Korean Service
Purple Heart
     Infantry Weapons     
     THE WHOLE SITE     
     Combat Photos     

The Foundation of Freedom is the Courage of Ordinary People

History  Bert '53  On Line

Wolmi-do Causeway 9/15/1950

A rare moment - these few Marines, protecting the attack forces on Wolmi-do island against counter-attack from the Korean mainland, were the sharp point facing the whole North Korean army.

The Inchon Landing

The Korean War

The Point

At The Point of the entire UN Counter Attack, 9/15/50

A section of M1917A4 Light Machine Guns and a 3.5" Bazooka Team of "I" Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, having helped capture Wolmi-Do island earlier that morning, secure the causeway leading to Inchon.

Note the leggings worn by the Marine on the right. These leggings are the reasons the North Koreans on the Pusan Perimeter gave the nickname "Yellow Legs" to the Marine Brigade fighting there. Note that only three 3.5 rounds are on site, a possible indication that 3.5 ammo was still in short supply.

At 0633 on September 15, 1950, LtCol R. D. Taplett's 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, reinforced by tanks and engineers, some 1250 Marines in all, landed in the assault of Wolmi Do Island. This island guarded the seaward approaches to Inchon. These Marines were veterans of the vicious fighting on the Pusan Perimeter. At 1700 that afternoon these men would have had a ringside seat from which to watch the remainder of their Regiment assault the beaches just to the left (north) of the causeway, and the 1st Marines (Regiment) land on beaches to the right (south) of the causeway.

Taplett's landing had been preceded by intense fire from Navy and Marine aircraft from Sicily, Badoeng Strait, Valley Forge, Philippine Sea, and Boxer. The cruisers Toledo, Rochester, Kenya, and Jamaica added their six and eight inch shells to the carnage on the beach, as did a dozen destroyers and smaller ships. The piece de resistance were the ugly, squat shapes of three LSMRs, the 401, 403, and 404 which waddled close up to the already smoking island and ripple fired hundreds of rockets into what was already a smoking fiery mess. You may bet that the Marines, bobbing around in LCVPs waiting to go ashore, thought those "ugly, squat LSMRs" were the most beautiful ships in the U. S. Navy at that moment in time.

Some 400 North Koreans of the 2000 defenders of Inchon had been on Wolmi Do that morning. When the fight was over Taplett's battalion would count some 108 enemy dead and 136 prisoners. The 150 other defenders were thought to have been entombed in sealed emplacements and caves throughout the island. Marine casualties amounted to 17 Wounded in Action.

Naval gunfire support of Marine landings during WW II in the Pacific had always been a problem. Not surprisingly, Marines wanted as much fire on the objective as they could get, and the Navy almost always shortened or cancelled scheduled pre-D Day bombardments. With the exception of the landing on Guam on July 21, 1944, which had proceeded as flawlessly as an amphibious assault across an enemy held beach could be expected to go and with minimal casualties, the Marine Corps had never been satisfied with the time and attention devoted by the U. S. Navy to shore bombardment. Example after example could be cited where this occurred. Wolmi-Do and Inchon would be an exception to the pattern which had developed previously in that the quantity and quality of the pre-landing bombardments had fulfilled Marine requests and expectations. The result of this bombardment was that it saved Marine blood during the landing portion of the operation.

Anyone interested in the issue of pre-landing bombardment and the Navy/Marine Corps conflict regarding this issue is urged to read Holland M. Smith's Coral and Brass. This book sets forth the Marine Corps side of the argument, chapter and verse, through the Iwo Jima operation.

The above was courtesy of R. E. Sullivan, Colonel, USMC ('43/'67) (Ret.)

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

        KOREAN WAR TIME LINE         
     Tanks and Fighting Vehicles     
               Enemy Weapons              

     Korean War, 1950-1953        
  Map and Battles of the MLR   
                 SEARCH SITE                  

The Foundations of Freedom are the Courage of Ordinary People and Quality of our Arms

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

  Danish Muslim Cartoons  

  Guest Book