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Battle for the Eastern Corridor to Pusan

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)
I can only advise the party on the defensive not to divide his forcestoo much by attempting to cover every point.

Serious trouble for General Walker developed in the east during thethreatened enemy breakthrough in the Naktong Bulge. North Korean attacksin the Kigye and P'ohang-dong area became critical as the ROK divisionsthere suddenly gave way and threatened to collapse. The blow came witha suddenness that contained the element of surprise. Eighth Army, low inreserves, was ill-prepared to meet an enemy breakthrough in the east, withits main forces already fully and even desperately engaged elsewhere.

Through July and into the first week of August, there were repeatedrumors and reports of strong guerrilla groups in the mountains ten or fifteenmiles northwest of P'ohang-dong. These reports in time were treated ascasually as the repeated cry of "Wolf!" by the boy in Aesop'sfable.

The Kyongju Coridor to Pusan

Throughout the Pusan Perimeter fighting, the terrain in the P'ohang-dongarea exercised a dominant influence on the action there and on GeneralWalker's tactical plans for the defense of that part of the Perimeter.A natural corridor here led straight to Pusan. (See Map IV.)

From Taegu a lateral highway and railroad ran east to P'ohang-dong,50 air miles away. This lateral corridor is the first valley route to theeast coast of Korea south of the Seoul-Ch'orwon-P'yonggang-Wonsan corridor,225 miles to the north. Situated on this route about midway between Taeguand P'ohang-dong is Yongch'on. There, the only important north-south roadbetween Taegu and the east coast comes down from Andong and Uisong throughthe mountains to meet the lateral valley road. East of this road for adistance of 40 air miles to the coast, lies a rugged mountain area entirelydevoid of improved roads.

Twelve miles west of P'ohang-dong in the lateral Taegu corridor is thetown of An'gang-ni, and 6 miles north of it is the smaller town of Kigye.The latter is situated at a point where several trails and a poor roaddebouch southward from the mountains into a north-south valley that entersthe Taegu-P'ohang lateral corridor at An'gang-ni. This north-south valleycontinues on south past An'gang-ni to Pusan, 60 air miles away. Kyongju,an important rail and highway center in the Taegu-P'ohang-Pusan triangle, lies 12 miles southof An'gang-ni in this corridor. These terrain facts explain why the townsof Kigye, An'gang-ni, and Kyongju assumed importance in the eastern battles.

At P'ohang-dong the coastal road from the north swings inland alongthe Hyongsan-gang to a point less than 2 miles from An'gang-ni where itbends south and enters the Kyongju corridor to continue on to Pusan. Militarily,P'ohang-dong itself was of slight importance, although its port permitteda partial supply by water of the ROK and the small U.S. forces on the eastcoast. Rather, it was the eastern half of the Pusan Perimeter communicationsnet, the Taegu-Yongch'on-An'gang-ni-Kyongju-Pusan route-almost a sea-levelvalley route the entire distance-that was of critical importance. If itshould be cut by the enemy for any appreciable period of time the Taeguposition would become untenable.

The eastern part of the Perimeter was not as strongly held as otherparts of the line. General Walker did not have the troops and supportingheavy weapons to hold the front strongly everywhere. At some points hehad to take risks. Seeing that the mountains to the north in the P'ohangarea were almost a trackless waste, he thought it unlikely that the NorthKoreans could move forward heavy equipment and supplies in sufficient quantityto exploit a penetration there, should one be made, for a continuing driveon Pusan. [1]

Contrasting with the rugged terrain and the lack of a good communicationssystem in the enemy's field of operations in the east, General Walker hadthe interior valley rail and highway net over which he could rush reinforcementsto the area. He considered as another source of U.N. strength the proximityof the Yonil Airfield six miles south of P'ohang-dong, and within two tofive minutes' flying time of the critical areas, should the North Koreansreach the lateral corridor.

The North Koreans Reach Pohang-dong

On this eastern flank of the Pusan Perimeter, three North Korean divisionsand an independent regiment pressed against the ROK defenders in August1950. The 8th Division drove down the Uisong road towardYongch'on, the 12th Division plunged into the mountains southeastof Andong and headed for P'ohang-dong, the 766th IndependentRegiment left the coastal road at Yongdok and swung southwest intothe mountains toward Kigye and An'gang-ni, and the 5th Divisiondrove down the coastal road from Yongdok, with some of its infantry unitsinfiltrating through the mountains around the ROK 3d Division. [2]

The first of these divisions, the N.K. 8th Division, failedto penetrate to the Taegu-P'ohang lateral corridor. Near Uisong on 9 August,the ROK 8th Division caught part of its forces by surprise and almost annihilatedone battalion of the 3d Regiment, causing 700 casualties. The division's 2d Regiment then entered thebattle and itself suffered heavy losses, though it won back the groundpreviously lost to the ROK's.

In this fighting along the Uisong-Yongch'on road, ROK troops achievedsome success against enemy armor. ROK infantry defended an antitank minefield covering both sides of the road in a narrow valley near a bridge.Two enemy tanks approaching the bridge struck mines. Three more enemy tanksand a self-propelled 76-mm. gun approached. Before they could turn aroundon the blocked road a flight of F-51 fighter planes came over firing rocketsand dropping napalm on the six armored vehicles. All were destroyed. Thisaffair provides a good example of multiple reporting. The Far East AirForces claimed six kills; not to be outdone, the ROK engineers claimedthe same number. [3]

The enemy 8th Division was so badly hurt in this fightingthat it was unable for a week to continue the drive on Yongch'on, and thenit advanced only a few miles south of Uisong before in the face of continuingstrong ROK opposition it halted to await reinforcements. [4]

Next in line eastward, the N.K. 12th Division, now bearingthe honorary name, "The Andong Division," crossed the upper Naktongat Andong and plunged into the mountains in an effort to carry out itsorders to capture P'ohang-dong. Its fighting strength was only a fractionof what it had once been. At this time the 2d Battalion ofthe Artillery Regiment sent all its artillery pieces backto Tanyang on the upper Han River because of failure to obtain ammunitionfor them. [5]

The ROK Capital Division was supposed to establish contact with theROK 3d Division across this mountainous region. Reports were rife thatenemy groups, the largest estimated at 2,000 men, were in the mountainsinland from the coast. On 9 August, Eighth Army headquarters received areport that regular North Korean Army troops were in the "guerrillaarea" northwest of P'ohang-dong, threatening the coastal road andthe Yonil Airfield. On that day the 1st and 2d Battalions of the ROK 25thRegiment, a new unit just arrived from Taegu, attacked north from Kigyewith orders to effect a juncture with the 3d Division south of Yongdok.Two and a half miles north of Kigye, an enemy counterattack hurled theregiment back to a point two miles southeast of the town. It was now clearthat, although the ROK 3d Division held the coastal road from a point twentymiles above P'ohang-dong, there were no defenses inland in the mountainsand enemy units were operating in this area. [6] (Map II)

Map 11

Eighth Army on 10 August organized Task Force P'ohang, consisting ofthe ROK 17th and 25th Regiments, the ROK 1st Anti-Guerrilla Battalion,the ROK P'ohang Marine Battalion, and C Battery of the U.S. 18th FieldArtillery Battalion (75-mm.). The next day the ROK Army activated the 26thRegiment at Taegu and hurried it east to join Task Force P'ohang at An'gang-ni.Of these units, only the ROK 17th Regiment was battle tested. The missionof Task Force P'ohang was to attack north from the An'gang-ni-P'ohang areaand clear enemy forces from the mountains near the coast. [7]

The events around Kigye and in the mountains to the west of P'ohang-dongfrom this point on can be understood in their true light only if one knowswhat was taking place simultaneously on the east coast, only a few milesaway. To bring those events into their proper perspective it is necessarynow to review them.

A previous chapter recounted the series of bloody battles on the coastalroad between the N.K. 5th Division and the ROK 3d Divisionthrough the first days of August. The fighting seesawed around Yongdokfor two weeks, with first one side and then the other holding the town.This action. had ended with the ROK's temporarily regaining Yongdok. Butthey held it only briefly.

On 5 August the North Koreans attacked again and drove the ROK's southof the town to Hill 181. General Walker sent a personal message to ColonelEmmerich, the KMAG adviser with the ROK 3d Division, saying that the lostground must be regained. Plans were made for a counterattack the next night.During the 6th, while these plans were being readied, it was possible fromthe ROK division command post to see, through field glasses, the NorthKorean and ROK troops locked in battle at grenade range on Hill 181.

The night attack got under way at 1930 with a 15-minute air attack usingrockets, napalm, and bombs. Naval gunfire and an artillery preparationfor another fifteen minutes followed the air attack. Then at 2000 the ROK22d and 23d Regiments moved out in the infantry attack. They drove theNorth Koreans from Hill 181 and held it during the night. On the morningof 7 August the attack resumed after another naval and artillery preparation.This drove the enemy to a point just south of Yongdok. [8]

During the night attack an untoward incident occurred at the ROK 3dDivision command post. An enemy mortar barrage hit close to the commandpost and killed several soldiers. When the KMAG adviser sent to the ROKcommand post for a report on the situation his messenger brought back wordthat he could not find anyone there. An interpreter tried to find the divisioncommander, General Lee. He returned and said the general and his staffcould not be found. Upon receiving this information Colonel Emmerich andMajor Slater searched the area with flashlights and finally, with the helpof some ROK soldiers, found the general and his aide in a hillside dugout.Emmerich instructed the ROK commander to assemble his staff and returnto the command post. The next morning he requested that the division commanderbe relieved. [9]

At this time the 1st Separate Battalion and the Yongdungp'o Battalionwere inactivated and their troops absorbed into the ROK 22d and 23d Regiments.

On 7 August, also, General Walker sent a message to Colonel Emmerichtelling him that the bridge below Yong-dok at Kanggu-dong must be held. Up to this time an Engineer squad fromthe 24th Division had manned the demolitions on the 520-foot bridge thereover the Osip-ch'on. The squad was now called back to Taegu, and controlof the demolitions passed to Korean troops with directions that they wereto blow the bridge only upon instructions from Major Britton of KMAG.

Just after daylight, at 0500 on 9 August, a great explosion rocked thearea of the bridge. The commanding officer of the ROK 22d Regiment hadordered the bridge blown without securing approval from Major Britton.About 350 ROK soldiers of the regiment were still north of the Osip-ch'onwhen the bridge dropped. Many of these soldiers drowned in trying to crossthe deep estuary flowing into the Japan Sea. The ROK division chief ofstaff demanded that the regimental commander be relieved or he would courtmartial him and place him before a firing squad. The Korean Army relievedthe regimental commander at once.

The blowing of the Kanggu-dong bridge compelled the withdrawal southwardof the ROK command post to Changsa-dong on the afternoon of 9 August toescape enemy artillery fire. On 10 August N.K. 5th Divisionsoldiers infiltrated around the ROK 3d Division and cut the coastal roadbelow it at Hunghae, five miles north of P'ohang-dong. The ROK 3d Divisionwas virtually surrounded on that date. [10]

As soon as Eighth Army learned that enemy forces had cut off the ROK3d Division above P'ohang-dong, General Walker instructed Colonel Emmerichto meet him at Yonil Airfield. Emmerich radioed to the American cruiserHelena, offshore, for a helicopter to fly him to the airstrip, wherehe met General Walker, General Partridge, and Brig. Gen. Francis W. Farrell,Chief of KMAG.

General Walker instructed Emmerich to have the ROK 3d Division holdin place around Changsa-dong, twenty miles north of P'ohang-dong, and toprevent the enemy 5th Division from moving its tanks andartillery down the road to the P'ohang area. If enemy tanks and artillerygot through on the coastal road they would render Yonil Airfield untenable.Emmerich returned at once to Changsa-dong and relayed the orders to Brig.Gen. Kim Suk Won, the ROK 3d Division's new commander. The division thenwent into a perimeter defense extending along the coast from a point fourmiles north of Changsa-dong to a point seven miles south of the town. [11]

The sudden appearance of strong enemy army units near P'ohang-dong on10 August surprised many American officers, including General Walker. Hehad just asked General Farrell if the ROK troops in the east would needAmerican help to assure the defense of P'ohang-dong and Yonil Airfield.Farrell had advised Walker that the ROK troops would be able to protectthese places. This opinion reflected that prevailing at the time-that theNorth Koreans would not be able to move through the mountains in sufficient strength to make an effective attack onP'ohang-dong from the rear. [12]

After his conference with Colonel Emmerich at Yonil Airfield, GeneralWalker returned to Taegu. From there he sent an order by courier at 1735to Maj. Gen. Lawrence B. Keiser, commanding the U.S. 2d Division at Kyongsan,to move the remaining elements of the 8th Regiment from that point to YonilAirfield at once. This task force was to be commanded by Brig. Gen. JosephS. Bradley, Assistant Division Commander, 2d Division. Task Force Bradleywas to report directly to General Walker. [13]

This task force moved toward P'ohang-dong and Yonil after dark, 10 August,over the main road through Kyongju. The command group and the 3d Battalion,9th Infantry, except K Company, reached Yonil Airfield shortly before midnightand General Bradley assumed responsibility for the ground defense of theairstrip.

Ten miles north of Kyongju and at a point about a mile east of An'gang-ni,the road bent sharply right in the Hyongsan-gang valley toward P'ohang-dong,seven miles eastward. Just after making this turn the road swung aroundthe base of a steep mountain which crowded it close against the river nearthe village of Tongnam-ni. Company K and four vehicles of C Battery, 15thField Artillery Battalion, were ambushed at this point at 0120, 11 August.Enemy fire suddenly hit the driver of the leading truck and his vehicleswerved, blacking the road. Automatic weapons fire swept over the column,bringing death and destruction. The K Company convoy fell into confusion.As many men as could fled back toward Kyongju; approximately 120o membersof the company, including two officers, reached the town. [14]

Learning of the ambush, General Bradley at Yonil Airfield ordered ICompany to return to An'gang-ni, to K Company's rescue. West of P'ohang-dongit, too, was ambushed. Informed by radio of this second ambush, Bradleysent two MPG vehicles, with their heavy armament of four .50-caliber machineguns each, to the scene. All but about twenty-five men of I Company gotback to the airfield during the day. [15]

Aerial View of P'ohang-dong

At the K Company ambush casualties were greater. By afternoon, 7 deadand at least 4o wounded were reported. About 25 members of C Battery, 15thField Artillery Battalion, were also lost in this ambush.

The enemy soldiers who had cut the road west of P'ohang-dong the nightof 10-11 August and staged these ambushes apparently were from the 766thIndependent Regiment. This regiment, leaving the 5thDivision in the vicinity of Yongdok, had come in behind P'ohang-dongby way of mountain trails.

In the early afternoon, 11 August, General Walker ordered the Tank Company,9th Infantry, which had stopped at Kyongju to wait upon repair of a damagedbridge, to proceed to the Yonil Airfield. He also ordered the ROK 17thRegiment released from Task Force P'ohang and to proceed from An'gang-nito the airstrip. [16]

Aerial reconnaissance showed the K Company ambush site was still heldby enemy troops. Well aware of this, Captain Darrigo, KMAG adviser withthe ROK 17th Regiment at An'gang-ni, volunteered to lead an armored patrolthrough to P'ohang-dong and Yonil. Darrigo rode the first of five tanks.Four F-51 fighter planes took off from Yonil Airfield and delivered a strikeon the enemy positions at the ambush site just as the tanks arrived there.This air strike flushed enemy troops from concealment at just the rightmoment. Tank machine gun fire killed many of them; in one group about seventyNorth Koreans were caught in the open.

This tank column arrived at Yonil Airfield about 2030, 11 August, andwere the first tanks to reach the airstrip. They were immediately placedin the perimeter defense. Darrigo was the same officer who had escapedfrom Kaesong at dawn, 25 June, when the North Koreans began their attack across the38th Parallel. One who saw this courageous 30-year-old soldier when hearrived at Yonil said he looked to be fifty. [17]

While these events were taking place behind and to the east of it, TaskForce P'ohang attacked north from the An'gang-ni area the morning of 11August. (Map 12) It came to grief almost at once. At oneplace the enemy annihilated two companies of the ROK 25th Regiment. Thetask force, and also the ROK Capital Division, lost ground. The day wasblazing hot. Great dust clouds hung over the roads. Fighter planes shuttledconstantly from Yonil Airfield to the numerous nearby points where enemytroops were active, trying to stabilize the situation. One pilot, speakingof that day, said, "I barely had my wheels up before I started mystrafing runs." But it was not all one-sided for the fighter planes.The day before, enemy small arms and machine gun fire had shot down fourof them. By evening of 11 August, North Korean patrols reportedly wereoperating three miles south of P'ohang-dong. Eighth Army during the dayordered the ROK forces in the east to fall back to new positions duringthe nights of 12 and 13 August. [18]

The main enemy force encountered by Task Force P'ohang on 11 Augustseems to have been advance elements of the 12th Division.This division had now crossed the mountains from Andong and was debouchingat Kigye into the valley west of P'ohang-dong. There, in a series of battles,fought by the North Koreans almost entirely with automatic weapons andsmall arms, the 12th Division drove back the ROK CapitalDivision and Task Force P'ohang. In this series of action the 12thlost about 800 casualties, according to prisoner reports. [19]

That night, 11 August, the fighter planes at Yonil flew to another airfieldfor security, but returned the next day. From hills to the south and southwestof the airstrip enemy troops delivered long-range, ineffective fire againstit. Even though this fire did no damage, it created a state of alarm. Thenext day, 12 August, 28-year-old Colonel Kim Hi Chun, acting on GeneralWalker's orders, in a successful attack eastward from An'gang-ni, led hisROK 17th Regiment into Yonil, greatly to the relief of everyone there.

Map 12

Enemy forces first entered P'ohang-dong on 10 or 11 August. ROK sourcesreported on the 11th that an estimated 300 enemy soldiers from the 766thIndependent Regiment and the 5th Division hadentered the town and seized the railroad station. But they did not remainthere more than a few hours. Naval gunfire and aerial strikes drove themout to seek comparative safety in the nearby hills. The town of P'ohang-dongnow became a no man's land. Patrols from ROK and North Korean units enteredthe town at night but neither side held it. The battle swirled around it on the adjacent hills. [20]

The Air Force Abandons Yonil Airfield

Some United States ground and air service troops had been at Yonil Airfieldbefore the 40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (35th Group) moved there on16 July from Ashiya, Japan. On 7 August, the 39th Squadron moved to thefield, and the next day the 6131st Fighter Wing was formed at the P'ohangbase. But, even as these expanding air activities at Yonil were takingplace, another and opposite current of events began. On 8 August, aviationengineers there received orders to evacuate their heavy equipment. In thenext few days, as the North Koreans occupied the hills around P'ohang-dongand west and southwest of Yonil Airfield, FEAF officials became alarmedfor the safety of their aircraft. They feared that enemy troops would beable to bring up mortars and artillery to bombard the strip, and that enemyinfantry might overrun it. [21]

Even though U.S. infantry units and tanks were at Yonil on 13 August,FEAF on that day decided to abandon the field. The order came about noon.Not a single crater dented the runway as the F-51's took to the air tofly away. It appears that Colonel Witty, commanding the Air Force unitsat Yonil, recommended the evacuation of the field and was supported byGeneral Partridge, commander of the Fifth Air Force. Army officials hadno part in the decision to abandon the Yonil field. Army units remainedat the field and it never was brought under effective enemy fire. [22]

The first news of the Fifth Air Force evacuation of Yonil Airfield cameto General MacArthur's headquarters about 1600 that afternoon, 13 August,in the form of a United Press report, filed at 1320. This news report statedthat an "Air Force spokesman announced that the Air Force was evacuatingP'ohang air strip" because North Koreans were placing machine gunand mortar fire on the strip. A telephone call to Eighth Army headquartersat once disclosed that there was no mortar fire on the airstrip and thatthe report of enemy fire on the field was greatly exaggerated. It did,however, confirm that the Fifth Air Force Advance Headquarters had orderedthe planes to leave the field.

General MacArthur and General Almond, his Chief of Staff, were "muchupset" by the evacuation of Yonil Airfield. MacArthur instructed oneof his staff officers to inform FEAF that he intended to hold the airfieldand did not want the planes to return to Japan. Nevertheless, the two squadronsof F-51's (forty-five aircraft) moved from Yonil to Tsuiki Air Base onKyushu. [23]

The heavy equipment at Yonil was taken to the beach and loaded on LST's. The bomb supply followed, andfinally Fifth Air Force personnel at the base embarked on LST's and leftthe next day, 14 August. A considerable supply of aviation gasoline andpetroleum products remained at Yonil. Occasionally after 13 August a crippledfighter plane came down at Yonil in an emergency landing, and many fightersrefueled there as long as the fuel lasted. [24]

The ROK 3d Division Evacuated by Sea

While the battles for P'ohang-dong and the entrance to the Kyongju corridorwere being fought behind it, the ROK 3d Division-cut off by the N.K. 5thDivision above P'ohang-dong since 10 August-was fighting to saveitself from destruction. Well aware that it had isolated the ROK division,the N.K. 5th Division now strove to destroy it. Constantenemy attacks compelled the ROK division to reduce the extent of its perimeter.The division command post moved four miles farther south from Changsa-dongto the water's edge at Toksong-ni, where KMAG advisers thought LST's couldland. The principal fire support for the shrinking ROK perimeter came fromthe cruiser USS Helena and three destroyers offshore, and from theFifth Air Force. A tactical air control party and artillery observers directedair strikes and naval gunfire at critical points on the perimeter. Twohelicopters from the Helena brought medical supplies for the Koreanwounded. [25]

On 13 August the ROK's carried 313 of their wounded on board a supplyLST at Changsa-dong. Later in the day at Toksong-ni, this LST struck rocksand opened a hole in its hull. All the wounded had to be transferred toanother LST over a walkway in a heavy running sea. Dukw's (amphibious trucks)took 86 of the more critically wounded ROK's to a Korean hospital shipwhich arrived and anchored 500 yards offshore. The LST then sailed forPusan.

The steadily deteriorating situation in the vicinity of P'ohang-dongcaused Eighth Army on 15 August to order the ROK 3d Division evacuatedby sea. The division was to land at Kuryongp'o-ri, twenty air miles southwardon the cape at the south side of Yongil Bay. It was then to relieve elementsof the Capital Division in the line below P'ohang-dong and join in a plannedco-ordinated attack northward. [26]

Evacuation of the ROK 3d Division by LST began the night of 16 Augustat Toksong-ni. The division completed loading the next morning, including125 wounded in the perimeter, and the last LST pulled away from the beachat 0700. The division at this time consisted of the 22d and 23d Regimentsand 1,200 attached National Police. More than 9,000 men of the division,the 1,200 National Police, and 1,000 laborers, together with all theirweapons, ammunition and equipment, escaped to the waiting vessels undercover of darkness and naval gunfire. After daylight of the 17th the FifthAir Force helped maintain a curtain of fire around the beach. The Helenaand several destroyers escorted the evacuation LST's to Kuryongp'o-ri wherethey arrived at 1030. The division unloaded at once, and received ordersto move the next day into battle positions south of P'ohang-dong. [27]

The North Koreans Turned Back From the Kyongju Corridor

While it seems clear that enemy patrols and miscellaneous groups ofsoldiers had entered P'ohang-dong as early as 10-11 August, it was notuntil the 13th that the North Korean communiqué claimed its completeliberation. Large elements of the N.K. 12th Division, advancingfrom the direction of Kigye, entered the town on that day. But, like othersbefore them, they did not remain long. An officer of the enemy division,when captured later, said the 1st Regiment withdrew fromP'ohang-dong after three hours because of an intense naval bombardmentand severe air strikes. The 12th Division then took up positionson the hills west and southwest of the town. The 2d and 3dBattalions of the 2d Regiment occupied the hills six milessouthwest of P'ohang-dong and threatened the Yonil Airfield. Elements ofthe N.K. 5th Division meanwhile had reached the hills justnorth of P'ohang-dong. [28]

By 14 August the Capital Division, on Eighth Army order, had moved abouttwenty-five miles, from near Andong to the An'gang-ni-Kigye area, whereit went into the line east of the ROK 8th Division. The ROK I Corps nowestablished its headquarters at Yongch'on.

The fighting in the vicinity of P'ohang-dong between North and SouthKoreans became a dog-eat-dog affair. Both sides lost heavily. The ROK'srenewed their attack on 13 August when the 17th Regiment, reverting tocontrol of the Capital Division, drove forward, supported by U.S. artilleryand tanks from Task Force Bradley, to the hills north of P'ohang-dong.

Task Force P'ohang attacked northward from An'gang-ni toward Kigye.In the fighting from 15 to 17 August, the Capital Division and Task ForceP'ohang pushed the North Koreans back north of the Taegu-P'ohang lateralroad and away from the Kyongju corridor in the neighborhood of An'gang-ni.

About daylight, 17 August, the 2d Battalion, 23d Regiment, 2d Division,arrived at Kyongju to buttress the defense there. [29]

In the midst of this seesaw battle in the east-which also was the periodof the successful enemy crossing of the Naktong River into the zone of the U.S. 24th Division at the bulge-PremierKim Il Sung of North Korean broadcast from P'yongyang an order callingon his army to drive the United States and ROK forces from Korea by theend of the month. He correctly predicted that the longer they remainedthe stronger they would become. He exhorted his Communist troops to "destroythe South Korean and United States [troops] to the last man." [30]

The fortunes of war in the east at last seemed to be veering in favorof the South Koreans. By nightfall of 17 August, ROK attacks in the vicinityof An'gang-ni threatened to surround the 766th IndependentRegiment, and it withdrew to the mountains north of Kigye. Battlingconstantly with ROK troops and suffering severely from naval gunfire andaerial strikes, the N.K. 12th Division that night began towithdraw from the hills around P'ohang-dong. At 2000, 17 August, the 12thDivision ordered all its units to withdraw through Kigye northwardto the Top'yong-dong area. The division suffered heavy casualties in thiswithdrawal. The next day it ordered all its units to assemble on Pihak-sanon 19 August for reorganization. [31]

On Pihak-san, a 2,400-foot rugged peak six miles due north of Kigye,the 12th Division reorganized. In this reorganization, the766th Independent Regiment lost its identity, itstroops being distributed among the three regiments of the 12th Division.After incorporating 2,000 replacements and the approximately 1,500 menof the 766th Independent Regiment, the division reportedlytotaled about 5,000 men. This figure shows the severe casualties sufferedthus far in the war by this division, originally composed mostly of CCFveterans. Though morale was low there was little desertion. [32]

In these battles attending the withdrawal of the North Koreans fromthe vicinity of P'ohang-dong, the ROK Capital Division by '9 August hadadvanced to a point two miles north of Kigye, the 3d Division entered P'ohang-dong,and Task Force Min reached a point a mile and a half north of the town.The next day the 3d Division relieved Task Force Min and attacked to selectedpositions five and a half miles north of P'ohang-dong. The Capital Divisionalso made additional gains north of Kigye. That day, 20 August, EighthArmy by radio order dissolved Task Force Bradley and redesignated the forceat Yonil Airfield the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry, Reinforced. This sameday, with the emergency in the east temporarily ended, Task Force P'ohangwas dissolved, and Task Force Min moved west to a position between theROK 1st and 6th Divisions. [33]

A ROK Army dispatch on 2d August claimed that its forces in the P'ohangarea from 17 August on had killed 3,800 and captured 181 North Koreans.It also claimed the capture of 20 artillery pieces, 11 light mortars, 2182-mm. mortars, 160 machine guns, 557 U.S. M1 rifles and 381 Japanese rifles.[34]

Since about the end of July, the greater part of the N.K. 12thDivision had been armed with the U.S. M1 rifle and the U.S. carbine.There was an adequate supply of ammunition for these weapons, but not alwaysavailable at the front. The Japanese 99 rifles and ammunition with whichthe division was originally armed were turned in to the division supplydump at the end of July, when the supply of American arms captured fromROK units enabled the division to substitute them.

Not the least important of the factors that brought about the defeatof the North Koreans at P'ohang-dong and in the Kigye area in mid-Augustwas the near exhaustion of the 12th Division after its passagethrough the mountains south of Andong, and its lack of artillery and foodsupply. One captured officer of the division said his unit received nofood after 12 August, and for five days thereafter up to the time of hiscapture had only eaten what the men could forage at night in the villages.His men, he said, became physically so exhausted that they were no longercombat effective. A captured sergeant of the 2d Battalion,1st Regiment, said that of 630 men in his battalion only20 survived on 18 August. In the 2d Regiment, according toa captured captain, no battalion averaged more than 250 men on 17 August.He said there was no resupply of ammunition from the rear. [35]

When the N.K. 12th Division reached P'ohang-dong it waslike a rubber band stretched to its uttermost limit. It must either breakor rebound. The North Korean system of logistics simply could not supplythese troops in the Kigye-P'ohang-dong area.


[1] Interv, author with Lt Col Paul F. Smith (G-3 Opns, 8th Army), 2 Oct 52: Interv, author with Lt Col Robert G. Ferguson (G-2 Sec, 8th Army), 2 Oct 52; Ltr with comments, Landrum to author, recd 28 Jun 54.

[2] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (N.K. 8th Div), pp. 23-24; Ibid., Issue 99 (N. K. 12th Div), p. 46; Ibid., Issue 96 (N.K. 5th Div), p. 43.

[3] Crawford, Notes on Korea, 25 Jun-5 Dec 1950.

[4] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (N.K. 8th Div), p. 24: EUSAK WD, 12 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 507, Sr Col Han Ch'ong, CofS 8th Div, and interrog of Sr Sgt Yung Pyong Yong.

[5] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 106 (N.K. Arty), p. 70. [6] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 8-9 Aug 50; Ibid., POR 47, 10 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 46, 9 Aug 50.

[7] EUSAK WD, Summ, 10-11 Aug 50, pp. 27-30; Ibid., G-2 Daily Sitrep, 9 Aug 50. and Br for CG, 10 Aug 50; Ibid., POR 89, 11 Aug 50.

[8] Emmerich, MS review comments, 30 Nov 57.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.; Maj. Perry Austin and Capt. Mario Paglieri (KMAG advisers with ROK 3d Div), It Can Be Done: A Lesson in Tactics, MS, copy in OCMH.

[11] Paglieri, Notes on ROK 3d Division, August 1950, MS, copy in OCMH; Interv, author with Emmerich, 4 Dec 51; Karig, et al., Battle Report: The War in Korea, p. 147.

[12] Interv, author with Farrell, 31 Dec 52 New York Times, August 14, 1950, dispatch by W. H. Lawrence.

[13] As finally constituted, Task Force Bradley comprised the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry; Tank Company, 9th Infantry; A Company, 2d Engineer Combat Battalion; A Battery, 82d Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion; C Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion; 3d Platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 8th Infantry; and medical and signal detachments. EUSAK WD, 10 Aug 50, Msg at 101735, CG EUSAK to CG 2d Div; Ibid., POR 87, 10 Aug 50; Ibid., Briefing for CG, 10 Aug 50; 1st Lt Robert J. Teitelbaum, Debriefing Rpt 47, Arty School, Ft. Sill, Okla., 14 Dec 51; 82d AAA Bn WD, Summ, Aug 50; Ltr, Lt Col D. M. McMains to author, 27 May 53 (McMains commanded the 3d Bn, 9th Inf of TF Bradley); Rpt, The Korean Campaign, Arty School Rep, Army Field Forces Observer Team 2.

[14] EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, Msgs 110120 and 110355 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 12 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 48, 11 Aug 50; Interv, author with Farrell, 31 Dec 52; Ltr, McMains to author, 27 May 53; Rpt, The Korean Campaign, Arty School Rep, AFF Observer Team 2.

[15] EUSAK WD G-3 Jnl, Msg 1335, 11 Aug 50; Davis, The 2d Infantry Division in Korea, July-September 1950.

[16] Davis, The 2d Infantry Division in Korea July-September 1950; Rpt, The Korean Campaign, Arty School Rep, AFF Observer Team 2; EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, Msgs 1331 and 1700, 11 Aug 50.

[17] Interv, author with Capt Darrigo, 5 Aug 53; Darrigo, Korean Experiences, 1950, MS, copy in OCMH; New York Times, August 13, 1950, dispatch by W. H. Lawrence 12 August from Yonil Airfield: Newsweek, August 21, 1950, pp. 16-18, article by Harold Lavine in Korea.

[18] EUSAK WD, Summ, 11 Aug 50; GHQ FEC Opn Rpt 49, 18 Aug 50; New York Times, August 11, 1950, Lawrence dispatch.

[19] ATIS Interrog Rpt 722, Issue 2, p. 51, Jr Lt Tu Chul Ki; ATIS Interrog Rpt 734, Issue R, p. 80, Capt Kim Tong II, Trans Co, 2d Regt, 12th Div.

[20] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 106 (N.K. Arty), p. 46; EUSAK WD, 30 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 867; Ibid., POR 90, 11 Aug 50.

[21] USAF Hist Study 71, p. 50.

[22] Ibid.; Ltr, McMains to author, 27 May 53; New York Times, August 14, 1950, dispatch by W. H. Lawrence.

[23] Transcript of telephone conversation between Gen. Roderick R. Allen, Deputy CofS ROK Army, and Collier, at 1600, 13 Aug 50, CofS files, FEC; Fonecon, Allen and Lt. Gen. Lawrence C. Craigie, Vice Comdr, FEAF, at 1930, 13 Aug 50, CofS files, FEC; Memo, Capt Webster W. Plourd. ROK Air Liaison Secy to Allen, 131645 Aug 50, CofS files, FEC.

[24] USAF Hist Study 71, p. 50; Ltr, McMains to author, 27 May 53. Colonel McMains stayed at Yonil with the 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry, until 14 September 1950, when the ROK 3d Division assumed responsibility for defense of the airstrip.

[25] Paglieri, Notes on ROK 3d Div, Aug 50; Austin and Paglieri, It Can Be Done, p. 4.

[26] Ibid.; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 15 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 53, 16 Aug 50; Interv, author with Emmerich, 5 Dec 51.

[27] Paglieri, Notes on ROK 3d Div, Aug 50; Austin and Paglieri, It Can Be Done, pp. 9-10; EUSAK WD G-3 Sec, 16-17 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 54, 17 Aug 50; New York Herald Tribune, August 17, 1950.

[28] EUSAK WD, 21 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 721, Lt. Pak Kwang Hon; Ibid., 22 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 734, Capt Kim Tong Il (2d Regt, 12th Div), and related interrog of Kim in ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, Rpt 734, p. 80, Rpt 723, p. 55, Sgt Im Chang Nam; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 12th Div), p. 46; New York Times, August 14, 1950.

[29] Interv, author with Farrell, 31 Dec 52; EUSAK WD, 13 Aug 50; Ibid., Summ, 1-31 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 50, 13 Aug 50.

[30] New York Times, August 15, 1950, P'yongyang broadcast monitored in Tokyo.

[31] Capt Kim Tong Il (see n. 28): ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 12th Div), pp. 46-47; 23d Inf WD, 17 Aug 50.

[32] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 17th Div), pp. 46-47; EUSAK WD, 30 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 869, Lee Son Chol; Ibid., 734, Kim Tong Il; ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, p. 11, Rpt 704, Jr Lt Kim Dok Yong, 2d Regt, 12th Div, Rpt 722, p. 51, Jr Lt Tu Chul Ko, 1st Regt, 12th Div, and Rpt 724, p. 58, Lt Chang Chin Sop, 1st Regt, 12th Div.

[33] EUSAK WD, 20 Aug 50; Ibid., Aug 50 Summ, 19-20 Aug; Ibid., G-3 Sec, entry 9, 20 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 20 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 58, 21 Aug 50.

[34] New York Times, August 21, 1950.

[35] EUSAK WD, 22 Aug 50, ATIS Interrog Rpt 721, Lt Pak Kwang Hon, Rpt 722, Jr Lt Tu Chul Ki, Rpt 723 Im Chang Nam, Rpt 727, p. 64, Sr Sgt Choe Chol Hak, and Rpt 734, Kim Tong Il: ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, p. 51, Jr Lt Tu Chul Ki.

A survey of 825 North Korean prisoners revealed that they listed shortage of food as most important of all factors causing low morale. See USAF Hist Study 71, p. 52.

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