after some preliminary work, in 7 days completed the major repairs. Rail
traffic crossed the bridge on 5 October. At first all effort was concentrated
on opening single track communications over the 200 miles of rail from
the Naktong to the Han River. This was accomplished on 10 October, 17 days
after reconstruction work started at the Naktong River bridge. It was not
until 11 days later that a shoofly bridge carried rail traffic across the
Han into Seoul. 
But even after trains crossed into Seoul they could proceed only as
far as Munsan-ni on the south bank of the Imjin River. This was still 200
miles below the Eighth Army front at the Ch'ongch'on River in late October.
Thus, at that time the railhead was still as many miles south of the Eighth
Army front as it had been a month earlier when the front was in the Seoul area
and the railhead was at Waegwan. At Munsan-ni the supplies were unloaded,
trucked across the Imjin, and reloaded on trains on the north side. Meanwhile,
Engineer troops were at work repairing the Imjin River rail bridge. The
water span was 1,600 feet long, with a length of several thousand feet
of earth fill required in its approaches. As a generalization, it may be
said that the railhead lagged 200 miles behind the Eighth Army front in
The daily "must" trains from Pusan at this time were (1) a
train of 9 cars to Taejon for the 25th Division, (2) a ration train of
20 cars (200,000 rations) to Yongdungp'o, (3) 2 ammunition trains of 20
cars each, (4) 1 hospital train, (5) 1 POL train of 30 cars, and (6) 1
train of 20 cars every other day in support of ROK troops based in the
Seoul area. 
Repair of the major highway bridges presented a problem just as pressing
as repair of the rail bridges. In some respects it was an even more immediate
problem because, in general, the highway bridges could be repaired more
quickly, and they were the first used to keep supplies moving forward to
the troops. The 207-foot span break in the Naktong River highway bridge
at Waegwan was closed with pile bents and a 100-foot triple single-panel
Bailey bridge. The first traffic crossed the repaired bridge on 30 September.
To provide a vehicular bridge across the Han River at Seoul quickly, the
FEAF Combat Cargo Command, using seventy C-119 flights, flew in a pontoon
bridge from Japan. This 50-ton floating bridge was 740 feet long. On 30
September, 3,034 vehicles crossed it, and thereafter traffic passed over
it day and night. A second bridge was completed across the Han on 7 October.
The next afternoon two-way traffic resumed across the river.
At every turn in the operations in North Korea during October, Eighth
Army's effort was limited by an adverse logistical situation. And it must
be borne in mind that Eighth Army's troops had almost reached the North
Korean capital of P'yongyang before it could get any supplies through the
port of Inch'on, where facilities were still devoted exclusively to outloading
the X Corps.
With action in the Kumch'on Pocket ended, in the first phase of Eighth
Army's drive into North Korea, the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, marched from
Hanp'o-ri on Namch'onjom. (Map 19) Air strikes on that town
at 0700, 15 October, preceded the attack. The 2d Battalion then launched
its assault, supported by artillery, against fiercely defending North Koreans.
After hard fighting the 2d Battalion overcame the enemy force and entered
Namch'onjom at noon, losing ten men killed and thirty wounded in the battle.
North Korean prisoners said that strafing attacks on Namch'onjom during
the morning had destroyed the 19th Division command post
and killed the division chief of staff. 
Torrential rains now turned the dusty roads into seas of mud, and maneuvers
planned to put the 5th Cavalry in front of the retreating enemy came to
On 16 October, Colonel Lynch's 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, led the attack
out of Namch'onjom, and by noon it had secured Sohung, seventeen miles
northwest. The 1st Battalion passed through the town, turned north on a
secondary road, and prepared to advance on Hwangju the next day. Colonel
Harris and the regimental headquarters arrived at Sohung late in the afternoon.
On the right of the 1st Cavalry Division the ROK 1st Division had made
spectacular progress. On the 13th it entered Sibyon-ni, a vital crossroads
northeast of Kaesong. Two days later it engaged a regiment-sized force
of North Koreans, which was supported by six tanks and artillery, in heavy
battle in the vicinity of Miu-dong, twelve miles northeast of Namch'onjom.
Air strikes helped the ROK's. With his men following the high ground and
his tanks on the road, Paik moved ahead. His division fought another battle
the next day, 16 October, after which its leading elements entered Suan,
forty air miles southeast of P'yongyang. General Paik said at this time
that his tactics were "no stop." It began to look as if his division,
the infantry afoot and traveling over secondary roads, was going to beat
the American motorized columns to P'yongyang. 
On 15 October General Milburn reflected General Walker's impatience
with what Walker thought was a slow advance. Milburn ordered the 24th Division
to move into attack position on the left (west) of the 1st Cavalry Division
and to seize Sariwon from the south, and then attack north toward the North
Korean capital. On the same day General Gay ordered the 27th British Commonwealth
Brigade to assemble behind the 7th Cavalry Regiment and be prepared to
pass through it and seize Sariwon. Thus the stage was set for a continuation
of the I Corps drive for P'yongyang. General Gay has said of that period,
"The situation was tense, everybody was tired and nervous." 
Colonel Stephen's 21st Infantry of the 24th Division met just enough
opposition as it moved from Paekch'on toward Haeju to prevent the infantry
from mounting the trucks and rolling along rapidly as a motorized column.
Its tank-infantry teams on 17 October overcame 300 North Koreans defending
Haeju and secured the town that afternoon. 
The 19th Regiment of the 24th Division, meanwhile, trailed the 5th Cavalry
Regiment. Both of them turned westward off the main highway at Namch'onjom.
The 19th Infantry was to continue westward beyond Nuch'on-ni and then turn
north toward Sariwon. On the 16th a bad traffic jam developed on the road
up to Namch'onjom where the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, the 5th
Cavalry, and the 19th Regiment were all on the road. For long periods the
vehicles moved slowly, bumper to bumper. From Namch'onjom westward, the
19th Infantry, behind the 5th Cavalry Regiment, was powerless to accelerate
its pace although General Church had ordered it to do so. Word came at this time that General Milburn had told Generals
Gay and Church that whichever division-the 1st Cavalry or the 24th Infantry-reached
Sariwon first would thereby win the right to lead the corps attack on into
P'yongyang. The 24th Division was handicapped in this race for Sariwon,
as it had a roundabout, longer route over inferior roads and poorer supply
A dominant characteristic of all units in the advance at this time was
the strong rivalry prevailing between divisions, and even between units
within a division, to gain the most ground and be the first to reach the
North Korean capital. Flare-ups between units were frequent and nerves
One such flare-up occurred before dawn of 17 October. On the preceding
afternoon two battalions and the regimental headquarters of the 7th Cavalry
reached Sohung. The 3d Battalion held the town and together with F Company
established roadblocks there. The 27th British Commonwealth Brigade was
to pass through it the next morning in attack along the main highway to
Sariwon. Holding a roadblock south of Sohung was Capt. Arthur H. Truxes,
Jr., with F Company. Colonel Harris in posting his roadblock forces gave
them orders to shoot at anything moving in front of the perimeter during
the hours of darkness. He says he had no information that the 5th Cavalry
was making a night approach toward his position. Captain Webel, S-3 of
the 7th Cavalry Regiment, says that he told the 5th Cavalry liaison officer
with the regiment of the roadblock forces and their orders to shoot, and
asked him to return to the 5th Cavalry and inform it of the situation.
This officer did not do that, however, but stayed in the 7th Cavalry command
post overnight. The leading elements of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry
Regiment, approached the 7th Cavalry outpost one mile south of Sohung at
0300 the morning of 17 October, and a fire fight broke out between them,
each thinking the other an enemy force. Before the mistake could be corrected,
7th Cavalry fire wounded seven men of the 5th Cavalry. 
On 17 October, with the 1st Battalion in the lead, the 7th Cavalry Regiment
followed the secondary "cow path" road north from Sohung in a
circuitous route toward Hwangju where it would strike the main P'yongyang
highway north of Sariwon. The 27th British Commonwealth Brigade passed
through the lines of the 7th Cavalry that morning at Sohung and took up
the advance along the main highway toward Sariwon.
Sariwon lay some thirty miles up the highway almost due west from Sohung.
At Sariwon the highway and railroad debouched from the mountains, turned
north and ran through the coastal plain to P'yongyang, thirty-five miles away. Only occasional low hills lay
across the road between Sariwon and P'yongyang. It was generally expected
that the North Koreans would make their stand for the defense of P'yongyang,
short of the city itself, on the heights before Sariwon.
A platoon of Maj. David Wilson's A Company of the Argyll 1st Battalion,
mounted on American Sherman tanks, formed the point as the Argylls led
the attack. Brig. Gen. Frank A. Allen, Jr., Assistant Division Commander,
1st Cavalry Division, accompanied the Argylls. Groups of haggard and hungry
North Korean soldiers stood along the roadside waiting for a chance to
surrender, and Russian-made trucks, their gas tanks empty, stood abandoned.
Four miles short of Sariwon, on the hills guarding the approach to the
town, it looked for a while as if the anticipated big battle had started.
Enemy rifle fire suddenly burst on the column from a hillside apple orchard,
200 yards away. The column stopped and the men sought cover.
Behind the lead tanks, General Allen jumped from his jeep, stamped along
the road, waved a map and shouted, "They're in that orchard, rake
'em, blast them out of there!" The general's aide, 1st Lt. John T.
Hodes, climbed on one of the tanks and trained his glasses on the orchard
to give fire direction. The pilot of a spotter plane above the ridge dipped
his wings to indicate the presence of the enemy in force. A few North Koreans
started running from the orchard when the tanks began firing into it. Suddenly,
a mass of North Koreans broke from the orchard, rushed for the ridge line,
and vanished over the top. Wilson's A Company of the Argylls moved on the
orchard and swept it clean of remaining enemy troops. They killed about
40 and captured others in this brief action. The fleeing North Koreans
left behind ten machine guns and, in the pass, they abandoned a battery
of antitank guns. The British now entered Sariwon, a large town, which
they found to be badly damaged by bombing. Their loss thus far for the
day was 1 man killed and 3 wounded. 
About 1700 in the afternoon the Australian 3d Battalion passed through
the Argylls in the town and advanced five miles north of it toward Hwangju.
There the Australians went into a perimeter blocking position in front
of a range of hills strongly held by the enemy, and prepared to attack
in the morning.
Now began a succession of weird events in what proved to be a chaotic
night in Sariwon. A British reconnaissance group south of the town encountered
a truckload of North Korean soldiers driving north. The North Koreans shot
their way through and continued into the town, but, finding the northern
exit closed, they turned back and met the reconnaissance group again. In
this second encounter, the reconnaissance party killed about twenty of
the enemy troops.
A little later, Lt. Col. Leslie Nielson, commanding officer of the Argyll
1st Battalion, driving in the gloom near the southern end of Sariwon, was
suddenly amazed to see coming toward him on either side of the road a double
file of North Korean soldiers. The leading soldiers fired at him but missed.
Nielson shouted to his driver, "Put your foot on it!" The driver
did, and raced four miles through the marching North Koreans. Clearing
the last of them, Nielson and his driver took to the hills and stayed there
until morning. This enemy force, fleeing in front of the 18th Infantry,
24th Division, and approaching Sariwon from the south, did not know the
town had already fallen to U.N. units.
There were many times during that wild night in Sariwon when U.N. soldiers
thought the North Koreans were South Koreans coming up from the south with
the 24th Division, and the North Koreans thought the British were Russians.
There were several instances of mutual congratulations and passing around
of cigarettes. One group of North Koreans greeted a platoon of Argylls
with shouts of "Comrade!" and, rushing forward in the dim light,
slapped the Scots on the back, offered cigarettes, and gave them the red
stars from their caps as souvenirs. The ensuing fight was at very close
Lt. Robin D. Fairrey, the Argylls' mortar officer, walked around a corner
into a group of North Koreans. Maintaining his composure, he said to them,
"Rusky, Rusky," and after receiving several pats on the back,
turned another corner and got away.
During this scrambled night at Sariwon about 150 North Koreans were
killed; strangely enough, the British lost only one soldier. Most of the
North Koreans passed through the town. North of it the Australian 3d Battalion
reaped a harvest, capturing 1,982 North Korean soldiers at its roadblock.
Maj. I. B. Ferguson played a leading role in capturing this large number
of enemy troops. When the first of them came up to the Australian outpost
a night battle seemed imminent. Ferguson mounted a tank and called out
in the gloom for the North Koreans to surrender, telling them they were
surrounded. After some hesitation, the leading enemy unit dropped its arms
and surrendered, and most of the others followed its example. 
During the day, while the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade advanced
on Sariwon along the main highway, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, with Colonel
Clainos' 1st Battalion in the lead, hurried along the poor secondary roads
through the hills north of it. This column was about three miles from Hwangju
and the main highway above Sariwon when at 1600 in the afternoon it received
a message General Gay dropped from a light plane. The message said that
the roads out of Sariwon were crowded with hundreds of North Korean soldiers,
and it directed Colonel Clainos to have one battalion of the 7th Cavalry
turn south at Hwangju on the main highway to meet the British and help
trap the large numbers of enemy soldiers in the Sariwon area, while another
battalion turned right and held the town of Hwangju. Clinos and the two
battalion commanders agreed that the 1st Battalion would turn to meet the
British and the 2d Battalion would hold Hwangju. 
Soon after turning south on the Sariwon-P'yongyang highway the leading elements of the 1st Battalion captured an enemy cavalry detachment and thirty-seven horses.
A little later the battalion came under fire from the enemy on the hill
barrier ahead and separating it from the Australians. The battalion's motorized
point had a short skirmish with an enemy group during which its South Korean
interpreter, although wounded, tried and indeed succeeded in reaching the
North Korean forward position. He told the North Koreans that the column
they were fighting was Russian. The enemy platoon thereupon came up to
the 7th Cavalry's point, which Colonel Clainos had just joined. Clainos
turned the enemy group over to a squad leader who proceeded to disarm it.
Finding that they had been tricked, some of the enemy tried to resist.
This ended when the squad leader knocked one of the North Koreans into
The enemy platoon's surrender took place in clear daylight and was observed
by hundreds of North Korean soldiers in the nearby hills. Almost immediately,
enemy soldiers from the eastern side of the position began pouring in to
surrender. On the western side, however, small arms fire continued until
dark when many there also came out to surrender. Altogether, more than
1,700 North Korean soldiers and thirteen female nurses surrendered to the
1st Battalion that evening.
Colonel Clainos had established radio communication with the Australians
about 1800. At 2230, he radioed Colonel Green of the Australian battalion
that, with vehicle lights on, he was coming through the pass with his battalion
and prisoners. An hour before midnight the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry,
reached the Australian perimeter. There, Colonel Clainos overheard one
Australian soldier saying to another, "Now what do you make of this?
Here we are all set for a coordinated attack in the morning, and the bloody
Yanks come in at midnight from the north, with their lights burning, and
bringing the whole damned North Korean Army as prisoners." 
It had become clear by the time the U.N. troops reached Sariwon that
the remaining North Korean forces could not attempt a strong defense of
P'yongyang without incurring total destruction or capture. The North Koreans
by this time not only had to contend with the U.S. I Corps, approaching
the capital city along the main Seoul axis from the south, but also the
enveloping movements of the ROK Army forces from the southeast and east.
Some of these forces, if they continued their rapid advance for a few days
more, would almost certainly cut on the north the highways and exits from
the doomed city. P'yongyang would then be surrounded and any forces retained
in and around the city for its defense would face either destruction or
The flanking operation originally conceived by General MacArthur for
the X Corps after it had landed on the east coast at Wonsan had, in fact,
been carried out by ROK Army units under Eighth Army control before a single
soldier of X Corps landed in the east. By evening of 17 October four ROK divisions were racing each other, as
well as the American and British units of the U.S. I Corps, to be first
in reaching P'yongyang. The ROK 1st Division, only fifteen miles away to
the southeast, was closest of all U.N. units to the city. On its right
flank, the ROK 7th Division was swinging toward P'yongyang from the east.
Still farther east the ROK 8th Division had almost reached Yangdok in the
central mountains where it would turn west on the P'yongyang-Wonsan lateral
road. And, finally, the ROK 6th Division was just short of Yangdok on this
road, fifty air miles east of P'yongyang, after having turned west on 15
October from Wonsan on the coast, which it had reached by the road from
Hwach'on. Thus, the U.S. I Corps was nearing P'yongyang from the south
and southeast, the ROK 7th Division from the southeast, and the ROK 8th
and 6th Divisions from the northeast. With approximately seven U.N. divisions
converging on P'yongyang, obviously the North Korean Army in its state
of depletion, disorganization, and demoralization could not hold the city.
The Eighth Army G-2 estimated on 17 October that less than 8,000 effectives
of the N.K. 32d and 17th Divisions were available
for defense of P'yongyang. The estimate concluded that the enemy would
undertake a token defense of the city while the main force withdrew northward
across the Ch'ongch'on River for further operations. 
The 1st Cavalry Division had won the honor of leading the attack into
P'yongyang when the British 27th Brigade, attached to it, beat the 24th
Division into Sariwon. Leading elements of the 18th Infantry Regiment,
24th Division, were still several miles south of Sariwon when orders came
at 1700 on 17 October to stop and hold up the attack because U.N. troops
were already in the town. Morale in the 1st Cavalry Division was high.
Most of the soldiers heard and passed on a rumor that the city was their
final objective in the war, and once it was taken the American troops would
leave Korea. Most of them expected to eat Thanksgiving Day dinner in Japan.
Since the 7th Cavalry Regiment was the unit farthest north, General
Gay ordered it to resume the advance on P'yongyang at daylight 18 October.
The 3d Battalion at Hwangju became the assault battalion even though its
men were tired from their long night movement to the town. At daylight
on the 18th the battalion crossed the ford in Hwangju and began the advance.
Resistance was light until the leading elements of the battalion arrived
in front of the high ground south of Hukkyo-ri, halfway to P'yongyang.
There enemy high velocity gun and heavy 120-mm. mortar fire struck the
column. Captain Webel, the regimental S-3, estimated that a reinforced
battalion of about 800 men held the prepared enemy defensive positions.
Twenty tanks of C Company, 70th Tank Battalion supported the battalion,
but they had to contend with fire from three or four dug-in enemy tanks
and a mined roadway. In the midst of the fighting, enemy small arms fire
shot down an F-51 fighter plane. General Milburn, the corps commander,
watched the action from an apple orchard at the side of the road, and about midafternoon
General Gay came up and joined him. Dissatisfied with the progress of the
attack, Gay ordered the regimental commander, Col. James K. Woolnough,
who had temporarily replaced Colonel Harris, to start the other two battalions
on flank movements against the enemy-held ridge. Captain Webel protested
to General Gay that the enemy position was all but taken and that commitment
of the other two battalions was unnecessary. But Gay let the order stand
when he learned from Woolnough that the latter had already started to implement
it. The two battalions upon coming up moved off toward the enemy flanks
in what proved to be a night-long movement. The next morning they found
the enemy positions abandoned.
After giving the order on the 18th for a full regimental attack on the
Hukkyo-ri position, General Gay informed Colonel Woolnough that the 5th
Cavalry Regiment would pass through the 7th Cavalry the next morning and
take up the attack on P'yongyang. He then went back and found Colonel Crombez
and gave him the order. The 5th Cavalry Regiment was still strung out on
the mountainous secondary road it had been traveling behind the 7th Cavalry
from Sohung to Hwangju. Crombez did not have the last battalion in bivouac
until 2300 that night. 
At 0500 on 19 October Lt. Col. Paul Clifford's 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry
Regiment, led north out of Hwangju. When it arrived at the 7th Cavalry
lines at Hukkyo-ri those troops had just repulsed an enemy counterattack.
At this point three enemy tanks rumbled up. A 5th Cavalry bazooka team
led by a young Italo-American boy knocked out these tanks. Questioned about
the exploit a little later, the boy explained, "Me and my two buddies
were sitting over there behind that rock. These tanks came up toward us
and stopped right out there on the road. They raised their turrets and
started talking to each other. One of my buddies said, 'Christ, them ain't
GI's, them are Gooks,' and I said, 'Let's shoot the S.O.B.'s' and that
is what we did."  F Company, led by 1st Lt. James H. Bell, reinforced with five tanks,
a platoon of engineers, and a section of heavy machine guns, now passed
through the 7th Cavalry and led the 5th Cavalry Regiment toward P'yongyang.
Just as Bell was passing the first of the burning enemy tanks a friendly
plane swooped down and rocketed it. The concussion almost made him a casualty.
[Caption] BURNING ENEMY TANK knocked out by 5th
Cavalry bazooka team at Hukkyo-ri 19
Flights of jet planes coursed overhead in advance of F Company and,
on at least two occasions, they helped supporting artillery reduce enemy
forces that threatened to delay its advance. The regimental commander,
Colonel Crombez, and a small command group followed immediately behind
F Company most of the morning and pushed it hard.
At 1102, Lieutenant Bell's F Company reached the 20-yard-wide Mujin-ch'on
River, a tributary of the Taedong at the southern edge of P'yongyang. North
Korean troops from behind a 20-foot embankment on the north side defended
the highway bridge over it with three antitank guns. Bell's troops were
delayed there for about half an hour until their mortar fire caused the
North Korean gun crews to abandon the antitank guns. Bell's F Company then
crossed the Mujin-ch'on and entered the southwestern edge of P'yongyang
just after 1100. 
P'yongyang is the oldest city in Korea, and for a long time was its
Its population at the outbreak of the war was approximately 500,000.
The city is situated astride the Taedong River, one of the larger streams
of Korea, forty miles from where it empties into the Yellow Sea. The main
part of the city with the important public buildings lay on the north side
of the river. A large, relatively new industrial suburb sprawled opposite
on the south side. Two railroad bridges of the Pusan-Seoul-Mukden railroad
cross the Taedong River here. Upstream from them about two miles was the
main highway bridge. The Taedong at P'yongyang averages about 400-500 yards
in width. As the current is swift, it constitutes a major military obstacle
to north-south movement.
[Caption] 5TH CAVALRY TROOPS at the southern edge
of P'yongyang, 19 October.
Bell received orders to turn west and seize certain factory buildings,
the railroad bridges, and a bridgehead on the north bank of the Taedong.
In about half an hour he reached the river's southern bank and found that only
one span of each of the two railroad bridges (each 3-span) was intact.
After a hasty examination of the eastern bridge, Bell decided that infantry
could cross on one of its spans to an island in the river. Leaving some
riflemen and the Engineer platoon at its southern end to guard the tanks
which gave supporting fire, he led the rest of F Company across to the
island and secured it by midafternoon. While F Company was crossing to
the island, enemy on the north bank destroyed a section of the bridge still
intact there. During the afternoon the 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, crossed
to the island and relieved F Company, which then moved back to the airfield
on the south bank.
While F Company was trying to seize the railroad bridges over the Taedong,
the rest of the 2d Battalion crossed the Mujin-ch'on and turned right toward
the main highway bridge which crossed the Taedong River about midway on
the city waterfront. This was the only bridge still intact on 19 October
when U.N. troops entered P'yongyang. When the leading elements of E and
G Companies neared the bridge the North Koreans blew up the center span.
Almost simultaneously with the 1st Cavalry Division's arrival at P'yongyang
the ROK 1st Division entered the city on the Sibyon-ni-P'yongyang road
at a point northeast of the 1st Cavalry Division. On the night of 18 October
the chances had appeared excellent for the ROK 1st Division to be first
into P'yongyang. After a day of very heavy fighting in which it
gained two miles, it was only eight miles away. The leading elements of
the 1st Cavalry Division were about 30 miles away. But the North Koreans
made a stronger fight against the ROK 1st Division than against the 1st
Cavalry Division, possibly because it was closer to the city and the more
immediate threat. Also, the road on which the ROK's approached P'yongyang
was heavily mined with both antipersonnel and antitank mines. Paik's division
fought throughout the rainy night and finally overcame an enemy strongpoint
an hour or two after daybreak. Enemy emplacements and automatic fire stopped
the ROK infantry again about six miles from the city near Kojo-dong. Tanks
of C Company, 6th Tank Battalion, in the ensuing ROK attack enveloped the
enemy positions from both flanks, destroyed self-propelled guns, and overran
the North Korean entrenchments, physically crushing machine guns and enemy
soldiers. It was estimated that the tanks in this action killed nearly 300 North Koreans.
[Caption] CAPITOL BUILDING IN P'YONGYANG. The men having coffee are members of Task Force Indianhead.
According to General Paik, extensive mine fields in the street behind
the overrun enemy positions delayed the tanks, but the infantry of the
ROK 2d Battalion, 12th Regiment, kept moving and General Paik affirms that
they arrived at the edge of the Taedong River just before 1100 and deployed
along the south bank northeast of the highway bridge. Leading elements
of the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, arrived at the traffic circle
100 yards east of the highway bridge almost at the same time. The leading
tanks of C Company, 6th Tank Battalion, were in the southern edge of the
city, according to their own records, at 1245. Tanks of D Company, 6th
Medium Tank Battalion, entered the city along the same approach a little
later, turned north, and together with troops of the ROK 11th Regiment
secured the airfield at 1440. Other ROK units earlier had secured a smaller
airfield a few miles to the east. 
After the North Koreans blew the highway bridge across the Taedong,
elements of the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, continued northeast along the
river searching for a ford reported to be located there. When they found
it a few miles east of the city they discovered that elements of the 15th
Regiment, ROK 1st Division, already had crossed the river there, and others
were then in the act of crossing into the main part of the city. Later,
Colonel Crombez asked General Paik how his troops found the ford so quickly.
Paik answered, "I am a native of P'yongyang. I know the fords."
By dark most of the ROK 1st Division was in the main part of P'yongyang
north of the Taedong River. Nor was that all. The 8th Regiment of the ROK
7th Division swung into north P'yongyang from the east and was in possession
of Kim Il Sung University in the northern part of the city by 1700. 
The next day, 20 October, the ROK 1st Division advanced into the heart of the city and took the strongly
fortified administrative center with ease. The enemy troops posted there
were too demoralized to fight and they abandoned both guns and entrenchments.
At 1000 the ROK 1st Division reported the entire city had been secured,
including the City Hall, the Provincial Government offices, and the N.K.
People's Committee offices. The ROK 8th Regiment aided the 1st Division
by sweeping through the northwest section of the city and clearing it of
the enemy. As soon as Engineer assault boats could be brought up, the 3d
Battalion, 5th Cavalry, began crossing to the north side of the Taedong,
and by noon that regiment, with the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, attached
to it, was across the river. Bells in Christian churches pealed a welcome.
The people appeared friendly and there were no disturbances. 
When the operations of Eighth Army had progressed to the point where
it appeared probable that P'yongyang would fall in the near future, the
army on 16 October had organized a special task force known as Task Force
Indianhead. Its name derived from the shoulder patch of the 2d Infantry
Division. This task force was to enter the North Korean capital with the
advance units of the 1st Cavalry Division. Its mission was to secure and
protect specially selected government buildings and foreign compounds until
they could be searched for enemy intelligence materials. Lt. Col. Ralph
L. Foster, Assistant Chief of Staff for G-2, 2d Division, commanded the
task force, which was built around K Company, 38th Infantry Regiment, and
six tanks of C Company, 72d Medium Tank Battalion, and included Engineer
demolition troops, automatic weapons vehicles of the 82d AAA Battalion,
and counterintelligence troops. The task force secured most of its assigned
objectives in P'yongyang on 20 October. It obtained a considerable amount
of intelligence material, both military and political, which was turned
over to a special team from GHQ, Far East Command, and transported by air
to Tokyo. 
Twenty American prisoners escaped or were rescued from the North Koreans
in the capture of P'yongyang. Most of the large number of prisoners held
there, however, had been taken northward several days before the U.N. forces
entered the city.
General Gay established his 1st Cavalry Division headquarters in the
granite buildings of the North Korean Military Academy ten miles southwest
of P'yongyang on the Chinnamp'o road. He was responsible for the internal
security and order of P'yongyang after its capture. On 23 October he appointed
Colonel Crombez civil assistance officer in the city because of the latter's
special knowledge of the country and its people. Colonel Johnson, a veteran
of Bataan, replaced Crombez in command of the 5th Cavalry Regiment until
[Caption] KIM IL SUNG'S DESK. Colonel Foster occupies the North Korean Premier's office in P'yongyang. Note portrait of Stalin.
The 5th Cavalry Regiment was disposed in the southern outskirts of P'yongyang,
the 8th Cavalry Regiment in the northern outskirts, and the 7th Cavalry
Regiment at Chinnamp'o, P'yongyang's port. After the fall of P'yongyang,
Colonel Harris had led the 7th Cavalry Regiment in a forced night movement
from the city thirty-five miles southwest to Chinnamp'o. The regiment entered
the port city in the dead of night, 22 October.
On 24 October, General Walker took personal command of his advance Eighth
Army headquarters, established two days earlier by Colonel Collier of his
staff, in the attractive and undamaged gray brick building in P'yongyang
which had been the headquarters of Premier Kim Il Sung. 
On 21 October a touching and revealing ceremony occurred on the P'yongyang
airfield. General MacArthur had flown in from Tokyo to confer briefly with
Generals Walker and Stratemeyer after the fall of the North Korean capital.
In the course of his brief visit he reviewed F Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment,
which had been the first American unit to enter P'yongyang. He asked all
men in the company who had landed with it in Korea ninety-six days earlier,
when it numbered nearly 200 men, to step forward. Only five men stepped
forward; three of them had been wounded. 
IX Corps WD, bk. I, sec. II, Oct 50. EUSAK WD, 23 Oct 50: Ltr of
Instr, CofS to CG IX Corps. 23 Oct 50.
 3d Log Comd Hist Rpt, Oct 50; 2d Log Comd Rpt, G-4 Sec, Oct 50, pp.
3-6; EUSAK WD, G-4 Sec Rpt, 10 Oct 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl. 15 Oct 50;
Interv, author with Eberle (FEC UNC G-4, 1950), 12 Jan 54; Interv,
author with Maj Gen Leven C. Allen, 15 Dec 53; ORO, An Evaluation of
Service Support in the Korean Campaign, ORO-T-6 (FEC), 1 Mar 51, p. 8.
 EUSAK WD, Engr Off Rpt, 30 Sep and 15 Oct 50; Ibid., Trans Sec, 26
Oct, G-4 Staff Sec, 12 Nov, and G-1 Daily Hist Rpt, 20 Nov 50; Dept of
State Pub 4051, United Nations Command Eighth Report to the Security
Council, United Nations, 16-31 October 1950, p. 6; Col. Paschal N.
Strong, "Army Engineers in Korea," Military Engineer, vol. 44, No. 302
(November-December, 1952), 404-10, and "Engineers in Korea-Operation
Shoestring," vol. 4,, No. 291 (January-February, 1951); Interv, author
with Strong (Eighth Army Engr Off), 17 Sep 51.
 EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, 15 Oct 50 and Surgeon's Rpt, 12-13 Oct 50.
 7th Cav Regt Opn Ord 28, 141015 Oct 50; 5th Cav Regt WD, 15 Oct 50;
1st Cav Div WD, 14-16 Oct 50; 7th Cav Regt WD, 15-16 Oct 50; EUSAK WD,
G-3 Jnl, 1130 15 Oct 50; Webel, MS review comments, 13 Apr 54; Ltr,
Harris to author, 7 Apr 54; Crombez, MS review comments, 12 Jan 56;
Interv, author with Crombez, 12 Jan 56.
 EUSAK WD, POR 279, 13 Oct and POR 289, 6 Oct 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl,
1130 15 Oct 50.
 Ltr, Gay to author, 23 Jan 54; I Corps Opn Dir 12, 151000 Oct 50;
24th Div WD, 15 Oct 50; Linklater, Our Men in Korea, p. 22.
 24th Div WD, 16-79 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 17 Oct 50.
 24th Div WD, 16 Oct 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 16 Oct 50; 7th Cav Regt WD,
16 Oct 50; Crombez, MS review comments, 12 Jan 56; Ltr, Crombez to
author, 12 Oct 54; Interv, author with Crombez, 12 Jan 56.
 5th Cav Regt Unit Jnl, msg 181, 0630 17 Oct 50; 5th Cav Regt WD,
16-17 Oct 50; Ltrs, Harris to author, 23 Dec 53 and 7 Apr 54; Gay, MS
review comments for author, 13 Mar 54; Ltr, Crombez to author, 12 Oct
54; Interv, author with Crombez, 12 Jan 56; Crombez, MS review comments,
12 Jan 56; Interv, author with Maj Geo Frank A. Allen, Jr., 28 Jan 54;
Webel, MS review comments, 15 Nov 57. This episode is confused and the
principals do not agree on all details. Captain Truxes' account of this
incident was unobtainable as he was killed in action when the Chinese
entered the war.
 Maj Gen B. A. Coad, "The Land Campaign in Korea," op. cit.;
Linklater, Our Men in Korea, pp. 22-23; Bartlett, With the Australians
in Korea, pp. 27-28; Ltr, Gay to author, 23 Jan 54; 1st Cav Div WD, 17
Oct 50; Charles and Eugene Jones, The Face of War, pp. 150-51; New York
Herald Tribune, October 17, 1950.
 Coad, "The Land Campaign in Korea," op. cit.; Linklater, Our Men in
Korea, 1st Cav Div WD, 17-18 Oct 50; Bartlett, With the Australians in
Korea, p. 9; New York Herald Tribune, October 20, 1950.
 Ltrs, Gay to author, 23 Jan and 13 Mar 54; Clainos, MS review
comments, 24 May 54.
 Clainos, MS review comments for author, 24 May 54; Coad, "The Land
Campaign in Korea," op. cit.; Linklater, Our Men in Korea, 7th Cav Regt
WD, 17 Oct 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 17 Oct 50; Ltrs, Gay to author, 23 Jan
and 13 Mar 54.
 See EUSAK WD and POR's, 12-17 Oct 50, for movements and positions
of ROK units.
 EUSAK PIR's 95, 15 Oct, and 97, 17 Oct 50.
 1st Cav Div WD. 18 Oct 50; Interv. author with Crombez. 12 Jan 56;
24th Division WD, 17 Oct 50.
 Webel, MS review comments, 13 Apr 54; Interv, author with Lynch, 9
Jun 54 (Lynch commanded the 3d Bn at Hukkyo-ri); Interv, author with
Crombez, 28 Jun 55; Ltr, Harris to author, 8 Dec 53; Ltrs, Gay to
author, 23 Jan and 19 Apr 54; Interv, author with Clainos, 30 Apr 54;
1st Cav Div WD, 17- 8 Oct 50.
 Ltr, Gay to author, 23 Jan 54; Ltr, Capt James H. Bell (CO F Co,
5th Cav Regt Oct 50) to author, 11 Apr 56; Interv, author with Crombez,
28 Jun 55; 5th Cav Div Regt WD, 19 Oct 50.
The author has been unable to identify this boy, who reportedly was killed
 Ltr, Bell to author, 8 Mar 54; Ltr, Crombez to author, 12 Oct 54;
Interv, author with Crombez, 28 Jun 55; 5th Cav Regt WD, 19 Oct 50; 1st
Cav Div WD, 19 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 19-20 Oct 50.
Bell estimates the time he entered the south edge of P'yongyang as 1330.
The official records, based on an aerial observer's report, give it as
 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 19 Oct 50; EUSAK PIR 99, 19 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, 19
Oct 50, and G-3 Jnl, 1300-1600 19 Oct 50; 5th Cav Regt WD, 19 Oct 50;
10th AAA Group WD, 19-20 Oct 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 19 Oct 50; I Corps WD,
Oct 50, p. 18; Gen Paik Sun Yup (CofS ROKA), MS review comments, 11 Jul
 Ltr, Bell to author, 11 Apr 56; Interv, author with Crombez, 12 Jan
 Interv. author with Schwarze (KMAG adviser with ROK 7th Div Oct
50), 3 Feb 54; 5th Cav Regt WD, 19-20 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG,
190001-200800 Oct 50; EUSAK POR 299, to Oct 50.
 EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, 1200 20 Oct 50; Ibid., Br for CG, 20-21 Oct 50;
I Corps WD, 20 Oct 50; Ltr, Crombez to author, 12 Oct 54.
 Ltrs, Foster to author, 11 and 21 May 54; Ltr, Gay to author, 13
Feb 54; EUSAK POR 292, 17 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 190001-200800 Oct
50; 2d Div WD, Summ, 1 Sep-31 Oct 50, vol. II, pp. 47-49
 5th Cav Regt WD, 22-23 Oct 50; GHQ UNC press release, 25 Oct 50.
Ltr, Harris to author, 7 Apr 54; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 22 Oct 50; 7th Cav
Regt WD, 22-23 Oct 50.
 Ltr, Gay to author, 23 Jan 54; Crombez, MS review comments, 28 Jun
Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation