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History  Bert '53  On Line

Back to Ebb And Flow

The Counteroffensive

On 18 May, after Chinese had reached P'ungam-ni, then the deepest point of enemy penetration, and as the substantial sweep of Chinese around the 2d Division into the sectors of the collapsing ROK units had become apparent, General Ridgway suggested that General Van Fleet attempt to relieve the pressure on his forces in the east by attacking in the west to threaten enemy lines of communication in the Iron Triangle. Ridgway recommended a two-division attack moving on the Route 33 axis toward Ch'orwon. He thought such an attack would have a good chance of succeeding since intelligence indicated that only four Chinese armies occupied the forty-mile sector of the front west of Ch'unch'on and since Peng Teh-huai would need at least a week or ten days to shift any material part of his mass from the east to oppose the advance. Nor had enemy forces on the western front shown much aggressiveness. Enemy attacks had forced back some patrol base and outpost units and had tested the main line in both the I Corps and IX Corps sectors, but these attacks had been isolated affairs, not coordinated actions in a concerted holding operation.1

Judging enemy forces in the east central area to be clearly overextended after he reconnoitered the front on 19 May, Ridgway enlarged his concept to take advantage of their vulnerability and ordered Van Fleet to attack across the entire front. Agreeing that these forces could be trapped, Van Fleet laid out an operation that he believed could produce decisive results if the attack moved fast enough. Though stabilizing the line in the east remained a problem, he now viewed that task with no great alarm even though enemy forces were deepening and strengthening their penetration. If for no other reason, he expected their logistical difficulties in the mountains to slow if not stop their advance within a matter of days; they would have created only a "long bag" that could closed behind them by rapid drives to block their main routes of resupply and withdrawal. Van Fleet's plan called for the I Corps, IX Corps, and part of the 1st Marine Division at the left of the X Corps to advance on 20 May toward the Munsanni-Ch'unch'on segment of line Topeka. Once the Topeka segment was occupied, strikes to start closing the bag were to be made toward the Iron Triangle, one up Route 3 to secure a road center in the Yongp'yong River valley some twenty miles above Uijongbu, another up Route 17 beyond Ch'unch'on to seize the complex of road junctions at the west end of the Hwach'on Reservoir.2

Stabilizing the Line

If General Van Fleet was certain that the line in the east would stabilize, when and where were still hard questions late on the 19th. There were several reasons to doubt that the 2d Division could stand on the Han'gye-Nuron-ni line in the X Corps sector. (See Map 35.) The line was fifteen miles long, there were gaps, and Chinese still occupied some of the important ground. General Almond consequently ordered the 2d Division to withdraw further and the 1st Marine Division to adjust its neighboring positions in accommodation. In anticipation of penetrations of X Corps lines, Almond also acquired the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team from the IX Corps for use as a fire brigade in counterattacks.3

The passage of 27th Army units through the Habae-jae area and, farther north, the movement of 20th Army forces in the same southeasterly direction also raised the possibility that the Chinese intended to sweep east along Route 20 behind the ROK III Corps, turn the east flank of the X Corps, or both. The 93d Regiment of the 31st Division reinforced this possibility when the regiment announced its arrival in Soksa-ri by driving the platoon of the 3d Division's reconnaissance company out of town during the night of the 19th and by stopping a battalion of the 7th Infantry that attempted to regain the town on the 20th. The 81st Division of the 27th Army also revealed its approach on the 20th by engaging the 23d Regiment of the ROK 3d Division about five miles north of Soksa-ri.4

Yet even as the IX Army Group appeared to be bringing up reserves and disposing forces for continuing its drive, there were indications that the offensive was losing impetus. Under a pummeling by B-29 s, which dropped a hundred seventy tons of proximity-fused bombs ahead of the 2d Division during the night of the 19th, the 12th Army developed only one attack of any size by daylight, this by a 34th Division force of about five hundred men against Company C, 9th Infantry, northeast of Hasolch'i. Ground fire, air strikes, and a climactic counterattack by Company A virtually wiped out the force. At the division's left, large groups of Chinese approaching the 23d Infantry at a trot out of the Naech'on River valley about midday on the 20th wavered under mortar and artillery fire and air attacks and turned back before reaching the regiment's line. Put on the run were formations from the 181st Division, whose forces earlier had so stoically endured a heavy air and artillery pounding while passing through the gap in the 38th Infantry's lines near Hill 1051. Rear rank forces of the 12th Army moving up in battalion-size groups meanwhile provided deeper targets for aircraft and artillery as they approached and entered assembly areas in preparation for night attacks. Kept under heavy artillery fire and precise B-29 bomb runs, none of these forces came in on the 2d Division during the night of the 20th.5

Now confident that the 2d Division could occupy and hold the Han'gye-Nuron-ni line, General Almond late on the 20th canceled his earlier withdrawal order and turned to a greater concern of easing the threat of envelopment from the east either by a shallow swing around the ROK 7th Division forces below P'ungam-ni or by a deeper drive through the 3d Division sector in the Soksa-ri area. Reducing the deeper threat somewhat was the arrival of the 65th Infantry, which allowed General Soule to strengthen his blocks and recapture Soksa-ri on the 21st. ROK 8th Division forces also had reached Chech'on, from where they could be moved up quickly to reinforce the X Corps' east flank defenses. In the P'ungam-ni area, reassembled forces of the 5th and 7th Regiments of the ROK 7th Division provided additional protection against a Chinese strike out of the Habae-jae area, protection which Almond further deepened and widened with the bulk of the still somewhat decrepit 38th Infantry. To relieve the threat in both the P'ungam-ni and Soksa-ri areas, Almond ordered an attack on the 22d to seize and block enemy movement through Habae-jae by Task Force Yoke, a group of infantry, tanks, and artillery units that he constituted under the command of Col. Lawrence K. Ladue, the deputy corps commander.6

The force of enemy attacks declined all across the X Corps front on the 21st but grew stronger in the ROK III Corps sector and at the left of the ROK I Corps. ROK 9th Division forces between Soksa-ri and Hajinburi fell below Route 20 under attacks by the Chinese 81st Division while ROK 3d Division units above Route 20 northeast of Hajinbu-ri began to collapse under North Korean V Corps assaults. Near Yuch'on-ni, four miles east of Hajinbu-ri, the 20th Regiment of the ROK 11th Division holding positions facing north and northwest athwart Route 20 to prevent an enemy sweep behind the bulk of the ROK I Corps on line Waco was hit hard by forces of the North Korean II Corps. The enemy pressure continued at all points of attack into the evening.7

Despite the enemy action in the Hajinbu-ri-Yuch'on-ni area and continuing reports of reserves moving south, General Van Fleet was convinced, as he reported to General Ridgway, that "the enemy's initial punch in the eastern and central eastern section is shot."8 To keep enemy forces from slipping out of the bottom of their long bag in the Hajinbu-ri area, Van Fleet late on the 21st directed the ROK III Corps to make no further withdrawals and to restore defensive positions north of Route 20. The ROK I Corps meanwhile was to fall back from line Waco to positions that would secure Route 20 between Yuch'on-ni and Kangnung on the coast. Anxious to close the top of the bag, Van Fleet enlarged and substantially altered the concept of the counterattack opened on the 20th. The main effort was now to be directed toward seizing the road centers, with the front otherwise being advanced only as necessary to protect the main effort. The I Corps, as under Van Fleet's earlier order, was to seize the road hub in Yongp'yong River valley. His new order shifted the IX Corps-X Corps boundary east as of 23 May to give the IX Corps the Hongch'on-Ch'unch'onHwach'on road and the road center on the western side of the Hwach'on Reservoir as its main objective. The X Corps was to open a general advance on the 23d to seize the road complex in the Yanggu-Inje area east of the reservoir.9

Even as Van Fleet ordered the ROK III Corps to regain positions above Route 20, the ROK 3d and ROK 9th Divisions again tumbled back under enemy attacks that by early afternoon of the 22d completely dispersed both divisions and overran their command posts. KMAG advisers notified Van Fleet that the commanders of both divisions and the principal staff members of the ROK 9th Division had disappeared. The ROK 3d Division commander, Brig. Gen. Kim Jong Oh, at first believed to have been either killed or taken captive, was located along with many members of the division on the 23d some fifteen miles southeast of Hajinbu-ri. Under the direction of the KMAG adviser, troops of the ROK 9th Division meanwhile assembled seven miles southwest of Hajinbu-ri. With the commander, Brig. Gen. Choi Suk, still unlocated, General Yu placed the deputy corps commander in charge.10

Accounting for the chaos as much as the force of enemy attacks were General Yu's never having regained full charge of the ROK III Corps after his two divisions were scattered at the Sangam-ni roadblock and his having lost all control of them when they were attacked at Hajinbu-ri. Convinced by the continuing failure of the corps that Yu and his staff could not conduct operations successfully, General Van Fleet late on the 22d ordered the ROK III Corps headquarters inactivated, the ROK 3d Division transferred to the ROK I Corps, the ROK 9th Division given to the X Corps, and the X Corps made responsible for the former ROK III Corps sector. He also ordered the ROK Army forward headquarters off the front and placed the ROK I Corps under his own direct command.11

In the Yuch'on-ni area, North Korean II Corps forces early on the 22d cut Route 20, turned their attack east, and dispersed the 20th Regiment of the ROK 11th Division. Given the stout enemy effort in the Hajinburi-Yuch'on-ni region over the past two days, the approach of reserves, and no evidence that enemy forces were having serious logistical problems, the Eighth Army intelligence officer, in contrast to General Van Fleet's sensing that the enemy offensive had lost its momentum, predicted a continuation in force along and below Route 20. The location and course of enemy forces below Hajinbu-ri convinced Colonel Tarkenton that they would attempt a deep southwestward push toward P'yongch'ang and Yongwol along Route 20 as a preliminary to the seizure of the Chech'on road and rail hub; the eastward enemy drive appeared to be aimed at enveloping Kangnung.12

General Van Fleet countered the threat to Kangnung with new orders to the ROK I Corps, then still drawing back from line Waco to positions above Route 20 between Yuch'on-ni and the coast under his orders of the 21st. General Paik was to organize strong positions facing west astride Route 20 to block any eastward enemy drive along the road, but if he could not hold a continuous line above Route 20 with his west flank refused, he was to set his forces in perimeter around the Kangnung road center.13

But as Van Fleet dispatched these orders near midnight on the 22d, the composite of recent and current reports from the front confirmed a general enemy withdrawal. Now three days into their advance, the I Corps and the IX Corps had found contact progessively more difficult. The first indications of enemy withdrawal on the X Corps front had appeared late on the 21st. Evidently withdrawal orders had taken longer to reach the deeper enemy forces in the Hajinburi-Yuch'on-ni area, forces who began moving back after dark on the 22d.14

Crippling losses, particularly in the 12th Army and 15th Army, had forced Peng Teh-huai to abandon his offensive. The inability of these weakening armies to mount effective attacks against the adjusted X Corps positions after 19 May had endangered the enemy forces farther east since the failure to advance astride Route 24 meant that the Chinese and North Koreans moving to and below Route 20 in the Hajinbu-ri-Yuch'on-ni sector were simply taking themselves farther and farther out on a limb.15 Though fresh reserves were available, the casualties among the assault echelons had been exceptionally heavy, largely as a result of the Van Fleet rate of artillery fire and roundthe-clock air attacks, and Peng apparently decided against subjecting his reserves to the same punishment and extreme losses.

Peng called for a rapid, almost precipitate, withdrawal, with covering forces fighting only light delaying actions except where strong blocks were needed to keep withdrawal routes open. The previous general disposition of forces was to be restored, the Hwach'on Reservoir again marking the division between Chinese and North Korean sectors and also marking generally the northern limit of the withdrawal.

For the Chinese armies south and southeast of the reservoir, plans for getting past the lake were designed to avoid a jam-up of troops when they reached that obstacle. The 20th and 27th Armies of the IX Army Group were to withdraw around the east end of the reservoir, then move along its northern bank to the west end. Leading the way, the 20th Army was to set up a blocking position between Hwach'on town and the reservoir. The 27th Army, on coming out of the Hajinburi area with its rear covered by the North Korean II and V Corps, was to concentrate behind the 20th. The North Korean rear guards were to set up defenses east of the reservoir, the V Corps between the reservoir and the near outskirts of Inje, the II Corps from Inje eastward.16

The III Army Group, with the 12th Army returned to its control, was to withdraw around the west end of the reservoir. From below Ch'unch'on, the 60th Army, less its 81st Division still with the 12th Army, was to fight a delaying action along Route 17 to hold the road open for the 15th and 12th Armies as they withdrew northwest, passed through the ground below the reservoir, and moved through Hwach'on town into the Iron Triangle. The rearguard 60th Army, on passing behind the 20th Army at Hwach'on, was to follow.17

West of the Pukhan River, the three armies of the XIX Army Group were to withdraw generally northwestward, pulling away from the I Corps and the IX Corps toward areas located on either side of the upper reaches of the Imjin River and in the Iron Triangle. Northwest of Seoul, the North Korean 1 Corps was initially to withdraw behind the lower Imjin and was eventually to move west beyond the Yesong River for rest and rebuilding.18


With the objective of reaching the main bodies of enemy forces, including reserves, before they could organize for defensive action, General Milburn and General Hoge had made speed the keynote of the counterattacks opened by the I and IX Corps on 20 May. In setting his three divisions on courses for line Topeka some fifteen miles above his Seoul defenses, Milburn aimed the ROK 1st Division toward Munsan-ni, the 1st Cavalry Division north through Uijongbu and up Route 33, and the 25th Division north along Route 3 toward the road hub in the Yongp'yong River valley. (Map 37) Hoge had established an intermediate line, Georgia, whose central trace lay just above the lateral stretch of the Pukhan River dammed on the west to form the Chongpyong Reservoir and along the upper bank of the Hongch'on River emptying into the reservoir from the east. A rapid advance to the Georgia line, Hoge had believed, would allow his four divisions (the 24th, ROK 2d, ROK 6th, and 7th, west to east) to reach enemy reserves.19

Map 37. Eighth Army Advance, 20 May-1 July 1951

Milburn's forces had gained ground rapidly, especially the ROK 1st Division, which entered Munsan-ni at midmorning on the 21st, and all three divisions were on or near the Topeka line by evening of the 23d. But the attack had amounted to a futile chase as the North Korean I Corps and 63d Army backed away far faster than the I Corps advanced. Tank and tank-infantry forces probing well to the front of the main body of the 25th Division consistently failed to make solid contact and raised doubt that the Yongp'yong River valley road hub more than ten miles ahead of the division could be taken in time to block enemy movements through it.20

Despite light resistance, the IX Corps attack from the outset had been more cautious than aggressive. After a short advance on the 20th, General Hoge sharply reprimanded his division commanders for failing to push their attacks, but gains on the 21st were even shorter. Attempting again to accelerate the advance, Hoge directed his forces to employ pursuit tactics and move no less than six miles on the 22d, a distance that would carry them two to three miles beyond the Georgia phase line-far enough, if done speedily enough, Hoge believed, to break through covering forces and make contact with the main bodies of withdrawing Chinese. The attack on the 22d, however, took his four divisions no farther than the Georgia line.21

In new attack orders for the 23d, Hoge made zone adjustments, obliged to do so on his right by General Van Fleet's orders moving the corps boundary east as the X Corps joined the counterattack. The 7th Division, after advancing in its present zone for most of the day, was to relieve 1st Marine Division forces straddling Route 29 and prepare to attack on the Ch'unch'on-Hwach'on axis toward the road complex at the west end of the Hwach'on Reservoir. On his left, Hoge switched the zones of the 24th and ROK 2d Divisions and ordered General Bryan to send a task force northeast up Route 17 to seize Kap'yong while the remainder of his division followed astride the road. The ROK 2d Division, shifting to the corps left flank after Bryan's forces passed through it en route to Kap'yong, was to attack northwest along secondary Route 15 toward Taebo-ri.22

Still trying to animate his forces, Hoge again directed pursuit tactics and authorized them to bypass enemy groups up to company in size. His divisions advanced easily on the 23d against an accelerating withdrawal by the 64th and 63d Armies, but few units gained more than five miles. In the deepest move, General Bryan's task force of tanks and the 1st Battalion of the 21st Infantry captured Kap'yong after meeting only a smattering of opposition along Route 17.23 Hoge nevertheless now had two American divisions positioned for advances over roads converging near the lower edge of his road center objective, the 7th below Ch'unch'on and the 24th at Kap'yong, whence a secondary valley road left Route 17 and ran northeast to rejoin it near the village of Chiam-ni.

7th Infantry Division in the Ch'unch'on Area
7th Infantry Division in the Ch'unch'on Area

General Almond's plan for the X Corps' counterattack on the 23d amounted to an enlargement of limited attacks launched the day before. In the Soksari area, the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, had driven cross-country against hard resistance to a position commanding the lower end of a pass on the Soksa-ri-Habae-jae road about midway between the towns. Almond ordered the 3d Division to point its general attack at the remainder of the two-mile pass and, farther north, at a road junction some four miles due east of Habae-jae where the Soksa-ri-Habae-jae road connected with another road winding northeast through the higher Taebaeks to Yangyang on the coast. The seizure of these objectives, ordered before the withdrawal of enemy forces from the Soksa-ri-Hajinbu-ri area became apparent, was aimed at blocking the two best roads behind the Chinese. Almond reinforced the 3d Division by attaching the ROK 8th Division, now fully assembled in Chech'on, and also gave the ROK 9th Division (received as a result of the ROK III Corps' inactivation) to General Soule along with the responsibility for the additional ground assigned to the X Corps in the Hajinbu-ri area. About to attack with the approximation of a corps, Soule planned to send his 7th and 65th Regiments toward the pass and road junction, bring the damaged ROK 9th Division back into action in the Hajinbu-ri area, and keep the untried ROK 8th Division in reserve.24

Task Force Yoke, the mix of forces (the 2d Battalion, 38th Infantry; the bulk of the ROK 3d Regiment; all but two companies of the 72d Tank Battalion; a platoon of the 15th Infantry's tank company; a battery of the 300th Field Artillery Battalion; and a tactical air control party) organized by General Almond under the deputy corps commander, Colonel Ladue, had attacked through the lines of the ROK 7th Division in the P'ungam-ni area to seize the Habae-jae road junction. A combination of mean terrain, heavy, if spotty, resistance, and a footdragging performance by the South Korean troops had stopped Ladue three miles short of his objective.25 For the general attack, Almond elected to replace the Yoke forces with Task Force Able, built around the 15th Regimental Combat Team, which was to be detached from the 3d Division and operate under corps control. Once the Able force had taken Habae-jae and the 3d Division coming up from the south had captured the road junction four miles to the east, the task force was to be dissolved and the 15th Infantry was to join the operations of its own division.26

In what amounted to the beginning of one of two major spearheads of the corps counterattack, Almond in the afternoon of the 22d had sent the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team up Route 24 to take the high ground around Han'gye. Passing through the 23d Infantry, General Bowen's forces, with a battalion of the 5th Marines and two battalions of the 9th Infantry moving forward on their flanks, had driven to their objective easily against light opposition. In the counterattack, the main effort was to be made on the Route 24 axis. The 2d Division, with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team attached, was to drive on Inje, the 1st Marine Division to advance on Yangugu. Almond's concept was that the two spearheads would trap the enemy forces east of Route 24 and lay them open to destruction by corps forces advancing on the right.27

In the drive on Yangugu, the opening attack of the 1st Marine Division along the west side of Route 24 carried the 1st and 5th Regiments into the extremely rough ground rising toward Hill 1051. In a gain of about four miles, exhausting climbs and descents felled more marines than did encounters with rearguard forces of the backpedaling 15th Army. A highlight of the attack was the recovery of eleven wounded men of the 2d Division by 5th Marine forces advancing within a mile of Hill 1051.28

For the 2d Division's move on Inje, General Rufner assigned the main effort to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. With Company B of the 72d Tank Battalion attached, General Bowen's combat team was to take over the zone of the 23d Infantry, which General Almond had ordered into corps reserve, and attack up Route 24, initially (as Almond also had directed) to seize a bridge site on the Soyang at Umyang-ni, six miles southwest of the Inje road center. On a parallel course at the division's right, the 38th Infantry was to advance along the mountain road running northeast from P'ungam-ni to Hyon-ni and then turning northwest to Inje. The 9th Infantry was to sweep the division's central area.29

With the entire 12th Army attempting to withdraw north between Route 24 and the P'ungam-ni-Hyon-ni road, 2d Division forces advancing in that area on the 23d encountered only feeble delaying actions. Somewhat stouter but not immovable blocking positions confronted the 38th Infantry on the right, where the 80th Division of the 27th Army apparently was trying to hold open the Habae-jae-Sangam-ni segment of the road coming up from Soksa-ri. Yet Ruffner's opening attack was no great surge forward. Average gains of four miles matched those of the 1st Marine Division and took the 2d Division only as far as its nearest intermediate terrain objectives in the high ground confining the Naech'on River on the north and northeast.30

As originally constituted for the attack to seize the Habae-jae road junction, Task Force Able included the 15th Regimental Combat Team, the bulk of the ROK 3d Regiment, and a battery of the 300th Field Artillery Battalion, the last two units coming from the disbanded Task Force Yoke. With characteristic attention to custom making assault forces, General Almond reshaped the force late on the 22d, passing the South Koreans back to the ROK 7th Division, which was to go into corps reserve, pulling the 3d Battalion of the 15th Infantry and returning it to 3d Division control, and adding the headquarters and a company of the 2d Division's 72d Heavy Tank Battalion. It was midafternoon before Lt. Col. Thomas R. Yancey, the 15th Regimental Combat Team and task force commander, could organize the Able force and open the attack. The late start and rugged terrain, more than enemy opposition, held Yancey's gains on the 23d to little more than a mile, well short of Habaejae.31

In the 3d Division zone, the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, occupied the remainder of the pass north of Soksa-ri on the 23d while General Soule maneuvered other units of his "corps" forward for the advance toward the road junction east of Habae-jae. The 65th Infantry took position west of the 7th Infantry while the ROK 9th Division brought up the rear in reserve. All contacts during the day were with North Korean rear guards covering the Chinese 81st Division and 93d Regiment, 31st Division, as they withdrew to Habae-jae.32

It was obvious, especially in the I and IX Corps zones, that a head start and fast marches so far had allowed the main enemy bodies to withdraw well out of the reach of the counterattack. General Van Fleet was nevertheless confident that his forces, because of the light opposition to their advance, still had a better than even chance of blocking the enemy's main withdrawal routes and on the 24th pressed Milburn, Hoge, and Almond to quicken the pace of their attacks to seize their road center objectives. Van Fleet saw a particularly good opportunity to trap and destroy forces of the North Korean II, III, and V Corps and Chinese 12th, 20th, and 27th Armies in the area east of Route 24 with a squeeze play by the X Corps and the ROK I Corps. Once General Almond had captured the Yangu-Inje area, he was to mount an attack northeast along Route 24 to the coast in concert with a northwestward drive by General Paik's forces. Success would depend on the speed of the twopronged advance, especially on a rapid attack by the X Corps to block enemy avenues of escape.33

General Milburn attempted to hurry the I Corps with orders for a top-speed move to line Kansas. Driving up Route 3 ahead of the general advance, the 89th Heavy Tank Battalion and a battalion of the 27th Infantry blocked the road hub on 25 May, and all three of Milburn's divisions reached the Kansas line on the 27th. But the attack, as from the outset, was a fruitless pursuit. Easily outstripping Milburn's forces, all major enemy formations on the I Corps front had withdrawn above the 38th parallel in the east and across the Imjin in the west.34

The IX Corps objective on 24 May was the Topeka line, which in the 7th Division's new zone on the east wing lay just above Ch'unch'on. Aiming to ease the division's attack and thus accelerate its coming move on the Hwach'on road center, General Hoge ordered General Ferenbaugh to lead with a fifteen-mile armored drive up Route 29 into Ch'unch'on. Following Ferenbaugh's instructions that the 32d Infantry operating in the area straddling the road send a strong tank-infantry patrol to develop enemy defenses in Ch'unch'on and check the Soyang River above town for crossing sites, the commander of the 32d shaped a small task force from the attached 7th Reconnaissance Company, a platoon of the regimental tank company, and a squad of engineers to be led by the reconnaissance company commander, Capt. Charles E. Hazel. Hardly the force that General Hoge had envisioned-but then he had not been specific about its makeup-Task Force Hazel set out under orders simply to reconnoiter the Ch'unch'on area and return to regimental lines.35

Eight miles below Ch'unch'on the Hazel force came under heavy small arms and machine gun fire from hills around the village of Sinjom-ni, where Route 29 began climbing to Wonch'ang pass cutting through the southern rim of the Ch'unch'on basin. The 60th Army had set a regiment in blocking positions along with winding stretch of road from Sinjom-ni through the pass but had not employed antitank weapons. His battalion not yet displaced far enough forward to be within range, the artillery observer with Captain Hazel was unable to adjust fire onto the hills. After searching return fire on the hillsides by Hazel's gunners found few marks, Hazel ordered back the members of his force riding in thin-skinned jeeps and halftracks and continued up the road with eleven tanks. Once through the twisting pass under a hard but harmless pelting by rifle and machine gun fire, the armored column barreled into the Ch'unch'on basin and drove into the center of town late in the afternoon. Fanning out in twos and threes, Hazel's tankers searched the city and both sides of the Soyang, killing, capturing, or routing about a hundred Chinese and punishing a large force discovered running off the back side of Hill 302 hugging Ch'unch'on on the northeast. In a scramble to get away from the probing tanks, the Chinese made no attempt to return fire.

As his tank crews cleared Ch'unch'on, Captain Hazel received orders from his regimental commander to remain in town for the night. Two platoons of the regimental tank company were to reinforce him and bring along a resupply of rations, gasoline, and ammunition. Hazel took his force to the airstrip at the western edge of town where the flat ground allowed good fields of fire. While circling his tanks into a tight perimeter, he was asked by regiment if General Ferenbaugh was with him. The division commander, his aide, and escorts had started up Route 29 in two jeeps some time earlier to contact Hazel's force, but there had been no word from the general since late afternoon. Hazel knew nothing of Ferenbaugh's whereabouts but could have correctly guessed that he had run into trouble at Sinjom-ni.

Ferenbaugh and his group had come under the guns of the Chinese blocking force about 1630. Enemy fire swept the jeep carrying the escorts, leaving two dead and a third wounded sprawled in the road, and chased the general, his aide, and driver to cover and concealment among rocks and foliage on a hillside to the east. A division psychological warfare team en route to Ch'unch'on to broadcast a surrender appeal came on the scene three hours later and turned back to the lines of the 32d Infantry, where they reported the ambush to 1st Lt. Ivan G. Stanaway, a platoon leader of the regimental tank company then lining up his platoon on the road to join Task Force Hazel. Taking his tanks forward immediately, Lieutenant Stanaway picked up the wounded escort and determined where the general was. Stanaway's crews found space to turn around and parked as close to the hillside as possible. There, under a peppering of small arms and machine gun fire, they buttoned up and waited until full dark, when Ferenbaugh and the men with him worked their way one at a time to Stanaway's tank and got in through the escape hatch. The three reached safety behind the 32d Infantry's lines around 2100.

Amid-and perhaps because of-the anxiety caused by the disappearance of General Ferenbaugh, Task Force Hazel shortly before dark received withdrawal orders relayed from division headquarters. With the Sinjomni-Wonch'ang pass stretch of the road bordered by Chinese, the prudent move was to pull the force below the enemy blocking position for resupply. Hazel again worked his column through enemy fire in the pass without harm except to prisoners riding atop the tanks, all but one of whom were hit. Hazel lost two tanks farther down the road, one that its crew put out of commission when it ran out of fuel, another that tumbled off the road into a deep gully in the darkness. At 32d Infantry headquarters Hazel learned that his force, enlarged as arranged earlier, was to return to Ch'unch'on the next morning with a battalion of the 17th Infantry, coming out of division reserve, following to clear the Chinese out of the pass and join the task force in town.

Though not the operation General Hoge had in mind, Hazel's foray on the 24th had accomplished more than simply run some Chinese out of town: Hazel's reinforced column returned to Ch'unch'on early on the 25th without encountering Chinese along the road or in town.36 Air observers scanning the ground above Ch'unch'on after daylight found over ten thousand Chinese jamming Route 17 and the secondary roads and trails leading to it. To the west and northwest of town they sighted another large mass of Chinese, which they estimated in the thousands, moving through the ground between Route 17 and the Kap'yong-Chiamni road. Assuming that the tanks of Task Force Hazel entering Ch'unch'on on the 24th were the point of a large attack force following, the main Chinese bodies had begun to swarm north during the night, with escape through Hwach'on town their chief interest.37

Artillery fire and air strikes flogging the Chinese with telling effect from midmorning on added to the disorder of their withdrawal. By 0930 General Ferenbaugh had the full 17th Infantry motorized and en route to Ch'unch'on, whence about noon the regiment attacked north as the pursuit force following the Chinese cramming Route 17 and as the right arm of an encircling move to bottle the Chinese sighted to the west and northwest of town. Reaching around these forces on the west was the 21st Infantry moving up the Kap'yong-Chiam-ni road in the 24th Division zone. The juncture of the two regiments in the Chiam-ni area would place the cork in the bottle, and by dark the two forces were within six miles of doing so. Earlier, at noon, air observers located forces of the 12th and 15th Armies coming out of the X Corps zone. The observers reported some ten thousand to twelve thousand troops and numerous vehicles and artillery pieces moving in long columns through the ground below the Hwach'on Reservoir and heading northwest toward Hwach'on town. Artillery and an entire fighter group lashed these columns while General Hoge moved to strengthen his attack to seize the Hwach'on town-Hwach'on Reservoir road center and block their escape. Hoge's orders, issued early on 26 May, called for the bulk of the ROK 6th Division, which was being pinched out of its central zone by the converging attacks of the 17th and 21st Regiments, to move to the corps east flank and advance with the 7th Division to seize the road center. Leaving the 19th Regiment in the central zone to attack directly toward Chiam-ni until pinched out, General Chang assembled the remainder of his division in the Ch'unch'on area in preparation for a move up on the rift of the 7th Division on the 27th.38

The spearheading 17th and 21st Regiments joined forces near Chiam-ni early on the 26th while in the general IX Corps advance the 19th Regiment of the ROK 6th Division pushed north through scattered resistance and reached positions within three miles of Chiamni. Three regiments thus penned the Chinese between Route 17 and the Kap'yong-Chiamni road in a rough triangle formed by the two roads and the South Korean line. Heavy, lowhanging clouds held aircraft on the ground all day, but artillery fire pummeled the Chinese continuously. While concentrating on pocketing the enemy group, the 17th Infantry sent a tankinfantry patrol up Route 17 toward Hwach'on. Four miles below town the patrol discovered the rear of the Chinese force observed passing through that area the day before. The score for the day was thus one prize cornered and another, somewhat larger, lost.39

In the first of several attempts to break out of the trap below Chiam-ni, Chinese unknowingly attacked troops more accustomed to administrative and service duties than to close combat. As the 21st Infantry completed its advance to Chiamni, the regimental headquarters company and the medical company set up a joint perimeter away from any of the rifle companies three miles southwest of Chiam-ni. Some three hundred Chinese attacking northwest after midnight against the arc of the perimeter manned by the medical company were thrown back with heavy casualties. Survivors withdrew to nearby high ground and sprayed the perimeter with machine gun fire, lifting it from time to time through the night as more Chinese moved forward to attack. Each assault was turned back in close fighting. The 5th Infantry, arriving from the south about daylight, broke up the last force of Chinese to approach the perimeter. The defending forces lost two killed and twenty wounded during the repeated attacks. Enemy losses were three hundred killed, an estimated two hundred fifty wounded, and four hundred fifty taken captive.40

Other Chinese groups in battalion strength attempted to punch their way north out of the trap during the early morning of the 27th but were knocked back by the forces blocking the way in the Chiam-ni area. After these failures there were no more organized efforts to escape, only confused clumps of Chinese moving around in search of a way out. While the 17th and 21st Regiments turned north to join the general corps advance, mop-up operations by the 5th Infantry and 19th Regiment of the ROK 6th Division raised the prisoner toll to around two thousand. During a final sweep of the area by the 5th Infantry on 28 May, Chinese taken captive, many of whom surrendered in large groups, brought the total to near thirtyeight thousand.41

Action in the general corps advance was concentrated along Route 17 where Chinese fought hard to hold open the Hwach'on town-Hwach'on Reservoir escape route for the columns moving northwest out of the ground below the reservoir. Rain and heavy clouds that had kept aircraft on the ground finally lightened in the afternoon of the 27th, allowing air strikes along with artillery fire to take a heavy count of the Chinese scurrying to get above Hwach'on. The 17th Infantry meanwhile fought up Route 17 through stubborn resistance and entered Hwach'on at 1400, but a division of the 20th Army blocked the regiment's attempts to advance north of town and east toward the reservoir. The ROK 6th Division moving up on the right out of the Ch'unch'on area met no opposition but advanced only a few miles through the rough ground below the western reaches of the reservoir. Much of the enemy's gateway to safety thus remained open.42

On 28 May air observers reported the ground below the reservoir all but empty of enemy forces, and the ROK 6th Division's move to the lake's western edge confirmed the Chinese escape. The division of the 20th Army deployed north and east of Hwach'on town and another division encountered on the fronts of the 24th and ROK 2d Divisions to the west meanwhile showed well organized defenses and a determination to resist any further IX Corps advance toward the Iron Triangle.43

Although the IX Corps had gained its road center objective too late to trap the Chinese coming from the X Corps zone, the overall estimate of enemy casualties during the corps' counterattack, including the last three days of May, exceeded 62,000. Smaller losses during the Chinese offensive raised the corps estimate to more than 73,000, of which 44,705 were reported killed, 19,753 wounded, and 8,749 captured. During all of May, IX Corps units themselves suffered 341 killed, 2,011 wounded, and 195 missing.44

General Hoge's attempt on 24 May to quicken the IX Corps' advance with an armored attack into Ch'unch'on was matched early the same day by General Almond's order for an armored attack up Route 24 by the 2d Division to seize the Umyang-ni bridge site on the Soyang. More detailed in his order than Hoge had been, Almond directed General Ruffner to assemble a task force of two tank companies, an infantry battalion, and engineers at Han'gye and start up the road at noon. He instructed Ruffner to place the task force under the commander of the division's 72d Tank Battalion, Colonel Brubaker, then in the P'ungam-ni area where his headquarters and one company had been with Task Force Yoke and Task Force Able.45

Ruffner was pressed for time to open the operation within the few hours Almond allowed. While having Colonel Brubaker flown to Han'gye, Ruffner assigned the mission to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, already operating along Route 24, and the two nearest tank companies; B of the 72d, already attached to the regiment, and B of the 64th, a 3d Division unit given to the 2d Division earlier in one of the many unit shifts made under corps orders. General Bowen selected his 2d Battalion for the operation and placed his executive officer, Col. William Gerhardt, in command of the task force. 46

Despite all the haste, it was almost 1100 by the time Colonel Brubaker reached General Bowen's command post, half past noon before Colonel Gerhardt issued final instructions, and 1300 when Brubaker started the armored point of the task force up Route 24. The point commander, Maj. Charles A. Newman of Brubaker's staff, led his tank platoon, engineer platoon, and reconnaissance squad up the road slowly, as directed by Colonel Gerhardt, with engineers in the lead probing for mines-a prudent precaution given the recent experience of Brubaker's battalion in the Chaun-ni area. Around 1400 Major Newman halted his tanks about six miles above Han'gye while engineers checked the road ahead and while he took time to correct faulty radio communications with the reconnaissance squad. Arriving over the scene by helicopter, General Almond, already unhappy over the tardy start of the operation, landed to learn the reason for the halt. He ordered Newman to forget communications, to move his tanks at twenty miles an hour, and to "keep going until you hit a mine."47

As Newman took his tanks forward in fifth gear, Almond flew south to check on the main body of the task force, which he found still forming. Exploding with impatience, he ordered Colonel Gerhardt to get the tanks moving whether or not they had infantry support. When getting trucks out of the way and getting the last tanks out of the streambed onto the road took even more time, Almond relieved Brubaker of his battalion command. Despite pressure from the general, it was midafternoon before the tanks started forward with the rest of the task force following.48

During this stir to the south, Major Newman's point force drove rapidly through clumps of Chinese visibly rattled by the appearance of tanks and came up on the rear of some four thousand Chinese scrambling north under punishing air attacks about a mile below Umyang-ni. Finding room to deploy in a skirmish line, Newman's tank crews opened fire with all weapons as Chinese broke for the hills on both sides of the road or fled north across the Soyang, leaving behind a litter of dead, supplies, pack animals, and vehicles. By 1630 Newman's tankers entered Umyang-ni and took up positions to continue firing on enemy groups scurrying for safety both below and above the river. By the time the main body of Task Force Gerhardt arrived two hours later, Newman's point was in full possession of the bridge site.49

With the Gerhardt force occupying the lower bank of the Soyang, General Almond late on the 24th issued instructions for attacks to carry out General Van Fleet's earlier order for the twopronged trap by the X Corps and ROK I Corps., Coming out of corps reserve, the 23d Infantry moving up Route 24 on the morning of the 25th was to pass through the Gerhardt force and establish a bridgehead over the Soyang, throwing a treadway over the river, then was to seize Inje to block large enemy groups that air observers on the 24th had sighted withdrawing up the P'ungam-ni-Hyonni-Inje road. Behind these groups, the 38th Infantry was to continue its pursuit. In getting within ten miles of Hyon-ni on the 24th, that regiment had had as much trouble with the roadbed giving way under its tanks and with the sharp pitch of the bordering ridges as with knots of North Korean delaying forces.50

After the 23d Infantry established the Soyang bridgehead, Task Force Gerhardt and the remainder of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team were to assemble under corps control just south of Umyang-ni to form Task Force Baker for a rapid drive over Route 24, beginning on the morning of the 26th, to seize Kansong on the coast. The 2d Division, less the 9th Infantry, which General Almond ordered into corps reserve and replaced in the area between Route 24 and the P'ungam-ni-Hyon-ni-Inje road with the ROK 5th Division, was to continue clearing its zone. At the same time, the 23d Infantry, following Task Force Baker, was to give particular attention to preventing enemy forces from moving above the Inje-Kansong segment of Route 24. In a further remodeling, Almond dissolved Task Force Able, as previously planned, and reassigned its zone to the 3d Division, which, with the ROK 9th and 8th Divisions still attached, was to continue clearing its wide east flank zone. On the corps' opposite flank, the 1st Marine Division was to continue its drive along the west side of Route 24, a drive which again on the 24th had amounted to a plodding short advance, to capture the Yanggu area.51

As part of the operation to seize the Umyangni bridge site and subsequently the YangguInje area, General Almond had directed the 1st Marine Division to have a regiment follow Task Force Gerhardt up Route 24 as far as five miles below Umyang-ni where a lateral trail intersected from the east and continued northwest toward the Soyang. Veering off at the intersection, the Marine regiment was to occupy prominent high ground four miles west of Umyang-ni to strengthen the hold on the bridge site and to control the trail, which Almond believed enemy forces would attempt to use as a withdrawal route. General Thomas pulled the 7th Marines out of reserve for the mission, but because of a late start, a shortage of trucks, and enemy resistance to the leading battalion on a hill bordering the road northwest of Chaun-ni, the regiment by nightfall was still some seven miles short of its objective. Along the east side of the road, the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, less its battalion with Task Force Gerhardt, also had made only short advances against scattered enemy groups during the day. Thus the lateral trail, now located about halfway between the front of the Marine and airborne troops and the Gerhardt force at Umyang-ni, remained open.52

Shortly before dark, air observers reported about two thousand enemy troops moving west on the trail onto Route 24 and beyond. They were from 12th Army units, which continued to cross the road during the night, their movement not again picked up by observers until noon on the 25th as they entered the ground below the Hwach'on Reservoir in the IX Corps zone. To protect their passage across Route 24, the 106th Regiment of the 34th Division organized a deep position extending over two miles below the road's intersection with the trail to hold off attacks from the south. With no position established to the north, the intersection was open to seizure by Task Force Gerhardt. But Colonel Gerhardt sent no forces down the road, even after all but one of twenty trucks sent back for supplies were destroyed and all but two of the drivers were killed at the Chinese position.53

Alerted by the ambush of the truck convoy, General Ruffner ordered the 23d Infantry to move forward at daylight to clear the roadblock. At each position of the deep block, forces of the 106th Regiment fought a dogged defense until virtually annihilated. Regimental tanks broke through on the road and reached Task Force Gerhardt in the afternoon, but darkness fell before the 23d Infantry eliminated the enemy regiment and reached the intersection to stop for the night. Attacking crosscountry on the west flank of the 23d Infantry, the 7th Marines met little resistance but moved no farther than to come abreast. Behind the roadblock, 12th Army forces meanwhile had continued to stream across Route 24 and up the trail to the northwest until the 106th Regiment was all but wiped out. Then they avoided Task Force Gerhardt by veering northeast, forded the Soyang, and headed toward Yanggu.54

The 38th Infantry's pursuit of enemy groups escaping up the road through Hyon-ni to Inje on the 25th was halted by stubborn resistance from two North Korean battalions deployed at the junction with the road coming up from Habae-jae two miles below Sangam-ni. Supporting artillery battalions reached out for the enemy withdrawing behind the block, but many of the groups were already well up the road and out of range. To supply further evidence that the enemy withdrawal was outdistancing the pursuit, the 9th Infantry, moving through its central zone until relieved by the 35th Regiment of the ROK 5th Division, made almost no contact, and the reinforced 3d Division encountered only light, scattered resistance as the 7th Infantry came up to the division's road junction objectives east of Habae-jae and as attached South Korean forces on the extreme east flank moved into the ground above Route 20.55

Still hopeful of trapping and eliminating sizable enemy groups below Route 24, General Almond urged General Thomas to accelerate the 1st Marine Division's advance on Yanggu and pressed General Ruffner to bridge the Soyang and seize Inje so that Task Force Baker could form and open its drive on Kansong. Almond also added a shallower swing to his attempt to cut off enemy forces ahead of the ROK I Corps, ordering the 3d Division to organize a reinforced regimental combat team as Task Force Charlie and send it over the road leading northeastward from the Habae-jae area on the morning of 26 May to take Yangyang on the coast.56

There was still one opportunity to intercept a sizable enemy force. After the rain lightened enough to allow aircraft aloft in the afternoon of the 26th, observers scanned the corps zone. The Hyon-ni-Inje stretch of road and connecting roads running north and west beyond Inje remained aswarm with enemy troops and vehicles. Artillery supporting the 38th Infantry was far enough forward to fire on the road up to two miles beyond Hyon-ni, and during the remaining hours of daylight fighter-bombers attacked enemy groups in and around Inje while B-26s laced the forces between Inje and Hyon-ni with thirteen tons of bombs, all producing a high score of casualties. The pursuit of the 38th Infantry, however, came to an abrupt halt three miles short of Hyon-ni in the face of strong rearguard action by the 19th Regiment, North Korean 13th Division. Below the 38th, the 3d Division's Task Force Charlie built around the 7th Infantry moved only four miles toward Yang-yang before minefields and a destroyed bridge blocked any further advance. To the north along Route 24, the attack of the 23d Infantry also was stopped short. Sweeping one enemy group off high ground bordering Route 24 below Umyang-ni, the regiment reached and crossed the Soyang before noon. Leaving a battalion to protect engineers while they bridged the river during the afternoon, Colonel Chiles sent the remainder of his regiment toward Inje. But the advance ended some five miles from the town when stubborn North Korean 12th Division forces refused to give up blocking positions until well past dark.57

A swifter advance was clearly required if enemy passage through the Inje road center was to be blocked and any substantial part of the enemy throng on the Hyon-ni-Inje road rolled up from the south. The 27th Army was already above Route 24 en route through the area above the Hwach'on Reservoir to take position behind the 20th Army along Route 17, and the North Korean V Corps was beginning to organize defenses between the reservoir and the outskirts of Inje. The latter's 6th Division entering the Yanggu area would oppose the 1st Marine Division, which on the 26th was still moving forces up to the Soyang for its attack on the town. As the 23d Infantry had discovered, the 12th Division was coming in alongside the 6th to defend the ground reaching east to Inje. Still on the road below Inje, the 32d Division was to move into a corps reserve position. Farthest south on the road, the North Korean II Corps planned to deploy the 27th Division around Inje, the 2d Division next to the east, and the 13th Division, currently covering the corps' rear, on the east flank. Other than this jam of North Korean troops between Hyon-ni and Inje, the only enemy forces still below Route 24 were stragglers and isolated groups that had become separated from their units in the confusion of the withdrawal.58

Urging speedy attacks to bag the enemy forces remaining below Route 24, General Almond directed Task Force Baker to lead the attack on Inje on the 27th, leaving bypassed enemy troops to the left and right of the road to the following 23d Infantry, and to be prepared to proceed to Kansong in coordination with the advance of the ROK I Corps toward the same objective. Since General Paik's forces had entered Yangyang on the 26th, Almond meanwhile canceled the Task Force Charlie attack toward the town.59

Rain during the morning of the 27th and heavy low clouds throughout the day limited flights by air observers, but they were able to confirm a continuous enemy exodus to the north. They reported one group of some seven thousand moving along the Hyon-niInje road ahead of the 38th Infantry. The regiment pursued with tanks on the road and an infantry battalion moving overland on each side. The remaining battalion was to move up after Hyon-ni was taken and, with the tanks, push on to Inje. But North Korean blocking positions and minefields covered by fire so slowed the advance that Hyon-ni was not occupied until dusk, and the drive on Inje was postponed.60

On Route 24, Task Force Baker fought through stubborn resistance and entered Inje at 1430, but it was evening before the task force and two battalions of the following 23d Infantry cleared the town. No time remained for the task force to drive on toward Kansong. To the west, the 7th Marines crossed the Soyang River to open the 1st Marine Division's northward attack to seize Yanggu, but though the regiment encountered only scattered enemy groups, it was still six miles from the town at nightfall.61

Since it was obvious by the 27th that the slowness of the Eighth Army in seizing its road center objectives had allowed most major Chinese units, mangled as they were, to escape entrapment, General Van Fleet laid out Operation PILEDRIVER to extend the reach of the counterattack.62 In the west, the I Corps and IX Corps were to seize line Wyoming to cut enemy lines of communication at the base of the Iron Triangle and to block the main roads running southeast out of the triangle toward the Hwach'on Reservoir and Ch'unch'on. The weight of the western attack was to be in the zone of the I Corps. Reinforced by the 3d Division and its attached ROK 9th Division, to be transferred from the X Corps, and backed up by the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, also to be taken from the X Corps and placed in army reserve in Seoul, General Milburn was to seize the Ch'orwonKumhwa area. In a narrowed IX Corps zone, General Hoge's forces were to occupy commanding ground beyond Hwach'on town to block the roads reaching southeast out of Kumhwa.63

The Punchbowl
The Punchbowl

East of the reservoir, after completing operations to capture the Yanggu-Inje area and reach Kansong on the east coast, the X Corps and ROK I Corps were to seize and establish defensive positions along a newly drawn segment of line Kansas running northeast from the reservoir across the southern rim of a hollow circle of mountains aptly called the "Punchbowl" to the coastal town of Kojin-ni, five miles above Kansong. Following generally the same prominent ridge traced by earlier phase lines in the sector, the new Kansas segment lay well above Route 24. Once on the adjusted line, both corps could use the road as their main supply route and, in addition, could receive supplies through the port at Kansong.64

Van Fleet had in mind another use for Kansong as part of an operation he planned to open on 6 June to isolate and destroy enemy forces who had succeeded in withdrawing above Route 24 into the area northeast of the Hwach'on Reservoir. Under X Corps control, part of the 1st Marine Division was to stage through Kansong for a quick shore-to-shore movement to establish a beachhead at the junction of Route 17 and the coastal road in the T'ongch'on area some twenty-eight miles on the north. The remainder of the division was to join the beachhead by moving up the coastal road. Once reassembled, the Marine division was to attack down Route 17 while the IX Corps drove up the same road out of the Kumhwa area to seal off the area to the southeast. Enemy forces caught in the trap were then to be systematically destroyed. Van Fleet needed General Ridgway's approval for an operation of these proportions beyond the Kansas and Wyoming lines, and on 28 May he made that request, urging in his message that the "potentiality of enemy defeat should override any objections.65

Unconvinced that such was the case, Ridgway flew to Seoul late on the 28th. There he presented to Van Fleet all of the reasons why the T'ongch'on operation should not be undertaken. The sum of his reasons was that the possible benefits of the operation did not justify the risks entailed. The Eighth Army's mission, he reminded Van Fleet, was to exact maximum enemy losses at minimum cost while maintaining UNC forces intact, and this mission could best be carried out in a gradual advance to lines Kansas and Wyoming. In that connection, Ridgway did approve Van Fleet's adjustment of line Kansas east of the Hwach'on Reservoir. Looking ahead to the time when the Eighth Army reached lines Kansas and Wyoming, Ridgway before leaving Korea on 29 May instructed Van Fleet to prepare an estimate of the situation covering the next sixty days along with recommendations on operations. As he undertook this contingency planning, Van Fleet on 1 June directed his corps commanders to fortify lines Kansas and Wyoming upon reaching them and thereafter to conduct limited objective attacks, reconnaissance in force, and patrolling.66 Under the circumstances, at least at the time, he had no alternative.


1 Rad, C 62789, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, 18 May 51; 1 Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

2 Rad, G (TAG) 172 KCG, Ridgway (Personal) for Collins, 20 May 51; Interv, Appleman with Van Fleet, 15 Sep 51; Rads, GX-5-3172 KGOP, GX-5-3229 KGOP, and GX-5-3290 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 18 May and last two 19 May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 19 May 51.

3 X Corps PIR 235, 19 May 51; X Corps OI 179, 20 May 51; Rad, GX5-3464 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CGs IX and X Corps, 20 May 51; 2d Div CofS Jnl, Entry 25, 20 May 51.

4 X Corps PIR 235, 19 May 51, PIR 236, 20 May 51, POR 236, 20 May 51, and PIR 237, 21 May 51; Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division in Korea, p. 211.

5 2d Div POR 615, 20 May 51; 9th Inf POR 153, 20 May 51; 9th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 23d Inf S3 Jnl, Entries 83 and 92, 20 May 51; 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 2d Div PIRs 208, 20 May 51, and 209, 21 May 51.

6 2d Div Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; X Corps PIRs 236, 20 May 51, and 237, 21 May 51; Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division in Korea, p. 211; X Corps POR 237, 21 May 51; 2d Div POR 616, 21 May 51; X Corps OI 180, 21 May 51.

7 X Corps G3 SS Rpt, May 51; X Corps PIR 237, 21 May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 21 May 51; Eighth Army POR, 21 May 51, and PIR 313, 21 May 51.

8 Memo, Lt Col Paul F. Smith, Eighth Army Liaison Officer, to Gen Ridgway, 22 May 51.

9 Rad, GX-5-3699 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA, 21 May 51; Rad, GX-5-3721 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 21 May 51.

10 Rad, GX-5-3812 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 22 May 51; Eighth Army POR, 22 May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Entries 1707, 1735, and 1755, 22 May 51, and Entry 1032, 23 May 51.

11 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Entry 1755, 22 May 51; Interv, Appleman with Van Fleet, 15 Sep 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 22 May 51; Rad, GX-5-3849 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG X Corps and C/S ROKA, 22 May 51; Rad, GX-5-3910 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA and Chief KMAG, 22 May 51; Rad GX-5-4404 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CS ROKA and CG ROK I Corps, 25 May 51.

12 Eighth Army POR, 22 May 51, and PIR 314, 22 May 51.

13 Rad, GX-5-3910 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA and Chief KMAG, 22 May 51.

14 Eighth Army PIR 315, 23 May 51; 1 Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; Rad, X 19780, CG X Corps to CG Eighth Army, 22. May 51.

15 Eighth Army PIR 315, 23 May 51; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51.

16 USAFFE Intel Dig, no. 99, 16-31 Jan 53; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51; Hq, FEC, History of the North Korean Army.

17 USAFFE Intel Dig, vol. I, no. 1, 1-31 Dec 52; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51.

18 USAFFE Intel Dig, no. 96, 16-28 Feb 53; Hq, FEC, History of the North Korean Army.

19 I Corps 015, 19 May 51; Rad, IXACT 1515 (IX Corps Opn O 20), CG IX Corps to CG ROK 2d Div et al., 19 May 51; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

20 I Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

21 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; Rads, IXCCG 103 and IXACT 1527, CG IX Corps to CG 24th Div et al., 20 and 21 May 51, respectively.

22 IX Corps Opn O 21, 22 May 51.

23 Ibid.; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps POR 665, 23 May 51; IX Corps G2 Daily Sum, 23 May 51; Rad, IXCCG 106, CG IX Corps to CG Eighth Army, 23 May 51.

24 X Corps Opn O 22, 22 May 51; X Corps POR 238, 22 May 51; X Corps 01 183, 22 May 51; Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division in Korea, p. 211.

25 The operation had a regrettable postscript. Colonel Ladue died two days later of an apparent heart attack.

26 X Corps OI 180, 21 May 51; X Corps POR 238, 22 May 51; X Corps Opn O 22,22 May 51; 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entries 15, 18, 23, 26, and 27, 22 May 51.

27 X Corps OI 182, 22 May 51; X Corps POR 238, 22 May 51; X Corps Opn O 22, 22 May 51; X Corps Special Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River."

28 1st Marine Div Hist Diary, 23 May 51; 1st Marine Div POR 280, 23 May 51.

29 2d Inf Div Opn O 31, 22 May 51; X Corps Opn O 22, 22 May 51.

30 2d I of Div PIR 211, 23 May 51; Eighth Army PIR 315, 23 May 51; 2d Inf Div POR 618, 23 May 51.

31 X Corps Opn O 22, 22 May 51; X Corps OI 183, 22 May 51; 2d Inf Div POR 618, 23 May 51; X Corps POR 239, 23 May 51.

32 Dolcater, 3d Infantry Division in Korea, p. 212; X Corps Special Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River"; X Corps POR 239, 23 May 51; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51.

33 Rad, C 63228, CINCFE to JCS, 24 May 51; Rad, GX-5-4206 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CGs 1, IX, and X Corps, 24 May 51; Rad, GX-5-4218 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CGs X Corps and ROK I Corps, 24 May 51.

34 Rad, CIACT 5-285, CG I Corps to CGs 25th and 1st Cav Divs, 24 May 51; 1 Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 1 Corps G2 Section, Narrative of Enemy Operations, 24-27 May 51.

35 The account of this task force operation is based on 3d Hist Det, AAR, "Task Force Hazel," copy in CMH.

36 As the task force reentered Ch'unch'on, the pilot of a division observation plane scouting the ground a short distance southeast of town saw a sign, "POW 19," spelled with wallpaper strips and, underneath, "rescue," spelled with shell cases. Dropping a note about the sighting to the Hazel force, the pilot guided three tanks assembled by Captain Hazel to the sign, where the tankers picked up nineteen Americans, eighteen enlisted marines and one enlisted Army man. All had been taken prisoner on 30 November 1950 at the Changjin Reservoir and kept with their captors until being left behind when the Chinese withdrew from the Ch'unch'on area.

37 3d Hist Det, AAR, "Task Force Hazel"; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps G2 Hist Rpt for May 51, 14 Jun 51; Rad, IXCCG 108, CG IX Corps to CG Eighth Army, 25 May 51.

38 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps G2 Daily Activities Rpt, 25 May 51; IX Corps PORs 668 and 669, 25 May 51; 7th Inf Div POR 233, 25 May 51; IX Corps Opn Plan 20, 24 May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 26 May 51.
39 IX Corps G2 Hist Rpt, May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 26 May 51.

40 Dept of the Army GO 77, 5 Sep 51; Interv, Appleman with Col Gines Perez, CO, 21st Inf. For their outstanding performance in this action, the Headquarters Company and Medical Company were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

41 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps G2 Daily Activ Rpt, 27 and 28 May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl Sum 27 and 28 May 51.

42 IX Corps G2 Hist Rpt, May 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 27 May 51.

43 IX Corps G2 Daily Activ Rpt, 28 May 51; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; IX Corps G2 Hist Rpt, May 51.

44 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

45 X Corps OI 184, 24 May 51; 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entry 2, 24 May 51.

46 8th Hist Det, AAR, "Task Force Gerhardt," copy in CMH; 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entries 3 and 4, 24 May 51.

47 8th Hist Det, AAR, "Task Force Gerhardt."

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 X Corps OI 186, 24 May 51; 2d Inf Div OI 75, 25 May 51, and POR 619, 24 May 51; 38th Inf S2 Jnl, Sum, 24 May 51; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

51 X Corps OI 186, 24 May 51, and Opn O 23, 25 May 51.

52 X Corps 01 184, 24 May 51; 1st Marine Div Hist Diary May 51; X Corps POR 240, 24 May 51.

53 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entries 21, 23, and 25, 24 May 51; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51; 2d Inf Div PIR 213, 25 May 51, and POR 620, 25 May 51; 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entry 4, 25 May 51.

54 2d Inf Div POR 620, 25 May 51; 2d Inf Div Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 2d Inf Div PIR 213, 25 May 51; 1st Marine Div Hist Diary, May 51.

55 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 38th Inf S2 Jnl, Sum, 25 May 51; 2d Inf Div POR 620, 25 May 51; 9th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

56 X Corps OI 187, 25 May 51; 2d Inf Div CofS Jnl, Entries 22, 23, and 25, 25 May 51.

57 X Corps POR 242, 26 May 51; 2d Inf Div POR 621, 26 May 51, and PIR 214, 26 May 51; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51; 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

58 USAFFE Intel Dig, no. 99, 16-31 Jan 53; X Corps G2 Section Rpt, "Battle of the Soyang River," 30 Jun 51; Rad, X 19869, CG X Corps to CG Eighth Army, 26 May 51.

59 X Corps OI 188, 27 May 51; Rad, X 19870, CG X Corps to CG 3d Div, 27 May 51.

60 2d Inf Div POR 622, 27 May 51; 38th Inf S2 Jnl, Sum, 27 May 51; 2d Inf Div Comd Rpt, Nar, May 51.

61 X Corps POR 243, 27 May 51.

62 The 25th Division, General Van Fleet judged, should have taken the I Corps' road center objective below Ch'orwon three days sooner that it did; the 7th Division should have occupied the Hwach'on area in the IX Corps zone a day earlier; and, while he commended General Almond's attempts to energize the advance of the X Corps, he believed the 1st Marine Division and the 2d Division could have made far faster moves toward Yanggu and Inje. See Interv, Appleman with Van Fleet, 15 Sep 51.

63 LOI, CG Eighth Army to CGs 1, IX, and X Corps, 187th Abn RCT, and 2d Inf Div, 27 May 51; Rads, GX-5-5055 KGOP and GX-5-5152 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CGs I, IX, and X Corps and 187th Abn RCT, 27 and 28 May 51, respectively.

64 Ibid.

65 Rad, GX-5-5099 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 28 May 51.

66 Rad, CX 63580, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army Personal for Van Fleet, 28 May 51; MFR (memo for the record), 31 May 51, sub: Conference Between General Ridgway and General Van Fleet; LOIs (letters of instruction), CG Eighth Army to CGs I, IX, and X Corps, and to CG ROK I Corps, both 1 Jun 51.

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