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The Enemy Flanks Eighth Army in the West

The Foundation of Freedom is the Courage of Ordinary People

History  Bert '53  On Line

Combat Photos

(Back to Appleman: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu)
The smallest detail, taken from the actual incident in war, is moreinstructive for me, a soldier, than all the Thiers and Jominis in the world.They speak, no doubt, for the heads of states and armies but they nevershow me what I wish to know-a battalion, a company, a squad, in action.
ARDANT DU PICQ, Battle Studies

The N.K. 6th, farthest to the west of the enemy divisions, hada special mission. After the fall of Seoul, it followed the N.K. 3dand 4th Divisions across the Han as far as Ch'onan. There the N.K.Army issued new orders to it, and pursuant to them on 11 July it turnedwest off the main highway toward the west coast. For the next two weeksthe division passed from the view of Eighth Army intelligence. Variousintelligence summaries carried it as location unknown, or placed it vaguelyin the northwest above the Kum River.

Actually, the 6th Division was moving rapidly south overthe western coastal road net. Its shadow before long would turn into apall of gloom and impending disaster over the entire U.N. plan to defendsouthern Korea. Its maneuver was one of the most successful of either Armyin the Korean War. It compelled the redisposition of Eighth Army at theend of July and caused Tokyo and Washington to alter their plans for theconduct of the war.

Departing Yesan on 13 July, the N.K. 6th Division startedsouth in two columns and crossed the lower Kum River. (See MapIII.) The larger force appeared before Kunsan about the time the3d and 4th Divisions attacked Taejon. The port townfell to the enemy without resistance. The division's two columns unitedin front of Chonju, thirty miles to the southeast, and quickly reducedthat town, which was defended by ROK police. [1]

The N.K. 6th Division was now poised to make an end runthrough southwest Korea toward Pusan, around the left flank of Eighth Army.In all Korea southwest of the Taejon-Taegu-Pusan highway, at this time,there were only a few hundred survivors of the ROK 7th Division, some scattered ROK marines, and local police units. [2]

The 6th Division departed Chonju on or about 20 July.At Kwangju on 23 July the three regiments of the division separated. The13th went southwest to Mokp'o on the coast, the 14th southto Posong, and the 15th southeast through Sunch'on to Yosu on thesouthern coast. The division encountered little resistance during thisweek of almost constant movement. About 25 July, it reassembled at Sunch'on,ninety air miles west of Pusan, and made ready for its critical drive eastwardtoward that port. Logistically, the division was poorly prepared for thisoperation. Its supply was poor and rations were cut in half and on somedays there were none. [3]

Advancing next on Chinju, General Pang Ho San, commander of the N.K.6th Division, proclaimed to his troops on the eve of theadvance, "Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given us isthe liberation of Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnantsof the enemy.... The liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battleto cut off the windpipe of the enemy." [4]

Everywhere refugees fled the terror sweeping over southwest Korea withthe advance of the North Korean Army and guerrilla units. An entry on 29July in the diary of a guerrilla tellingly illustrates the reasons forpanic: "Apprehended 12 men; National Assembly members, police sergeantsand Myon leaders. Killed four of them at the scene, and the remaining eightwere shot after investigation by the People's court." [5]

Walker Acts

During the battle for Taejon, U.N. aerial observers had reported enemymovements south of the Kum River near the west coast. U.N. intelligencemistakenly concluded that these troops were elements of the N.K. 4thDivision. A report from the Far East Command to Washington on 21July noted this enemy movement and attributed it to that division. Thenext day a similar report from the Far East Command stated, "The 4thNorth Korean Division ... has been picked up in assemblies in the vicinityof Nonsan." Enemy forces in battalion and regimental strength, thereport said, were moving in a "southward trend, colliding with localpolice forces." General MacArthur's headquarters considered this "avery bold movement, evidently predicated on the conviction of the enemyhigh command that the Allied units are potentially bottled up in the mountainousareas northeast of the headwaters of the Kum River. ... The potential ofthe advance of the enemy 4th Division to the south is altogetheruncomfortable, since at the moment, except for air strikes, there is noorganized force capable of firm resistance except local police units."[6]

General Walker knew enemy units were moving south of the Kum River intosouthwest Korea and maintained aerial observation of the roads there whenflying weather conditions permitted. His intelligence section wanted distantarmored reconnaissance of this region, but the armored vehicles and personnelto carry it out were not available. In addition to aerial reconnaissance,however, there were the many reports from local South Korean police units.These often were vague, conflicting, and, it was thought, exaggerated.[7]

On 21-22 July, heavy overcast prevented aerial reconnaissance and permittedthe enemy to put his columns on the road during daylight and to move rapidlywithout fear of aerial attack. Alarm at Eighth Army headquarters beganto grow. The Fifth Air Force had moved its advance headquarters from Itazuke,Japan, to Taegu on 16 July. The most advanced air bases in Japan-Itazakeand Ashiya-were hardly close enough to the battle area of early and middleJuly to allow more than fifteen to twenty minutes of support by jet fighters.When weather was bad the F-80 jets could scarcely fly a mission at thefront and get back to Itazuke. Effective 24 July, the advance group ofthe Air Force was designated as the Fifth Air Force in Korea. Fair weatherreturned on 23 July, and General Walker requested the Fifth Air Force tofly an armed reconnaissance of the Kwangju-Nonsan area. [8]

When General Walker asked for aerial reconnaissance of southwest Koreaon 23 July, he had at hand a G-2 estimate of the enemy situation in thewest below the Kum, just provided at his request. This estimate postulatedthat elements of one division were in the southwest. It estimated the rateof progress at two miles an hour and calculated that if the enemy turnedeast he could reach the Anui-Chinju line in the Chiri Mountains by 25 July.[9] This proved to be an accurate forecast.

The air reconnaissance carried out on 23 July was revealing. It showedthat enemy forces had indeed begun a drive south from the estuary of theKum River and were swinging east behind the left (west) flank of EighthArmy. [10]

On the basis of the time and space estimate given him on the 23d andthe aerial reconnaissance of the same date, General Walker realized thata major crisis was developing in a section far behind the lines, and ata time when constant enemy attack was pushing his front back. On 24 July,Eighth Army made its first move to counter the threatened enemy envelopmentin the southwest. General Walker decided to send the 24th Division posthastesouthward to block the enemy enveloping move. He also directed his chiefof staff, Colonel Landrum, personally to make sure that the Fifth Air Forcemade a major effort against the enemy forces in southwest Korea. [11]

At noon on the 24th, General Walker asked General Church, the new commanderof the 24th Division, to come to Eighth Army headquarters in Taegu. ThereWalker informed him of the threat in the southwest and told him that hewould have to move the 24th Division to the sector. "I am sorry tohave to do this," he said, "but the whole left flank is open,and reports indicate the Koreans are moving in. I want you to cover thearea from Chinju up to near Kumch'on." [12] The two places GeneralWalker mentioned are sixty-five air miles apart and separated by the wildChiri Mountains.

General Church had assumed command of the 24th Division just the daybefore, on 23 July, after General Dean had been three days missing in action.The division had been out of the line and in army reserve just one day.It had not had time to re-equip and receive replacements for losses. Thedivision supply officer estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the division'sequipment would have to be replaced. All three regiments were far understrength.[13]

General Church immediately ordered the 19th Infantry to move to Chinju,and it started from Kumch'on shortly before midnight, 24 July. The nextday, 25 July, at 1700, Eighth Army formally ordered the division, lessthe 21st Regiment, to defend the Chinju area. [14]

Eighth Army now had reports of 10 enemy tanks and 500 infantry in Mok'poat the southwest tip of the peninsula; 26 trucks and 700 soldiers in Namwon;tanks, trucks, and 800 soldiers in Kurye; and 500 enemy troops engagingSouth Korean police in Hadong. [15] The Eighth Army G-2 estimated at thistime that the N.K. 4th Division was dispersed over 3,300 squaremiles of southwest Korea.

On the morning of 25 July, Col. Ned D. Moore arrived at Chinju about0600, preceding his 19th Infantry Regiment headquarters and the 2d Battalion,which reached the town at 1500 in the afternoon. Lt. Col. Robert L. Rhea,following with the 1st Battalion, remained behind on the Kumch'on roadnorth of Chinju. There, at Anui, where a road came in from the west, ColonelRhea placed A Company in a defensive position. The remainder of the battalioncontinued south eight miles to a main road junction at Umyong-ni (Sanggamon some old maps and Hwasan-ni on others), just east of Hamyang. [16]

The next day, 26 July, Col. Charles E. Beauchamp's 34th Infantry Regiment,on orders from General Church, moved from the Kunwi-Uisong area north ofTaegu to Koch'ang. At the same time the 24th Division headquarters anddivisional troops moved to Hyopch'on, where General established his command post. Hyopch'on is 12 air mile west of the Naktong River, 25miles north of Chinju, and 15 miles southeast of Koch'ang. It was reasonablywell centered in the vast area the division had to defend. [17]

Of the eleven infantry battalions re quested by General MacArthur inearly July to make up shortages within the infantry divisions of the FarEast Command, two battalions from the 19th Infantry Regiment on Okinawawere the first to arrive in Korea. The history of these units between thetime they were alerted for probable combat use in Korea and their commitmentin battle shows the increasing sense of urgency that gripped the Far EastCommand in July, and how promises and estimates made one day in good faithhad to be discarded the next because of the growing crisis in Korea. Andit also shows how troops not ready for combat nevertheless suddenly foundthemselves in it.

About the middle of July, Maj. Tony J. Raibl, Executive Officer, 3dBattalion, 19th Infantry, learned in Tokyo that the Far East Command expectedthat the regiment would have at least six weeks' training before beingsent to Korea. [18]

Yet, immediately after making that estimate, the Far East Command issuedorders to the regiment on 15 July to prepare for movement. All troops wereplaced in two battalions, the 1st and 3d. Lt. Col. Wesley C. Wilson commandedthe 1st Battalion and Lt. Col. Harold W. Mott, the 3d Battalion. The regimentalheadquarters was to remain behind as a nucleus for a new regiment thatwould assume responsibility for the ground defense of Okinawa.

The USS Walker arrived at Okinawa on the 20th with about 400recruits. They were hastily disembarked and allowed to take with them onlytheir toilet articles, driven to the battalion areas, assigned to companies,issued arms and field equipment, and moved back to the Naha docks. On 21July the two battalions, now at full strength, loaded on board the Fentrissand Takasago Maru during a heavy rain and sailed for Pusan.

On 20 July at Yokohama, Major Raibl learned that the two battalionswould not come to Japan but would sail directly for Korea, where they wouldreceive at least ten days of intensive field training in the vicinity ofPusan before they would be committed. When Major Raibl arrived at Taeguon 22 July, he found Col. Allan D. MacLean, Eighth Army Assistant G-3,in no mood to listen to or discuss the lack of combat readiness of the19th Infantry. Raibl talked at length with General Walker, who was sympatheticbut indicated that the situation was urgent. When he left Taegu, Raiblunderstood that the two battalions would have a minimum of three days atPusan to draw equipment and zero-in and test fire their weapons. [19]

Instead, when the two battalions disembarked at Pusan the morning of24 July orders from Eighth Army awaited them to proceed to Chinju. Therethey would be attached to the 19th Infantry Regiment. The next afternoonthe two battalions arrived at Chinju. Instead of the six weeks of trainingfirst agreed upon, they found themselves now in a forward position, riflesnot zeroed, mortars not test-fired, and new .50-caliber machine guns withcosmoline rubbed off but not cleaned. [20]

That evening, 25 July, Colonel Mott received orders from Colonel Moore,commanding the 19th Infantry at Chinju, to seize Hadong, a road junctionpoint thirty-five miles southwest of Chinju. Colonel Moore said that about500 N.K. troops were moving on Hadong and comprised the nearest enemy organizedresistance. Maj. Gen. Chae Byong Duk, formerly ROK Army Chief of Staffand now in Chinju, urged on Colonel Moore the importance of Hadong in controllingthe western approach to Chinju and the desirability of holding it. He offeredto accompany any force sent to Hadong. Colonel Moore gave Chae permissionto accompany the troops; he had no command function-he was merely to serveas an interpreter, guide, and adviser to Colonel Mott.

The Trap at Hadong

At dusk, 25 July, the 3d Battalion issued a warning order to its unitsto be prepared to move at 2230 that night, with the mission of seizingHadong. Colonel Mott and Major Raibl based their plans on the assumptionthat the battalion would reach Hadong before daylight. They expected thatsome enemy troops would already be in the town.

Half an hour after midnight the motorized battalion started for Hadong.General Chae and some other ROK officers guided the column south out ofChinju through Konyang, where it turned north to strike the main Chinju-Hadongroad at Wonjon. In taking this route they had detoured from the directroad because of an impassable ford. The column spent the entire night tryingto negotiate the narrow road and pulling vehicles out of rice paddies.[22]

A little after daylight, the battalion encountered a truck travelingsouth containing 15 to 20 badly shot-up South Koreans. They claimed tobe the only survivors of about 400 local militia at Hadong, which the NorthKoreans had attacked the night before. Pondering this grave information,Colonel Mott led the battalion on to Wonjon on the main road. There hehalted the battalion for breakfast and set up security positions. Mottand Raibl decided that Colonel Moore should know about the happenings atHadong and, since the battalion did not have radio communication with the19th Infantry in Chinju, Raibl set out by jeep to tell him.

At Chinju, Raibl told Colonel Moore and Major Logan the story relatedby the wounded South Koreans. He requested authority for the 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, to dig in on a defensive position west of Chinju to coverthe Hadong road. After considerable discussion, Colonel Moore told Raiblthat the battalion should continue on and seize Hadong. Major Raibl acceptedthe order reluctantly since he thought the battalion could not accomplishthis mission. Major Raibl returned to Wonjon shortly after noon and informedColonel Mott of the instructions.

Colonel Mott stopped the battalion at dusk at the village of Hoengch'on,situated about three miles from Hadong on a bend of the tortuous mountainroad.

An Air Force captain with a radio jeep and a tactical air control partyarrived a little later. His mission was to direct air strikes the nextday and provide communication for the battalion. But en route his radiohad become defective and now he could not establish communication withChinju.

The battalion moved out from Hoengch'on-ni at approximately 0845, 27July. Capt. George F. Sharra and L Company, with a platoon of the HeavyWeapons Company, were in the lead, followed by the battalion command groupand K, M, and I Companies, in that order. Sharra was an experienced riflecompany commander, having seen action in Africa, Sicily, France, and Germanyin World War II.

When he was about 1,000 yards from the top of the Hadong pass, Sharrasaw a patrol of ten or twelve enemy soldiers come through the pass andstart down toward him. The Heavy Weapons platoon fired their two 75-mm.recoilless rifles at the patrol but the rounds passed harmlessly overhead.The enemy patrol turned and ran back over the pass. Captain Sharra orderedL Company to dash to the top of the pass and secure it. His men reachedthe top and deployed on either side of the pass. It was now about 0930.Sharra received orders for L Company to dig in and wait for an air strikeon Hadong scheduled for 0944. [23]

The road climbed to the top of the pass along the southern shoulderof a high mountain in a series of snakelike turns, and then started downwardto Hadong a mile and a half westward. A high peak on the right (north)towered over the road at the pass; to the left the ground dropped awayrapidly to flat paddy land along the Sumjin River.

The command group, including Colonel Mott, Captain Flynn, and most ofthe battalion staff, now hurried forward to the pass. General Chae andhis party accompanied Colonel Mott. Captain Sharra pointed out to ColonelMott unidentified people moving about on the higher ground some distanceto the north. Mott looked and replied, "Yes, I have K Company movingup there." Raibl, at the rear of the column, received orders fromMott to join him at the pass, and he hurried forward.

As the battalion command group gathered in the pass, Captain Sharra,thinking that it made an unusually attractive target, walked over to theleft and dropped to the ground beside the gunner of a light machine gun.

Raibl arrived at the pass. He saw that L Company was deployed with twoplatoons on the left of the pass and one platoon on the right, and thatK Company was climbing toward higher ground farther to the north.

Colonel Mott directed Raibl's attention down the road toward Hadong.Around a curve came a column of enemy soldiers marching on either sideof the road. Sharra also saw it. He directed his machine gunner to withholdfire until the column was closer and he gave the word. The enemy soldiersseemed unaware that American troops were occupying the pass.

Standing beside Raibl in the pass, General Chae watched the approachingsoldiers, apparently trying to determine their identity. Some appearedto be wearing American green fatigue uniforms and others the mustard brownof the North Korean Army. When the approaching men were about 100 yardsaway, General Chae shouted to them in Korean, apparently asking their identity.At this, they scampered to the ditches without answering. The machine gunsof L Company then opened fire. Sharra, who had the column in clear view,estimates it comprised a company. [24]

Almost simultaneously with the opening of American fire, enemy machinegun, mortar, and small arms fire swept over the pass from the high groundto the north. The first burst of enemy machine gun fire struck GeneralChae in the head and a great stream of blood spurted from the wound. Hedied instantly. Korean aides carried his body back to a vehicle. The samemachine gun fire hit Major Raibl. He rolled down the incline to get outof the line of fire. Colonel Mott, the S-2, and the Assistant S-2 werealso wounded by this initial enemy fire into the pass. Enemy mortars apparentlyhad been registered on the pass, for their first rounds fell on the roadand knocked out parked vehicles, including the TACP radio jeep. CaptainFlynn, unhurt, dropped to the ground and rolled down from the pass. Inthe first minute of enemy fire the 3d Battalion staff was almost wipedout.

Just after the fight opened, Major Raibl saw two flights of two planeseach fly back and forth over the area, apparently trying vainly to contactthe TACP below. They finally flew off without making any strikes. Raiblwas wounded again by mortar fragments and went down the hill seeking amedical aid man. Meanwhile, Colonel Mott, wounded only slightly by a bulletcrease across the back, got out of the line of fire. He was just belowthe pass helping to unload ammunition when a box dropped, breaking hisfoot. A soldier dug him a foxhole. As the fighting developed, everyonein Mott's vicinity was either killed or wounded, or had withdrawn downthe hill. Very soon, it appears, no one knew where Mott was. [25]


In the pass a hard fight flared between L Company and the North Koreanshigher up the hill. On the right-hand (north) side of the road, 2d Lt.J. Morrissey and his 1st Platoon bore the brunt of this fight. The enemywas just above them and the machine gun that had all but wiped out thebattalion group in the road was only 200 yards from the pass. Enemy soldiersimmediately came in be-

tween them and elements of K Company that were trying to climb the hillhigher up. These North Koreans attacked Morrissey's men in their foxholes,bayoneting two of them. Morrissey proved a capable leader, however, andhis men held their position despite numerous casualties.

Across the road on the south side of the pass, Captain Sharra and the2d Platoon gave supporting fire to Morrissey's men. Sharra had only voicecommunication with his three platoons. It is a tribute to the officers,the noncommissioned officers, and the rank and file, half of them youngrecruits freshly arrived from the United States, that L Company held steadfastin its positions on both sides of the pass against enemy fire and attackfrom commanding terrain. The North Korean soldiers exposed themselves recklesslyand many must have been killed or wounded.

Captain Flynn hastened down from the pass at the beginning of the fightto hurry up the supporting elements of the battalion. Down the road hefound part of the Heavy Weapons Company and part of K Company. He ordereda platoon of K Company to attack up the hill, and talked by radio withthe company commander, Capt. Joseph K. Donahue, who was killed later inthe day. Flynn continued on down the road looking for I Company.

Coming to the battalion trains, Flynn had the wounded, including MajorRaibl, loaded on the trucks and started them back to Chinju. Farther inthe rear, Flynn found 1st Lt. Alexander G. Makarounis and I Company. Heordered Makarounis to move the companyinto the gap between L and K Companies. Flynn started one of its platoonsunder MSgt. James A. Applegate into the rice paddies on the left of theroad, where he thought it could get cover from the dikes in crossing alarge, horseshoe-shaped bowl in its advance toward the enemy-held hillmass. [26]

Hadong Pass

About noon, 2d Lt. Ernest Philips of L Company came to Captain Sharrain the pass and told him he had found Colonel Mott, wounded, a short distanceaway. Philips went back and carried Mott to Sharra's position. Mott toldSharra to take over command of the battalion and to get it out.

Sharra sent instructions to his three platoons to withdraw to the roadat the foot of the pass. His runner to Lieutenant Morrissey and the 1stPlatoon on the north side of the pass never reached them. As the L Companymen arrived at the trucks they loaded on them, and at midafternoon startedfor Chinju.

On the way back to Chinju this group met B Battery, 13th Field ArtilleryBattalion, which had started for Hadong on Colonel Moore's orders at 0800that morning. The artillery battery had moved slowly with many stops forreconnaissance. It now turned around and went back to Chinju, abandoningone 105-mm. howitzer and four 2 1/2-ton trucks that became bogged downin rice paddies. [27]

Meanwhile, a radio message from Colonel Mott reached Flynn near the top of the pass, ordering all elementsstill on the hill to withdraw. Flynn climbed to a point where he couldcall to Lieutenant Morrissey, still holding out on the right of the pass,and told him to withdraw.

Morrissey had twelve men left; he and one other were wounded. The unidentifiedAir Force captain with the TACP had fought all day as a rifleman with Morrissey'splatoon and had distinguished himself by his bravery. Now he was eitherdead or missing. Captain Mitchell, the battalion S-2, likewise had foughtall day as a rifleman but he lived to withdraw. Morrissey's riflemen fellback down the road to the waiting vehicles and wearily climbed in. Whenall were accounted for, Captain Flynn started them for Chinju. Then, gettinginto his own Jeep, he found it would not run.

Flynn clambered down to the low ground south of the road. In the ricepaddies he saw many men of I Company. Looking back at the pass he saw enemytroops coming down off the hill, perhaps a battalion or more of them. Mortarand machine gun fire now swept the paddy area. The men caught there hadto cross a deep, 20-foot-wide stream to escape, and many drowned in theattempt. Most men rid themselves of helmet, shoes, nearly all clothing,and even their weapons in trying to cross this stream.

Flynn got across and, in a little valley about a mile and a half away,he found perhaps sixty to seventy other American soldiers. While they restedbriefly, enemy fire suddenly came in on them from pursuers and they scatteredlike quail seeking cover. Flynn and three companions walked all night.The next afternoon his party, now numbering ten men, entered the linesof the 19th Infantry.

The largest single group of survivors escaped by going south to theseacoast, only a few miles distant. Sergeant Applegate of I Company ledone group of ninety-seven men to the coast, where a Korean fishing vesseltook them on board at Noryangjin, five miles south of Hadong. From therethe vessel went west to a point near Yosu, where it transferred the mento a Korean naval patrol vessel which returned them to Pusan. [28]

The morning that Mott's battalion approached Hadong, 27 July, CaptainBarszcz received orders to take his G Company, 19th Infantry, from Chinjuon a motorized patrol along secondary roads northeast of Hadong. He mountedhis seventy-eight men in vehicles and conducted the patrol about fourteenmiles northeast of Hadong without encountering the enemy. In the afternoonBarszcz returned to the main Hadong-Chinju road near the village of Sigum,about twelve miles east of Hadong.

While he stopped there, an officer with about fifty men came down theroad from the direction of Hadong. They told him they were all that wereleft of L Company. Most of the men were without clothing except for theirshorts and boots. One M1 rifle, which apparently had not been fired, anda .45-caliber pistol were their only weapons. The L Company group explainedtheir condition by saying they had to swim a river and wade through ricepaddies. Barszcz relieved the group of the weapons, put the men on twotrucks, and sent them down the road to Chinju.

Expecting more American stragglers from Hadong, Barszcz put G Companyastride the road in a defensive position to cover their withdrawal. Hehad sent a message with the Chinju-bound trucks explaining what he haddone and asked for further orders. [29]

Barszcz held his roadblock east of Hadong until 0400 the morning of28 July, when Captain Montesclaros from the staff of 2d Battalion, 19thInfantry, arrived with orders and trucks to take G Company back to a lineof hills just west of the Nam River, about four miles from Chinju. [30]

At first, Colonel Moore had thought that the Hadong fight was goingwell. Major Raibl arrived at Chinju with the first wounded in the earlyafternoon of 27 July, and reported that the 3d Battalion was fighting welland that he thought it would win the battle. But, when other survivorscame in later, the real outcome of the engagement became clear. News ofthe disaster at Hadong reached higher headquarters with unexpected andstartling impact. A message from Major Logan, 19th Infantry, to GeneralChurch that night reporting on the condition of the 3d Battalion, 19thInfantry, said, "No estimate on total number of casualties. Over 100WIA now in aid station" [31] A count the next day of the assembled3d Battalion showed there were 354 officers and men, including some walkingwounded, able for duty. When all the stragglers had come in, casualtieswere listed as 2 killed, 52 wounded, and 349 missing. An enemy soldiercaptured later said the North Koreans took approximately 100 American prisonersat Hadong. When American forces rewon the Hadong area in late Septembera search uncovered 313 American bodies, most of them along the river andin the rice paddies. [32]

The loss of key officers in the battalion was severe. It included thebattalion executive officer, the S-1 the S-2, and the Assistant S-3. Thecompany commanders of Headquarters, I, K, and M Companies were lost, Donahueof K and Capt. Hugh P. Milleson of M were killed, Makarounis of I was captured.(He escaped from the North Koreans in October near P'yongyang.) Approximatelythirty vehicles and practically all the crew-served weapons, communicationequipment, and even most of the individual weapons were lost. [33]

On 28 July, the day after Hadong, the 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, wasreorganized, all remaining personnel being grouped in K and L Companies.The next day, K Company was attached to the 2d Battalion, 19th Infantry,at Chinju, and L Company to the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, two milesto the south of Chinju. [34]

The N.K. 4th Divisions Joins the Enveloping Move

After the fall of Taejon, the N.K. 4th Division restedin the city for two days and took in 1,000 untrained replacements. On themorning of 23 July, it started south from Taejon on the Kumsan road. Itwas joining the 6th Division in an envelopment of the UnitedNations' left flank. The N.K. 6th Division moved onan outer arc around the left of the U.N. position, the N.K. 4thDivision on an inner arc. The two divisions were engaging in a co-ordinatedmovement on a theater scale. [35] (See Map III.)

At Kumsan the 4th Division received another 1,000 replacementsthat had trained only a few days. Departing Kumsan on or about 25 July,the division reportedly left behind the tank regiment that had accompaniedit ever since they had crossed the 38th Parallel together a month earlier.The tanks were to remain in Kumsan until the division had crossed the Naktong.[36]

On 28 July the first indication appeared in American intelligence estimatesthat elements of the N.K. 6th Division might have moved south.The next day the Eighth Army intelligence section conjectured that theenemy had shifted troops southward. It stated that major parts of one enemydivision probably were in the Chinju area and major elements of anotherin the Koch'ang area. While the estimate did not identify the enemy unitin the Koch'ang area, it erroneously repeated that "all elements ofthis division [the 4th] are attacking eastward along the axis Chinju-Masan."[37] Even after the Hadong battle on the 27th, Eighth Army did not knowthat these troops were from the 6th Division.

The 34th Infantry of the 24th Division, defending the Koch'ang approachto the Naktong, had a regimental strength at this time of about 1,150 men,with the 1st and 3d Battalions averaging approximately 350 men each. Itwas in position at Koch'ang on 27 July.

Koch'ang is about midway on the main road between Kumch'on and Chinjuand is strategically located near the point where two lateral east-westroads, one from Namwon and Hamyang and the other from Chinan, cross theKumch'on-Chinju road and continue eastward through Hyopch'on and Ch'ogyeto the Naktong River. Chinju is thirty-five air miles south of Koch'ang.

On 27 July, Colonel Moore sent Colonel Wilson with the 1st Battalion,19th Infantry, north from Chinju to relieve Colonel Rhea in the Anui area.Colonel Rhea was then to bring his battalion south to Chinju, where ColonelMoore planned to concentrate the 19th Infantry.

The relief took place at Umyong-ni in the early afternoon of 27 July.Wilson's battalion had no artillery, armor, or air support. A platoon of4.2 mortars had only two rounds of white phosphorous shells for ammunition.Mounted messengers traveling over thirty-five miles of road were the onlymeans of communication between Wilson and Colonel Moore's command post.[38]

In the early afternoon, Colonel Rhea guided 1st Lt. John C. Hughes with B Company, 19th Infantry, reinforcedby approximately thirty-five men and their weapons from the Heavy WeaponsCompany, from Umyong-ni to relieve A Company, 19th Infantry, at Anui. ACompany was engaged in a small arms fight and its relief could not be accomplishedat once. Colonel Rhea returned to Umyong-ni, leaving instructions thatthe company should follow him as soon as possible, which he expected wouldbe shortly. At Umyong-ni Rhea waited about five hours for A Company. Then,when reconnaissance toward Anui showed that an enemy force had cut theroad, he started just before dusk with the rest of the battalion for Chinjuas ordered. [39]

Meanwhile, Colonel Wilson had sent 2d Lt. Frank Iwanczyk, AssistantS-3, with two jeeps from Umyong-ni to make contact with the 34th Infantryat Koch'ang; 1st Lt. Sam C. Holliday, S-2, went to make contact with theROK troops at Hamyang.

Iwanczyk set off northward. At the Anui crossroads he checked his mapand then led off toward Koch'ang, waving the other jeep to follow. Becauseof the heavy dust the second jeep kept well behind the first.

A mile north of the crossroads, an enemy machine gun, hidden in a nativehut on a turn of the road, suddenly poured devastating fire into the leadjeep. The bodies of all four men fell from the wrecked vehicle into a ricefield. The second jeep stopped with a jerk and the men jumped into theditch by the road. After three or four minutes of silence, seven or eightNorth Korean soldiers started down the road. They passed the first jeepand, when nearing the second, they shouted and started to run toward it.Pvt. Sidney D. Talley stood up and fired his M1 at the North Koreans. Hekilled two of them. His three companions now joined in firing. The survivingNorth Koreans turned and ran back.

One of the Americans scrambled up the bank, turned the jeep around,the others jumped in, and the driver raced back to the Anui crossroads.There, they excitedly told members of B Company about the roadblock. Atthe battalion command post they repeated their story. [40]

By this time, Lieutenant Holliday had returned from Hamyang. There hehad found somewhat less than 600 men of the ROK 7th Division and 150 freshSouth Korean marines from Mokp'o. Holliday with three men now set off forAnui. Two and a half miles short of the town, enemy fire from a roadblockdestroyed their jeep and wounded one man in the chest. Holliday coveredthe withdrawal of his three men with BAR fire, and then followed them.

Relieved finally at Anui about 1600, A Company, 19th Infantry, loadedinto trucks and started south to join Rhea's battalion. A mile below thetown the company ran into a fire fight between North and South Korean troopsand was stopped. After enemy fire wrecked six of its vehicles, the companydestroyed the others, abandoned its heavy equipment, and started on footthrough the hills toward the 34th Infantry positions at Koch'ang. The nextmorning 64 American and 60 ROK soldiers came in to Colonel Beauchamp's positions there.Why this force did not return to Anui and join Lieutenant Hughes is notknown. [41]

Meanwhile at Anui, Lieutenant Hughes' B Company, 28th Infantry, wasunder attack from superior numbers closing in from three sides, and bynightfall it had been forced back into the town. Hughes made plans to withdrawacross the upper Nam River to a high hill east of the town. Two officersand sixteen men got across before enemy automatic fire cut off the rest.After vainly trying to help the rest of the company to break out eastward,the eighteen men went over the hills to the 34th Infantry position at Koch'ang.In Anui the cutoff troops engaged in street fighting until midnight. Thosewho escaped walked out through the hills during the next several days.Approximately half of the 215 men of B and D Companies, 29th Infantry,taking part in the Anui battle, were either killed or listed as missingin action. [42]

Colonel Wilson and the rest of the battalion at Umyong-ni meanwhileknew nothing of the fate of B Company at Anui except that enemy forceshad engaged it, and that roadblocks were above and below it. Wilson madetwo unsuccessful attempts to send help to B Company.

The enemy troops that had closed on Anui were advanced units of theN.K. 4th Division. They were well aware that a mixed forceof American and South Korean troops was only a few miles below them. Todeal with this force, elements of the division turned south from Anui earlyon 28 July.

In defensive positions about Umyong-ni and Hamyang, Colonel Wilson'smen were on the east side of the Nam River. Col. Min Ki Sik's remnantsof the ROK 7th Division and a small force of South Korean marines wereon the west side. American mortar fire turned back the small enemy forcethat approached Umyong-ni. On the west side of the river near Hamyang ahard fight developed. There, the South Koreans seemed about to lose thebattle until their reserve marines fought through to the enemy's flank.This caused the North Koreans to withdraw northward. From prisoners capturedin this battle Wilson learned of the American defeat at Anui the day before.[43]

Learning that evening that the enemy was moving around his battalionon back trails in the direction of Chinju, Colonel Wilson began, afterdark, the first of a series of withdrawals. On 30 July the battalion reachedthe vicinity of Sanch'ong, twenty miles north of Chinju, and went intodefensive positions there on orders from Colonel Moore. Colonel Min's ROKtroops also withdrew southward, passed through Wilson's positions, andcontinued on into Chinju. [44]

The N.K. 4th Division seizes the Koch'ang Approach to the Naktong

Having brushed aside the American and ROK force at Anui, in what itcalled a "small engagement," the N.K. 4th Divisionturned northeast toward Koch'ang. A patrol from the 34th Infantry on 27July had, from a distance, seen and heard the fighting in progress at Anui.Its report alerted Colonel Beauchamp to the possibility of an early attack.[45]

Colonel Beauchamp had disposed the 34th Infantry in a three-quartercircle around Koch'ang, which lay in the middle of a two-and-a-half-mile-wideoval-shaped basin in a north-south mountain valley. The 3d Battalion wason high ground astride the Anui road two miles west of the town, the 71stBattalion about the same distance east of it on the Hyopch'on road, a reinforcedplatoon of I Company at a roadblock across the Kumch'on road four milesnorth of the town, while the Heavy Mortar Company was at its northern edge.Artillery support consisted of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion,which had five 105-mm. howitzers in position two miles southeast of thetown. [46]

The 34th Infantry, not having been able to re-equip since Taejon, didnot have a regimental switchboard. There were only a few radios. The regimentwas short of mortars, bazookas, and machine guns. Some of the men did nothave complete uniforms, many had no helmets, most did not have entrenchingtools. Every man, however, did have his individual weapon.

Before dusk of 28 July, forward observers could see a long line of enemytraffic piled up behind a roadblock that the 34th Infantry had constructedat a defile on the Anui road west of the town. They directed artilleryfire on this column until darkness fell. [47] Colonel Beauchamp then broughthis two infantry battalions closer to Koch'ang for a tighter defense.

About dark, Beauchamp received orders to report to the 24th Divisioncommand post at Hyopch'on. There he told General Church of an anticipatedenemy attack and of his plan to withdraw the 3d Battalion to a previouslyselected position three miles southeast of Koch'ang. General Church didnot agree and told Beauchamp to hold the town. [48] Beauchamp thereupontelephoned his executive officer and told him to stop the withdrawal ofthe 3d Battalion. When Beauchamp returned to Koch'ang at 0300 everythingwas quiet.

In darkness an hour later (about 0400 29 July), a North Korean attackcame from two directions. One force, striking from the north, cut off ICompany. Another moved around the town on the north and then struck southwardacross the road east of Koch'ang. The 1st Battalion repulsed this attack,but then, without orders, fell back toward the secondary position threemiles east of Koch'ang. Colonel Beauchamp met the battalion on the road and stoppedit.

Before daylight the 3d Battalion, also without orders, fell back throughKoch'ang, leaving I Company isolated to the north. This battalion ran agantlet of enemy automatic and small arms fire for a mile, but in the protectingdarkness suffered few casualties. After daylight the 1st Battalion rescuedall but one platoon of I Company. The men of this platoon were either killedor captured. [49]

During the pre-dawn attack some small arms fire struck in the howitzerpositions of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, from a ridge 500yards eastward. Maj. Leon B. Cheek, the battalion executive officer, awoketo the sound of the firing. Hurrying to the road he saw the battery commander,who said the enemy had overrun the artillery. The battery executive officercame up and told Cheek that everyone had "taken off," althoughhe had ordered the men to their foxholes. When the firing began, he said,someone yelled, "Run for your life!" Two squads of infantry attachedto the artillery to provide security had joined the stampede. [50]

Cheek stopped the wild shooting in his vicinity and started toward thehowitzers. He ordered all prime movers driven back to the gun positions.Twelve men from the artillery and the drivers of the prime movers obeyed.From the infantry, a BAR man and three riflemen volunteered to go forwardto cover the artillerymen while they pulled out the howitzers. Cheek placedthese four men in firing positions and they soon almost silenced the enemy.A small enemy patrol of six or seven men apparently had caused the debacle.Cheek and the twelve artillerymen loaded the equipment and ammunition,hitched the prime movers to the guns, and, one by one, pulled the fivehowitzers to the road. They then withdrew eastward.

During 29 July the 34th Infantry Regiment withdrew eastward 15 milesto hill positions near Sanje-ri on the road to Hyopch'on. From a point3 miles south east of Koch'ang the road for the next 10 miles is virtuallya defile. The with drawing 34th Infantry and its engineer troops blew allthe bridges and at many points set off demolition charges in the cliffsoverhanging the road. The 18th Regiment of the enemy divisionpressed on after the retreating 34th Infantry. The N.K. 4th Divisionleft its artillery behind at Koch'ang because of the destroyed bridgesahead of it. In advancing to the Naktong River on the Hyopch'on road, itemployed only small arms and mortar fire. [51] It was anticipated thatthe enemy force which had captured Koch'ang would soon approach the NaktongRiver for a crossing below Taegu. This prospect created another difficultyfor Eighth Army. To meet it, General Walker told General Church he wouldsend to him the ROK 17th Regiment, one of the best South Korean units atthat time. He also shifted the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, fromthe P'ohang-dong Yongdok area on the east coast to Hyopch'on, where it took up defensivepositions back of the 34th Infantry west of the town. The ROK 17th Regiment,2,000 strong, arrived at the 34th Infantry position in the dead of nightat 0200 30 July. It went at once into positions on the high ground on eitherflank. [52]

Only after the Koch'ang action did Eighth Army finally, on 31 July,identify the enemy unit in this area as the 4th Division.This led it to conclude in turn that the enemy force in the Chinju areawas the 6th Division. Eighth Army then decided that the enemyeffort against the United Nations' left flank was in reality being carriedout by two widely separated forces: the N.K. 4th Divisionfrom the Anui-Koch'ang area, to envelop the main battle positions on EighthArmy's left flank, and the N.K. 6th Division from the Chinjuarea, to cut lines of communication in the rear, drive through Masan, andcapture the port of Pusan. [53]

Chinju Falls to the Enemy - 31 July

On 28 July, Colonel Rhea arrived at Chinju from Anui with the 1st Battalion,19th Infantry, less A Company. He passed through the town with orders totake up blocking positions ten miles south. Rhea proceeded to the vicinityof Kuho-ri, about two miles west of the Sach'on Airfield. There his battalionof only 200 riflemen went into position to block a secondary road approachto Chinju along the coast from Hadong. [54] Colonel McGrail's 2d Battalion,19th Infantry, that same morning occupied defensive positions on high groundastride the Chinju-Hadong road just west of the Nam River. Remnants ofthe 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, that had escaped from the Hadong fightand numerous ROK troops were in and around Chinju.

Aerial reconnaissance during that day and the next showed heavy enemytraffic entering Hadong from all roads and noted movement northeast onthe Chinju road. American intelligence estimated that two enemy regimentswith tanks were in the Hadong area. [55]

Before noon, 29 July, an enemy column with three motorcycles in thelead approached the 2d Battalion's advanced blocking position about sixmiles southwest of Chinju. Although there was an automatic weapon available,it did not fire on the column. The few rounds of artillery that fell wereinaccurate and ineffective. The advanced unit, F Company, then withdrewto join the main battalion position just west of the Nam River four milesfrom Chinju. An air strike on the enemy column reportedly inflicted considerabledamage, halting it temporarily. [56]

Early the next morning an enemy unit moved around the right flank (north)of the 2d Battalion and cut the road running northwest out of Chinju tothe 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry.

Captain Barszcz, from G Company's position across the Nam River west of Chinju, saw and reported at least800 enemy troops moving across his front Small arms fire did not dispersethem. He called for an aerial observer, but the observer overhead reportedhe saw no enemy. The reason was clear: the North Koreans were all wearingfoliage camouflage and they squatted quietly on the ground while the planewas overhead. Captain Barszcz directed artillery fire on the column, butafter about twenty rounds the artillery stopped firing because of ammunitionshortage. Rain and low overcasts during the day hampered efforts of aerialreconnaissance to report on enemy movements. [57]

That afternoon, 30 July, E and F Companies of the 19th Infantry fellback across the Nam River to the hills two miles west of Chinju. Just beforeevening, G Company crossed the river from its isolated position. Once onthe east side it took up a defensive position in the flat ground near theriver bank, with the mission of preventing enemy infiltration into Chinjubetween the road and the river. The hill positions of the rest of the battalionwere beyond the road to its right (north). There was no physical contactbetween G Company and these troops. [58]

The 19th Infantry faced the critical test of the defense of Chinju pitifullyunderstrength. Its unit report for 30 July gives the regiment a strengthof 1,895, with 300 men in the 1st Battalion and 290 men in the 2d BattalionColonel Moore, however, states that the strength of the 19th Infantry on30 July, including the replacements that arrived that afternoon, was 1,544The 3d Battalion, 19th Infantry, still disorganized as a result of theHadong battle, had a reported strength that day of 396 men. On 30 July,all ROK forces in the Chinju area came under Colonel Moore's command, includingthe remnants of the 7th Division, now known as Task Force Min, which duringthe day arrived at Chinju from the Hamyang area with 1,249 men. [59]

Several hundred replacements arrived at Chinju for the 19th Infantryat this time-175 on 28 July and 600 on 30 July-but it is doubtful if theycontributed much to the combat effectiveness of the regiment in the Chinjubattle. Of the 600 that arrived on 30 July, 500 went to the 19th Infantryand most of the remainder to the 13th Field Artillery Battalion. About1600 these replacements started forward from the regimental command postin Chinju for distribution by the battalions to the rifle companies thatevening. Although the rifle companies were then engaged with the enemy,Colonel Moore decided that they needed replacements at the front to helpin the fighting, and that it would be best to send them forward at oncerather than to wait for an opportunity to integrate them into the unitsduring a lull in the battle. [60]

The 1st Battalion received about 150 of the replacements just beforedark and Colonel Rhea immediately assigned them to companies. Some diedwithout ever appearing on the company rosters. The 2d Battalion receivedan approximately equal number of replacements, and they, too, reached therifle companies about dusk. Of the sixty replacements assigned to G Company,four or five became casualties before they reached the company position.Captain Barszcz had pleaded in vain with the battalion executive againstsending replacements to him in the midst of action. He believed that theynot only would be a burden to him but that many of them would be casualties.In the battle that night both fears became reality. [61]

After dark the enemy moved in for close-quarter attack. Before midnight,G Company killed several North Korean soldiers inside its perimeter. Outof communication with battalion headquarters, and with friendly artilleryfire falling near, Barszcz tried to join the other rifle companies on hisright, but he found North Koreans on the road in strength and had to movearound them. About midnight he crossed the road to the north side. Therehe and his men lay hidden in bushes for two or three hours. During thistime several enemy tanks loaded with infantry passed along the road headedin the direction of Chinju. [62]

The North Koreans directed their main attack against E and F Companiesin front of Chinju. This began about 0215, 31 July, with artillery barrages.Forty-five minutes later whistles signaled the infantry attack and enemysoldiers closed in, delivering small arms fire. The main effort was againstF Company on the hill overlooking the river. There a crisis developed about0500. [63]

Back of the F Company hill, members of the Heavy Weapons Company watchedthe battle as it developed in front of them. One of the youngsters in HCompany said, "Here comes the cavalry just like in the movies,"as a platoon of F Company came off the hill followed by North Koreans.Other members of F Company ran toward E Company's position. At least oneplatoon of the Heavy Weapons Company opened fire on the intermingled Americanand North Korean soldiers. Within a few minutes, however, this platoonwithdrew toward Chinju. At the edge of the town, Colonel McGrail met HCompany and put it in a defensive position around the battalion commandpost. The organized parts of E and F Companies also fell back on Chinjuabout daylight. [64]

While this battle was in progress, Captain Barszcz received radio ordersto move to Chinju. He took his company north over high ground and thencircled eastward. On the way he picked up stragglers and wounded men fromE, F, and H Companies, 19th Infantry, and K Company, 19th Infantry. Bydaylight his group was two or three miles northeast of Chinju. Around noon,Barszcz joined Colonel Moore and elements of the 19th Infantry east of the town. During the night, G Company had sufferedabout 40 casualties, but of this number it brought approximately 20 woundedthrough the hills with it-10 were litter cases. [65]

The 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, also had come under attack duringthe night. It held a strong defensive position below the Nam River on highground four miles south of Chinju, overlooking the Sach'on-Chinju roadnear its juncture with the road east to Masan.

Colonel Rhea and his men at dusk on 30 July could clearly see NorthKoreans out in the open going into position, but they were forbidden tofire because a ROK Marine battalion attack was scheduled to sweep acrossin front of them. But the ROK's never entered the fight there, and theenemy used this three-to-four-hour period unmolested for maneuvering againstthe 1st Battalion. [66]

That night, enemy mortars and self-propelled weapons supported effortsof the N.K. 15th Regiment to infiltrate the 1st Battalion'sposition. But it was on terrain hard to attack, and the enemy effort failed.The North Koreans in front of the 1st Battalion withdrew before dawn, apparentlyveering off to the northwest.

After daylight, 31 July, Colonel Rhea, on orders from Colonel Moore,began moving his battalion ten miles eastward on the Masan road to occupya defensive position at the Chinju pass. The 1st Battalion withdrew tothis position without enemy contact and went into defensive perimeter thereastride the road before nightfall. [67]

Within Chinju itself, Colonel Moore, shortly after daybreak, preparedto evacuate the town. By 0600 enemy small arms fire was striking in itswestern edge, and six North Korean armored vehicles, which Colonel Moorebelieved to be three tanks and three self-propelled guns, were in Chinjufiring at American targets. At 0640 Moore ordered heavy equipment withdrawnfrom the town. Fifty minutes later the 13th Field Artillery Battalion (lessA Battery) and B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, started to displaceand move eastward. Enemy mortar, machine gun, and small arms fire fellin Chinju during the withdrawal. Enemy snipers were also inside the town.[68]

By 0745, 31 July, Maj. Jack R. Emery, regimental S-4, had dispatchedeastward out of Chinju the last of five trains totaling twenty-five carsevacuating the 19th Infantry supplies. Colonel Moore and his command poststayed in Chinju until about 0800.

The withdrawal from Chinju was relatively orderly, although slow andlaborious, with refugees, animal-drawn wagons, and American and ROK footsoldiers intermingled in the streets. There was some tendency to panic,however, and Colonel Moore himself had occasion to stop some cars that started to "take off" east of Chinju.[69]

The main highway bridge over the Nam at the southern edge of Chinjuwas under enemy fire and considered unusable. In the withdrawal, therefore,the 2d Battalion followed the road north of the Nam to Uiryong, where itassembled on the evening of 31 July. The regimental command post movedeastward out of Chinju, crossed the Nam about 3 miles northeast of thetown, and then went east on the Masan road to Chiryong-ni, a small village12 air miles east of Chinju and 1 mile beyond the Much'on-ni-Masan roadfork. The artillery, accompanied by the 3d Battalion, 29th Infantry, withdrewfrom Chinju north of the Nam River, crossing to the south side at Uiryong,and went into an assembly area at Komam-ni (Saga) shortly after noon. Thereit received an airdrop message from General Church ordering it to returnto the vicinity of Chinju. During the afternoon the five 105-mm. howitzersof B Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, and the eight 155-mm. howitzersof B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, rolled west and went intoposition at the Chinju pass in support of Colonel Rhea's 1st Battalion,19th Infantry. [70]

The 19th Infantry estimated enemy strength in the Chinju area, whenthe city fell on the morning of 31 July, as 2,000 troops, with an unknownnumber of tanks and artillery pieces. American aerial strikes on Chinjuduring the day left it in flames. Late that night a Korean source senta message that 4,000 enemy troops were in Chinju setting up communicationsand weapons. [71]

A ROK Army source reported that North Koreans had secured Chinju at0900, 31 July. This may very well have been true for the main part of thetown north of the Nam River, but it was not true for that part south ofthe Nam, where 1st Lt. Samuel R. Fowler and fourteen enlisted men stillstayed by three M26 Pershing medium tanks.

Three Pershing Tanks at Chinju

One little drama was enacted in Chinju on 31 July after the 19th Infantrywithdrew from the town that should be told. It is the story of the firstthree medium tanks in Korea and their brave commander. On 28 June, thefourth day of the war, Col. Olaf P. Winningstad, Eighth Army Ordnance chief,found three M26 Pershing medium tanks at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot in badcondition and needing extensive repairs, including rebuilt engines. Therepair work began at once and was completed on 13 July. The three tankswere shipped to Pusan where they arrived on 16 July, the first Americanmedium tanks in Korea. With them were Lieutenant Fowler and fourteen enlistedcrew members. Trained to operate M24 light tanks, they were now expectedto become familiar with the Pershing tank.

The tanks gave trouble because of improper fan belts that would stretchand permit the motors to overheat. Belts made in Japan were either tooshort or too long despite emergency orders for corrections in them. [72]

Eighth Army hoped to use these tanks to help stop the North Korean drivein the southwest. It sent them by rail to Chinju where they arrived at0300, 28 July. They were unloaded at the Rail Transportation Office onthe south side of the Nam River where the rail line terminated. There theyawaited new belts. When the N.K. 6th Division entered Chinju onthe morning of 31 July, these tanks took no part in the battle.

Flatcars from Pusan to evacuate the tanks passed through Masan the morningof 31 July but never got beyond Chungam-ni, about twenty-five miles shortof Chinju. Snarled rail traffic caused by evacuation of the 19th Infantrysupplies blocked the way.

At daybreak, Lieutenant Fowler went to Colonel Moore for instructions.Moore told him that if the enemy overran the 19th Infantry positions onthe northwest side of Chinju and he could not evacuate the tanks undertheir own power, he was to destroy them and evacuate his tank crews bytruck. Lieutenant Fowler telephoned Masan and apparently learned that theflatcars had departed there for Chinju to get the tanks. He decided tostay. [73]

Gradually the firing in Chinju died down. A ROK soldier who passed therail station about noon told Fowler that only a very few ROK soldiers werestill in the town.

A little later, William R. Moore, an Associated Press correspondent,suddenly appeared and suggested to Fowler that he should check a body ofmen coming up the rail track. It was now perhaps an hour past noon. Fowlerhad an interpreter call to the approaching men. They were North Koreans.Fowler ordered his tank crews to open fire. In the fire fight that immediatelyflared between the tank .30- and .50-caliber machine guns and the enemysmall arms fire, Fowler received a bullet in his left side. In this close-rangefight the tank machine gun fire killed or wounded most of the enemy group,which was about platoon size. The tankers put Fowler into his tank andstarted the three tanks east on the road to Masan.

Two miles down the road the tanks came to a blown bridge. The men preparedto abandon the tanks and proceed on foot. They removed Fowler from histank and made a litter for him. Fowler ordered the men to destroy the tanksby dropping grenades into them. Three men started for the tanks to do this.At this moment an enemy force lying in ambush opened fire. A number ofmen got under the bridge with Fowler. MSgt. Bryant E. W. Shrader was theonly man on the tanks. He opened fire with the .50-caliber machine gun.A North Korean called out in English for the men to surrender.

Shrader left the machine gun, started the tank, and drove it close toone of the other tanks. He dropped the escape hatch and took in six men.He then drove back toward Chinju and stopped the tank a few feet shortof the bridge over the Nam, undecided whether to cross to the other side.There the overheated engine stopped and would not start again. The sevenmen abandoned the tank and ran into the bamboo thickets fringing the river. After many close calls with enemy forces Shrader and his groupfinally reached safety and passed through the lines of the 25th Divisionwest of Masan. [74]

The men back at the blown bridge had no chance. Some were killed orwounded at the first fire. Others were killed or wounded under the bridge.A few ran into nearby fields trying to escape but were killed or captured.One of those captured said later he saw several bodies floating in thestream and recognized two as Fowler and Moore. [75]

Colonel Wilson Escapes With the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry

On the morning of 31 July, the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, was atSanch'ong. It was unaware that Chinju, twenty air miles to the southeast,had fallen and that the 19th Infantry Regiment had withdrawn eastward.

The mess trucks that went to Chinju the day before from the battalionhad not returned. During the morning local villagers suddenly disappeared,a sure sign that enemy forces were approaching. Colonel Wilson drove southto Tansong, ten air miles from Chinju, where he had a roadblock. Whilehe talked with Lieutenant Griffin, who was in command of a platoon there,about 700 refugees streamed through the roadblock. All agreed that enemytroops were behind them. [76]

Colonel Wilson now decided to send the battalion's heavy vehicles outeastward before the roads were cut. His executive officer, Maj. CharlesE. Arnold, brought the vehicular convoy to Tansong and there it turnedeast over a trail through the mountains in the direction of Uiryong. Thetrail was passable only to jeeps. But by the labors of his own men andall the Koreans he could assemble, Arnold improved it to the extent thatall vehicles got through and reached Chungam-ni, except one that brokethrough an improvised bridge and was abandoned.

At 1700, Colonel Wilson and the battalion troops started withdrawingsouthward from Sanch'ong. They had marched about an hour when a liaisonplane flew over the column and dropped a message. Opening it, Colonel Wilsonwas astonished to read, "Yesterday you were ordered to report to theconcentration area of Haman. What are you doing here?" Haman was thirty-fivemiles away as the crow flies and much farther by the roads and mountaintrails.

Wilson led his battalion on down to Tansong. There, a South Korean navallieutenant detached himself from a group of refugees and came over to Wilsonwith a map. He said he had been at Chinju and that the American troopshad left there, retreating eastward. He continued, "The Reds are justseven miles behind us and will get here tonight." Wilson talked tohim at length and became convinced that his story was reliable. After consultingsome of the battalion staff, Wilson decided to leave the Chinju road andhead for Haman across the mountains.

The men discarded all personal effects. Three or four sick and injuredsoldiers rode in the few jeeps, which also carried the radios, mortars,and machine guns. The battalion late in the evening headed east over theUiryong trail. At 0200 the men reached Masang-ni, where the last north-southroad that the enemy from the Chinju area could use to cut them off intersectedthe lateral trail they were following. Once east of this crossroad point,Wilson halted the battalion and, after security guards were posted, themen lay down to rest. During their night march, many refugees had joinedthem.

At 0600 the next morning, 1 August, the battalion took up the marcheastward. It forded a stream and, half a mile beyond, the footsore mencame on a gladsome sight: Major Arnold awaited them with a convoy of thebattalion's trucks that he had led out the day before. [77]

On the last day of July the North Koreans could look back on a spectaculartriumph in their enveloping maneuver through southwest Korea. Chinju hadfallen. Their troops were ready to march on Masan and, once past that place,to drive directly on Pusan.


[1] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 33-35; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 20 Jul 50.

[2] EUSAK WD, Briefing for CG and G-3 Sec, 20 Jul 50.

[3] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K 6th Div), p. 36. The dates given in the enemy interrogations are often erroneous by one to several days, dependent as they are on human memory. They always have to be checked against U.S. records.

[4] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), p. 37.

[5] Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, pp. 86-89, Notebook, Itinerary of Guerrilla Band, 4 Jul-3 Aug 50.

[6] Telecons, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3559, 21 Jul 50, and TT 3563, 22 Jul 50.

[7] Telephone interv, author with Lt Col James C. Tarkenton, Jr. (Eighth Army G-2 in 1950), 3 Oct 52. Colonel Tarkenton said that at this time he used two L-4 planes to fly daily reconnaissance to the west coast below the Kum River. Information also came from aerial combat missions.

[8] EUSAK WD, G-g Sec, 23 Jul 50; Landrum, Notes for author, n.d., but received 8 Mar 54: New York Times, July 23, 1950; USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 15-16, 20.

[9] EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Rpt, 23 Jul 50; Interv, author with Tarkenton, 3 Oct 52.

[10] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 24 Jul 50.

[11] Interv, author with Lt Col Paul F. Smith, 1 Oct 52; Landrum, Notes for author, recd 8 Mar 54.

[12] Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52.

[13] EUSAK WD, Summ, 12-31 Jul 50; 24th Div Go 52, 23 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-4 Hist Rpt, 23 Jul-25 Aug 50, p. 16.

At one point in his career, General Church had commanded the 157th Regiment at Anzio in World War II.

[14] 24th Div WD, Jul 50, 25-26 Jul; Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entries 53, 241440 Jul 50, and 104, 251700 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 36, 24 Jul 50.

[15] EUSAK PIR 13, 25 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 25 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 81, 250215, entry 1513, 251700, and entry 1491, 250330 Jul 50; Telecon, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3567, 24 Jul 50.

[16] Ltr, Col Robert L. Rhea to author, 21 Sep 53; Moore, Notes for author, Jul 53; 24th Div WD, 25-26 Jul 50.

[17] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 24th Div WD, 26 Jul 50.

[18] Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; Raibl, 10-page typescript statement prepared for author, 19 Oct 53, on events leading up to and participation of 3d Bn, 19th Inf, in action at Hadong; Ltr, Capt James E. Townes (S-4, 3d Bn, 28th Inf, Jul 50) to author, 8 Oct 53.

[19] Raibl, Statement for author, 19 Oct 53 Interv, author with Lt Col Charles E. Arnold (Ex Off, 1st Bn, 19th Inf, Jul 50), 21 Jul 51; Capt Sam C. Holliday, Notes prepared for author, 31 Mar 53, on 1st Bn, 29th Inf, 21 Jul-4 Aug 50 (Holliday was S-2, 1st Bn, in Jul 50); Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 9 Mar 54; 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50 (3d Bn, 19th Inf, in Jul 50).

[20] EUSAK WD, POR 36, 24 Jul 50; Ibid., G-4 Sec, 24 Jul 50. [21] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; Interv, author with Maj George F. Sharra (CO L Co, 29th Inf, Jul 50), 20 Oct 53; Interv, author with Col Moore, 20 Aug 52.

[22] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, and Sharra, 20 Oct 53.

[23] Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Maj Robert M. Flynn, 5 Nov 53 (Flynn was S-3, 3d Bn, 28th Inf, in Jul 50); 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50.

[24] Raibl statement, 19 Oct 53: Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, Sharra, 20 Oct 53, and Flynn, 5 Nov 53; Interv, author with Capt Kenneth W. Hughes (who commanded the advanced mortar platoon at Hadong), 21 Jul 51. All these men saw the incident described and agree on the essentials.

[25] Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, Flynn, 5 Nov 53, and Sharra, 20 Oct 53.

[26] Interv, author with Flynn, 5 Nov 53. [27] 13th FA Bn WD, 27 Jul 50.

[28] New York Times, July 29, 1950, R. J. H. Johnston dispatch.

[29] Ltrs, Capt Michael Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert (Plat Ldr, 1st Plat, G Co, 19th Inf, in Jul 50), 31 Jul 51, in OCMH files as Chinju Action.

[30] Ltrs, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Intervs, author with McGrail and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52.

[31] 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 159, 27 Jul 50.

[32] 24th Div G-3 Jnl, entry, 1583, 272210 Jul 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 27 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50; Ltr, Townes to author, 8 Oct 53; 25th Div WD, Aug 50, 35th Inf Interrog PW's (Ko Hei Yo). Major Sharra gave the author the figure of 313 American dead.

[33] 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50.

[34] 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50.

[35] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 35-37;Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), pp. 46-47.

[36] Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47.

[37] EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Sec Rpt, 29 Jul 50.

[38] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.

[39] Ltrs, Col Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53.

[40] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.

[41] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 159, 27 Jul, and entries 217 at 281120 and 219 at 281407 Jul 50; Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entry 1570, 27 Jul, and entries 1614 and 1621, 28 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 29 Jul 50.

[42] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53, The account of B Company action at Anui is based largely on information supplied by Lieutenant Hughes in the Notes.

[43] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.

[44] Ibid. The author has been unable to find the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, records for July 1950.

[45] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.

[46] Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, entries 219, 281407, and 220, 281415; 34th Inf WD, 25 Jul 50; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; Interv author with Cheek (Ex Off, 13th FA Bn, and with A Btry at Koch'ang in Jul 50) 7 Aug 51. [47] Intervs, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52, and Cheek, 7 Aug 51; 24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, entry 220, 281415.

[48] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.

[49] 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50.

[50] Interv, author with Cheek, 7 Aug 51; Ltr, Ayres to author, 5 Jun 53(Ayres commanded the 1st Bn, at Koch'ang); 13th FA Bn WD, 29 Jul 50; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.

[51] Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50; 34th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; ATIS 34th Inf, Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 48.

[52] 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52. The 34th Infantry War Diary for 29 July says that the ROK 17th Regiment was in position that day.

[53] EUSAK WD, PIR 19, 31 Jul 50.

[54] 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; Ltrs, Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53.

[55] 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entries 1651, 290755, and 1753, 290818 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entries 247, 29100, and 260, 291145 Jul 50.

[56] Interv, author with Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div WD, 29 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50.

[57] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 30 Jul 50. Civilians in the Chinju area seemed openly hostile to American troops and friendly to the enemy. Refugees had to be watched closely. Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.

[58] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Notes, Montesclaros (Asst S-3, 2d Bn, 19th Inf) for author, n.d.; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.

[59] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 21 30 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 386, 312325 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 53, 30 Jul 50; GHQ UNC G-3 Opn Rpt, 31 Jul 50.

[60] 19th Inf WD, Narr Summ, 22 Jul-25 Aug 50; Intervs, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail 24 Oct 52.

[61] Ltr, Rhea to author, 9 Apr 53; Ltr, Barszcz to author, 21 Aug 52; Interv, Blumenson with 2d Lt Joseph Szito, 25 Aug 51, Action in Chinju, in OCMH. Szito, in July 1950, was in the Mortar Platoon, H Company, 19th Infantry.

[62] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.

[63] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; Interv, author with McGrail, 24 Oct 52; Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.

[64] Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.

[65] Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51; Moore, Notes for author, Jul 53.

[66] Ltrs, Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53, together with sketch map of 1st Bn positions, 28-31 Jul 50.

[67] Ibid.; Ltr, Maj Elliot C. Cutler, Jr., to author, 9 Mar 53. Cutler was Acting S-3, 19th Infantry, at the time.

[68] Intervs, author with Moore and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div WD, 31 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 3d Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, Aug 50; New York Times, August 1, 1950, W. H. Lawrence dispatch from southwestern front; 13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50.

[69] Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52: Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51. [70] Intervs, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail, 24 Oct 52; Ltr, Cutler to author, 9 Mar 53; 13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50.

[71] 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 10, 010255 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entry 421, 011800 Aug 50.

[72] EUSAK Inspector General Rpt (Col William 0. Perry), Three M26 Tanks at Chinju, 31 Jul 50, dated 10 Sep 50.

[73] Ibid., testimonies of Col Moore, Maj Emery, Capt Applegate (RTO Off, Masan), Pvt Harold Delmar; Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52.

[74] EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Capt John W. Coyle, Jr. (CO 8066th Mech Rec Det), 2d Lt Vincent P. Geske, Sgt Francis A. Hober, and MSgt Bryant E. W. Shrader (C Co, 88th Tk Bn), Pfc Carl Anderson; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 1, Rpt 1, p. 119, Capt Pak Tong Huk.

[75] EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Pfc Anderson.

[76] Ltr, Col Wesley C. Wilson to author, 13 Jun 53; Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.

[77] Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.

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