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The Chinese Intervene

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)
O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible,through you inaudible; and hence hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
SUN TZU, The Art of War

The Far East Command near the end of October changed its policy withrespect to Koreans attached to United States Army units, authorizing astrength of only twenty-five Koreans to an American infantry company orunit of similar size, instead of the 100 per company previously authorized.The resulting release of several thousand Korean soldiers who had beenassigned to U.S. Army divisions since August made possible the activationof a new ROK division. On 25 October the ROK Army activated the 8th Division,composed of the 28th, 29th, and 30th Regiments, of two battalions each.On 30 October, three battalions of the 1st Anti-Guerrilla Group becamethe third battalion of each of these regiments. By 7 November, 8,272 Koreansoldiers had been released and turned back to the ROK Army and severalthousand more were on the point of being released. On that day the ROKArmy reactivated in Seoul the 2d Infantry Division which had been shatteredin the early days of the war. This division at first had only two regiments,the 17th and the 31st, but on 13 November the 2d Regiment was activatedat Seoul as the division's third regiment. [1]

Other new military forces began making their appearance in Korea atthis time, just when it began to look as if they would not be needed. Thescheduled arrival of several United Nations troop organizations in Koreamade necessary arrangements to equip and train them so that they couldbecome effective parts of the Eighth Army command. In an attempt to accomplishthis, General Walker on 8 October ordered the 2d Logistical Command toestablish a United Nations Reception Center (UNRC) at Taegu Universityas soon as EUSAK moved from it. Its mission was "to clothe, equip,and provide familiarization training with U.S. Army weapons and equipmentto U.N. troops as determined essential for operations in Korea by the ReceptionCenter Commander." Not more than 6,200 troops were expected to bein training at the center at any one time. The first unit to make use of it was the 1st Turkish Armed Forces Command which arrivedthere on 18 October. [2]

The first of the new forces to arrive in Korea was the Thailand Battalionwhose advance party arrived at Pusan on 3 October; the main party arrivedmore than a month later on 7 November. Following closely after the Thailandadvance party came the advance party of the Turkish Brigade which arrivedat Pusan on 12 October. The main body of the brigade (5,190 troops) arrivedat Pusan five days later and began unloading on the 18th. The Turkish troopswere fully equipped except for certain weapons. On 24 October, the advanceparties of the Netherlands Battalion and the British 28th Brigade arrivedin Korea. In Canada a special force of 10,000 men had volunteered and trainedfor combat service in Korea, and on 7 November an advance party of 345of them arrived at Pusan to prepare the way for the main body. But withthe war seemingly near an end, only a battalion followed; the main bodywas held in Canada. [3]

It should be emphasized that at this time when Eighth Army was makingready to continue the pursuit north of the Ch'ongch'on River, its logisticalsituation was not good. The breakdown of rail transportation in October,coincident with Eighth Army's rapid advance northward, caused an extraordinarilyheavy burden to fall on truck transport operating over bad roads with longhauls from ports and railheads. At the end of October the 24th Divisionrailhead was still at Yongdungp'o on the south side of the Han River, whilethe division service elements were in the vicinity of Pakch'on, 205 milesfarther north. The longer the trucks ran over the rough Korean roads, thegreater grew the number that became inoperable. It was a type of logisticalsupport that promised soon to wear itself to destruction since the spareparts needed for repairs were not available.

During September, October, and on into November, 76 percent of EighthArmy's trucks operated on a 24-hour basis. In order to supply I Corps northof the 38th Parallel, Eighth Army had to take away from the 2d and 25thDivisions large numbers of their trucks, thereby virtually immobilizingthese divisions. The 2d Division at one time furnished 320 trucks thatwere organized into a Red Ball Express to supply I Corps from the Han River.The need for trucks was so critical, and normal methods of delivering themto the tactical units so uncertain, that divisions and corps sent men backto Pusan by air and rail to drive the trucks 400 miles north over atrociousroads to the fronts. [4]

As soon as P'yongyang fell to Eighth Army an airlift of supplies tothe airfield there got under way from Ashiya Air Base in Japan and fromKimpo Airfield near Seoul. The Kimpo airlift sought to attain a goal oftransporting 1,000 tons daily to P'yongyang or northward. A large part of this airlift at the end of October carried ammunition.On 28 October, for instance, cargo planes carried 1,037 tons of ammunitionfrom Kimpo to P'yongyang, and, as early as 31 October, planes carried ammunitionto the hastily repaired fighter strip near Sinanju for the ROK units fightingalong and above the Ch'ongch'on. [5]

American Optimism at End of October

Offsetting the bad logistical situation at the end of October was thegeneral belief among U.S. commanders that the war in Korea was all butended. Viewed in this light, the situation looked so favorable that theDepartment of the Army and the Commander in Chief, Far East, made plansfor the redeployment of Eighth Army units, including the return of the2d Infantry Division to the United States or to Europe, and of other organizationslater. On 25 October the Department of the Army notified General MacArthurthat it planned to cancel shipment of enlisted reserve corps troops tothe Far East scheduled for October and November, except 17,000 noncommissionedofficers. All this was in accordance with general agreements reached atthe Wake Island Conference earlier in the month. [6]

Even in Korea this cutback fever had taken hold. On 22 October GeneralWalker requested authority from General MacArthur to divert to Japan allbulk-loaded ammunition ships arriving thenceforth in Korea from the UnitedStates, as he felt there was enough ammunition in Korea to satisfy futureneeds. MacArthur approved this request, and he also took steps to havesix ammunition ships, en route to the Far East carrying 105-mm. and 155-mm.shells and Air Force bombs, diverted to Hawaii or returned to the UnitedStates. And General Weible, Commanding General, Japan Logistical Command,requested the Commanding General, San Francisco Port of Embarkation, tocancel all outstanding requisitions for ground ammunition and to unloadany ships still in port. [7]

Morale was high in the U.N. forces as they crossed the Ch'ongch'on andset out on what most of them though would be the last, brief phase of thewar. In the 1st Cavalry Division many men thought they would parade onthe Plaza in Tokyo wearing yellow cavalry scarves on Thanksgiving Day.The division even started turning in its equipment in expectation of beingthe first organization to return to Japan. Others throughout the army threwaway handbills listing prices of gifts available at post exchanges, sayingthey were going to do their Christmas shopping in Japan.

In the United States the New York Times probably expressed theprevailing opinion there at this stage of the war when it stated editorially,"Except for unexpected developments along the frontiers of the peninsula,we can now be easy in our minds as to the military outcome." [8]

Looking ahead to the task of rehabilitating the people of the Republicof Korea, General MacArthur took steps to establish a Civil AssistanceCommand in Eighth Army. On 30 October General Walker activated this commandwith an authorized staff of 161 officers and 117 enlisted men, to becomeeffective 1 November. [9]

Until 17 October General MacArthur's orders, based on the Joint Chiefsof Staff directive of 27 September, had restrained U.N. ground forces otherthan ROK troops from operating north of a line extending from Ch'ongjuon the west through Kunu-ri and Yongwon to Hamhung on the east coast. On17 October General MacArthur, in his UNC Operations Order 4, lifted thisrestriction and advanced northward the line below which all U.N. groundforces could operate. This new line, confirmed in a message to all commanderson 19 October, extended generally from Sonch'on through Koin-dong-P'yongwon-P'ungsanto Songjin on the east coast. (Map 21.) It wasgenerally thirty to forty miles south of the Manchurian border across thegreater part of the peninsula, and was within the spirit and meaning ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff directive of 27 September, which was still ineffect. In the policy laid down in this directive only ROK forces wereto be used in the provinces of Korea bordering on the Yalu River. [10]

But on 24 October, as the leading U.N. forces crossed the Ch'ongch'onRiver, General MacArthur issued an order to his ground commanders in Koreawhich changed all earlier orders drastically. He now removed all restrictionson the use of U.N. ground forces south of the border, and instructed hiscommanders to press forward to the northern limits of Korea, utilizingall their forces. [11] Thus, when Eighth Army began what it thought wouldbe the last series of maneuvers to end the war it did so under orders radicallydifferent from those that had so far guided its operations in Korea.

The day it was issued, this order brought a message from the Joint Chiefsof Staff to MacArthur stating that it was not in accord with the directiveof 27 September and asking for an explanation. General MacArthur's replythe next day justified lifting the restriction as a matter of militarynecessity. He said that the ROK forces could not handle the situation bythemselves, that he felt he had enough latitude under existing directivesto issue the order, and that, furthermore, the whole subject had been coveredin the Wake Island Conference. [12]

While it is clear that the Joint Chiefs of Staff felt that MacArthurhad violated their basic 27 September directive, they did not countermandhis orders to go to the Yalu. When the 27th British Commonwealth Brigadecrossed the Ch'ong-ch'on, that unit, the U.S. 24th Infantry Division which followed, andall the other U.N. troops deployed in Korea, were authorized to go to theYalu River-to the extreme northern limits of the country.

General Walker on 25 October was quoted as saying, "Everythingis going just fine." [13] And so it was-just then.

Continuation of the Pursuit

The Ch'ongch'on River and its tributaries, the Kuryong and TaeryongRivers, all flowing from the north, together form the last major waterbarrier in the western part of North Korea short of the border. The Ch'ongch'onvalley is a wide one for Korea, varying in width from 3 to 20 miles. TheCh'ongch'on, like the Yalu, flows from the northeast to the southwest andit generally parallels the Yalu at a distance of approximately 65 air miles.The Ch'ongch'on River, the principal terrain feature in the field of operationsfor Eighth Army during late October and November 1950, largely dictatedthe army's deployment and tactical maneuvers.

The main P'yongyang highway crosses the Ch'ongch'on at Sinanju and runswest and northwest in the coastal area to Sinuiju at the North Korean border.Inland from the west coast, mountainous spines run down from the Yalu tothe valley of the Ch'ongch'on and the terrain becomes ever rougher andmore forbidding. These mountains reach their greatest heights and becomealmost trackless wastes in central Korea between the Changjin (Chosin)14 Reservoir and the Yalu. The Yalu itself, save for its lower west coastreaches, runs through a gorgelike channel rimmed by high mountains on bothsides. The great Suiho hydroelectric dam on the middle Yalu impounds areservoir of the same name that extends upstream for sixty air miles, pushingwater into hundreds of little lateral fjord-like mountain valleys.

Above the reservoir there is a major crossing of the Yalu at Manp'ojin.Twenty air miles southeast of Manp'ojin, situated in the very heart ofthe mountain fastness, is Kanggye. There the North Korean governmentalofficials and high military commanders assembled. From there, if necessary,they could retreat across the Yalu at Manp'ojin to the sanctuary of Manchuria.

From the valley of the Ch'ongch'on the principal road to Kanggye andManp'ojin ran northeast from the Sinanju-Aniu-Kunu-ri area through Huich'on.A railroad followed the same passageway. From the lower valley of the Ch'ongch'on,fifty air miles inland from the west coast, an important secondary roadnetwork ran north through Unsan to the Yalu. The events of the next fewweeks were to give this particular road net special importance.

The configuration of the valley of the lower Ch'ongch'on in relationto the mountain ridges that approach it from the Yalu must be noted. Northof the lower Ch'ongch'on for a distance of approximately fifteen air milesthe ground is flat or only slightly rising with occasional low hills. Alateral road extending eastward from Yongsan-dong and generally parallelingthe river marks the cleavage line between this low ground, which in a broad sense can bedescribed as the valley of the Ch'ongch'on, and the mountain spurs thatrise rather abruptly from it and extend to the Yalu. The southern extremitiesof these mountain ranges with their limited corridors of passage form anatural defensive barrier to a military advance northward. The towns ofTaech'on, Unsan, and Onjong stand at the entrances to these mountain corridors.There, the logical implications of the terrain were soon to be translatedby an enemy into harsh and unwonted military reality.

The Eighth Army operation above the Ch'ongch'on began essentially asa continuation of the pursuit that had started with the breakout from thePusan Perimeter; the U.S. I Corps was on the left, the ROK II Corps onthe right. Within Milburn's I Corps, the 24th Division (British 27th Brigadeattached) was on the left, the ROK 1st Division on the right. The U.N.Command expected little organized opposition from the enemy and emphasizeda speedy advance to the northern border. Several columns were to strikeout northward with little or no physical contact between them. The advancewas not to be closely co-ordinated; each column was free to advance asfast and as far as possible without respect to gains made by others.

ROK Troops Reach the Yalu

As Eighth Army resumed its general advance toward the North Korean border,the ROK 6th Division of the ROK II Corps appeared to have the greatestsuccess of any front-line U.N. division. (Map 22) Meetingvirtually no opposition and traveling fast up the valley of the Ch'ongch'on,it reached Huich'on the night of 23 October. There it left the valley ofthe Ch'ongch'on and turned west, the 7th Regiment leading. Its advancedbattalion marched northwest over a cart trail, but the remainder of theregiment had to turn west from Huich'on on a road to Onjong. The nightof 24-25 October, the 7th Regiment passed through Onjong, then turned northand joined its advanced battalion. [15] Finding the road clear, it headednorth for its objective, the town of Ch'osan, fifty air miles away on theYalu. Late in the afternoon the regiment stopped at Kojang, a sizable towneighteen air miles south of Ch'osan, and bivouacked there for the night.

The next morning, 26 October, Maj. Harry Fleming, KMAG adviser withthe ROK 7th Regiment, accompanied the Reconnaissance Platoon, reinforced,into Ch'osan. The remainder of the regiment stayed at its overnight position.In Ch'osan the Reconnaissance Platoon found North Koreans retreating intoManchuria across a narrow floating footbridge that spanned the Yalu. Flemingand the ROK officers directed the setting up of machine guns to halt thisfoot traffic into Manchuria, but so placed the weapons that the impactarea of their fire would not be in China across the river. After a thoroughreconnaissance of the town, Fleming and the main body of the ReconnaissancePlatoon returned to the regimental position. They left a small party inCh'osan because the next morning the main force of the ROK 7th Regiment was to come into the town. [16] The Reconnaissance Platoonfrom the 7th Regiment, ROK 6th Division, was the first U.N. unit to reachthe northern border of North Korea, and, as events turned out, it was theonly element operating under Eighth Army command ever to get there duringthe war.

Following behind the 6th Division, the ROK 8th Division had reachedthe valley of the Ch'ongch'on at Kujang-dong the night of 25-26 October,marching from Sunch'on through Tokch'on. On the 29th, the day the advancedelements of the 6th Division reached the Yalu, the 8th turned up the Ch'ongch'onValley toward Huich'on for the purpose of joining the 6th Division.

Chinese Strike the ROK II Corps

The day before, on 25 October, the 3d Battalion, 2d Regiment, ROK 6thDivision, had started northwest from the little crossroads village of Onjong,ten air miles northeast of Unsan, headed for Pukchin. There the 2d Regimentexpected to turn north to Pyoktong on the Yalu. Eight miles west of Onjongthe 3d Battalion came under enemy fire. The troops dismounted from theirvehicles to disperse what they thought was a small force of North Koreans.But the roadblock turned out to be a Chinese trap. In the action that followedthe Chinese destroyed the battalion as an organized force. Approximately400 of 750 ROK's in the battalion escaped, however, and in the afternooninfiltrated back to Onjong. Among those captured in this action was Lt.Glen C. Jones, KMAG adviser to the battalion, who later died in a prisoncamp. [17]

Meanwhile, back at Onjong the 2d Battalion of the ROK 2d Regiment learnedthat the 3d Battalion had become heavily engaged, and moved out to supportit. On the way, members of the battalion saw enemy troops moving abouton the hills to the north. Patrols sent out to investigate came back witha Chinese prisoner. He said that Chinese forces had been waiting in themountains around Pukchin since 17 October. Another Chinese soldier, badlywounded, was captured on the road ahead. That evening Chinese troops cutoff the 2d Battalion from Onjong, but it escaped southward cross-countryand succeeded in rejoining the 1st Battalion and regimental headquartersin the town.

At 0330 that night, the Chinese attacked Onjong. The ROK troops therebroke in panic, but officers succeeded in stopping them at the southeastedge of town. When the Chinese penetrated this position at 0600 the ROK'sstarted withdrawing eastward. They had gone only three miles when theycame to a roadblock-the Chinese had cut them off. At this time not a singlecompany of the ROK 2d Regiment was intact. The ROK's now scattered intothe hills. Maj. Roy M. Gramling, KMAG adviser to the regiment, and another KMAG officer escaped to Huich'on, but a third,Capt. Paul V. S. Liles, fell captive to the Chinese. That the 2d Regimentapparently did little determined fighting in its first encounter with theChinese is indicated by the fact that about 2,700 men out of approximately3,100 in the regiment eventually escaped to the Ch'ongch'on.

When the ROK 2d Regiment came under Chinese attack at Onjong, the 19thRegiment, except for one battalion, was in Huich'on. The 10th Regimentof the ROK 8th Division also was there. Maj. Gen. Yu Jae Hung, commandingthe ROK II Corps, ordered these troops, less the 1st Battalion, 10th Regiment,which was to remain in Huich'on, to attack west in an attempt to recoverthe abandoned vehicles and artillery pieces of the 2d Regiment. These tworegiments reached a point on 28 October from which advanced units couldlook down on Onjong and see some of the abandoned equipment, but they nevergot any farther. The next day these two regiments suffered the same fatethat had overtaken the 2d Regiment. Heavily defeated, they lost their vehiclesand three batteries of artillery-all they had. [18]

These startling developments in the Onjong area cut off the 7th Regimentof the ROK 6th Division to the north. At its headquarters at Kojang onthe evening of the 26th, the regiment was making plans to occupy Ch'osanon the Yalu in the morning when it received a radio message from the ROK6th Division. This message said that the 2d Regiment had been defeatedand scattered, and ordered it, the 7th Regiment, to start south to rejointhe division. Major Fleming replied by radio that the regiment could notmove unless it was resupplied with gasoline, food, and ammunition. An airdropof supplies was successfully accomplished two days later at 1100.

The following morning, 29 October, the ROK 7th Regiment started south.Before noon, when approximately twenty miles south of Kojang, it ran intoan enemy roadblock. In a very short time the entire regiment was committedagainst an enemy force. The tactical air control party called in strongair support and, according to Major Fleming, "with the tremendoushelp of the close air support we received, we were able to hold our ownduring the daylight hours, but after night fell and without the supportof the fighter planes we could not hold the enemy off." [19]

During the night large numbers of ROK soldiers scattered into the hillsin an effort to make their way south; some, however, stayed in positionto the end. By daylight resistance had ended. It appears probable, froma hand-drawn operations map of the 373d Regiment, CCF 125thDivision, captured in March 195l, that one battalion of this regimentset the trap and fought the action that destroyed the ROK 7th Regiment.Major Fleming, wounded in fifteen places and the only American to survivethe battle, was captured at 0630 by the Chinese. Almost three years laterMajor Fleming returned to the United States in the prisoner exchange in the fall of 1953. [20]

Eventually, about 875 officers and men of the 3,552 in the regimentescaped to Kunu-ri and rejoined the 6th Division. Col. Lim Bu Taik, theregimental commander, and two of his battalion commanders escaped, butthe other principal regimental staff officers and the KMAG advisers wereeither killed or captured. [21]

The collapse of the ROK II Corps on the right of Eighth Army and thefrightening, but confused, reports of Chinese troops in the action causedEighth Army on 29 October to order the ROK 7th Division released from U.S.I Corps' control to revert to the ROK II Corps. It ordered the ROK II Corpsto place the 8th Division in a defensive position north of the Ch'ongch'on,extending from Yongbyon eastward to the river at Kujang-dong, and thenfor the 7th Division to extend the line south toward Tokch'on. [22]

By 31 October Chinese forces were pressing against the ROK II Corpsdefensive line north and east of Kunu-ri. That morning they broke throughthe 16th Regiment of the 8th Division, near its boundary with the ROK 1stDivision, causing one battalion to scatter.

On the south side of the Ch'ongch'on, Chinese forces by 1 November hadpushed the ROK 7th Division back to the vicinity of Won-nil The ROK IICorps of necessity by this time had pivoted to face generally east. Thisresulted in a gap between its left flank and Eighth Army. The U.S. 2d Division,attached by Eighth Army to I Corps, was assembled hurriedly in the vicinityof Sunch'on to meet a possible emergency in this gap. [23]

Thus matters stood on 1 November. Within a few days after its firstaction on 25 October, the CCF had driven back the ROK II Corps, cripplingit disastrously, and was south of the Ch'ongch'on on the open right flankof Eighth Army. And disaster was also threatening in the center of theEighth Army front at Unsan.

Unsan - Prelude

In its part of the general advance, the ROK 1st Division on 25 Octoberwas strung out on the road running from the Ch'ongch'on River to Unsan.Its 15th Regiment passed through Yongbyon and continued on without oppositiontoward Unsan, fifteen air miles northward. Elements of D Company, 6th MediumTank Battalion, led the way and passed through Unsan. A mile and a halfnortheast of the town, just before 1100, enemy mortar fire suddenly interdicteda bridge as the American tanks were approaching it. ROK troops deployedand engaged the enemy force. Half an hour later they reported 300 Chinesetroops in the hills just north of Unsan. A little later they captured thefirst Chinese soldier taken prisoner by U.N. forces in the Korean War.American tank crewmen at the interdicted bridge learned at 1144 of the captured Chinese. The prisonersaid there were 10,000 Chinese Communist troops in the hills north andnorthwest of Unsan and another 10,000 eastward toward Huich'on. [24]

During the afternoon the fighting north of town gradually intensifiedand just after 1400 the ROK troops in contact with the Chinese estimatedthem to be two reinforced companies. The TACP controller, who had beenpinned down by enemy fire for more than an hour, finally established radiocommunication with the Mosquito plane overhead and informed its pilot ofthe Chinese prisoner and his story that 10,000 to 20,000 Chinese soldierswere in the vicinity of Unsan. The pilot related the alarming story atEighth Army headquarters. That evening I Corps headquarters received amessage from a G-2 liaison officer with the ROK 1st Division reportingthe capture of the Chinese prisoner. Special arrangements were made totake the captive to the Eighth Army advance command post at P'yongyangfor interrogation. The prisoner was interrogated there the next morning.There could be no doubt that he was Chinese. By midafternoon three moreChinese were brought into P'yongyang. They, too, looked Chinese, spokeChinese, and understood neither Korean nor Japanese. [25]

The ROK 12th Regiment, second in the division column, turned west whenit arrived at Unsan. Just beyond the town it, too, found Chinese troopsblocking the way. The ROK 11th Regiment, bringing up the division rear,halted for the night a few miles below Unsan. The report spread rapidlyamong the ROK's during the afternoon that the enemy troops on their frontwere Chinese. [26]

Ironically, that same afternoon, 25 October, the U.S. I Corps headquartersat 1600 published its order directing its forces to go all the way to theYalu. For its part, the ROK 1st Division was "to continue the destructionof North Korean forces." [27]

The 25th of October had been a cold day and carried promise of the bitterNorth Korean winter that lay ahead. All night the fight above Unsan continuedwith the sound of small arms and machine guns and the booming of supporting155-mm. howitzers echoing through the darkness. A small flurry of snowfell early in the morning, the first snow of the winter for these troops.But it was a minor worry compared to the startling fact that during thenight enemy forces had nearly surrounded Unsan. Morning brought more informationthat the forces were Chinese. One report told of thirty-three Chinese deadfound north of the town.

Northeast of Unsan, ROK infantry of the 15th Regiment during the morningof the 26th fell back under enemy attack. At 1030 Lt. Col. John S. Growden,commanding the 6th Medium Tank Battalion, thinking that his tanks holdingthe road northeast of Unsan were in danger of being overrun, ordered DCompany to fall back to high ground south-east of the town. West of Unsan the ROK 12th Regiment held fast. The11th Regiment moved up to join the 12th Regiment in the battle, but almostat once had to move back south of Unsan to combat an enemy force that cutthe main supply road there in an envelopment from the west. Instead ofdriving off this enemy roadblock force, the 11th Regiment itself was pushednorth to the edge of Unsan. An entry in the supporting U.S. 10th AntiaircraftArtillery Group War Diary at this time states, "Due to the seriousnessof the situation around Unsan, the Group was prepared to move out on amoment's notice." The ROK's estimated that a full enemy division confrontedthem. [28]

The reaction of Eighth Army intelligence to this development was thatthe Chinese troops in the Onjong and Unsan areas indicated "some furtherreinforcement of North Korean units with personnel taken from the ChineseCommunist Forces, in order to assist in the defense of the border approaches."The estimate stated there were "no indications of open interventionon the part of Chinese Communist Forces in Korea." [29]

On the 27th the situation at Unsan improved somewhat. An airdrop shortlyafter 1100 by ten C-119 planes flying from Ashiya Air Base eased the criticalsupply situation within the ROK 1st Division, the two supporting tank companiesof the 6th Tank Battalion, and the 10th AAA Group. Freshly supplied withammunition, the ROK 15th and 12th Regiments attacked and made slight gainsnorth and west of the town. To the south of the town two battalions ofthe 11th Regiment cleared the road, and in the late afternoon reportedthe enemy there had withdrawn to the northwest. In these attacks the ROK'sfound the Chinese well dug-in, exceptionally well camouflaged, and veryhard to locate.

When the ROK 1st Division first encountered the Chinese above Unsanon 25 October, General Paik, the division commander, was at P'yongyangattending a celebration. He had by now returned to his command post atYongbyon. Going forward to the scene of fighting, Paik examined enemy dead.He said they were all Chinese. Paik had served with the Japanese ManchurianArmy in World War II and he knew the Chinese well. He estimated there wasa Chinese division of 10,000 soldiers-a solid organization and not justChinese mixed with North Koreans-in front of him. He told General Milburn,the I Corps commander, there were "many, many Chinese." [30]

Supply by Air

SUPPLY BY AIR to the ROK 1st Divisionin the Unsan area.

On the 28th the fighting at Unsan quieted down, although the ROK's capturedtwo more Chinese prisoners. They repeated the same story told by previousprisoners-that they were members of large Chinese organizations thathad entered the war.

General Walker and the Eighth Army staff at P'yongyang had, of course,followed closely the many reports that came in concerning the puzzlingand disturbing news from north of the Ch'ongch'on, particularly the informationgiven by the first prisoners alleged by the ROK's to be Chinese. But, aswould be natural in such a newly developing situation, the intelligenceofficials did not accept at face value all the information the prisonersrelated about the Chinese troop organizations they said were in Korea.As the extent of reverses north of the Ch'ongch'on mounted quickly withina day or two, General Walker and his staff, however, were forced to questionthe correctness of their initial reaction that the Chinese troops thererepresented only reinforcement of North Korean units.

By the morning of 28 October General Walker had become sufficientlyconcerned over events to order the 1st Cavalry Division relieved of itssecurity mission at P'yongyang and to move north, pass through the ROK1st Division at Unsan, and attack to the Yalu. General Gay ordered the8th Cavalry Regiment to begin the division movement. It departed P'yongyangthe next morning, 29 October. During the day it crossed the Ch'ongch'on at Anju and wentinto an assembly area at Yongsan-dong that evening. [31]

The ROK attack that began at first light on the morning of 29 Octoberquickly developed into a stubborn fight against dug-in enemy using mortars,automatic weapons, and small arms. Even with the help of the artillerybarrages and Fifth Air Force strafing attacks, the ROK's could not dislodgethe Chinese.

Because Chinese forces had engulfed the ROK II Corps to the east inthe Onjong and Huich'on areas, the ROK 1st Division now constituted a northernsalient in the U.N. line. On its left there was a gap of fifteen air milesbetween it and elements of the U.S. 24th Division, the nearest Eighth Armyunit on the west.

The next morning Lt. Col. Harold K. Johnson's 5th Cavalry Regiment arrivedat Yongsan-dong. Johnson's mission was to protect the rear of the 8th CavalryRegiment, which that morning had continued on north to Unsan where it wasto relieve part of the ROK 1st Division. The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry,under Maj. John Millikin, Jr., arrived at Unsan that afternoon, 30 October.In conferring with KMAG officers attached to the ROK 12th Regiment, Millikinand his company commanders learned that the ROK line, about 8,000 yardsnorth of Unsan, was under attack and being pushed back. [32]

On 31 October, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 8th Cavalry, relieved the ROK12th Regiment. But on the right an enemy attack during the night had drivenback the ROK 2d Battalion more than a mile. Its commander wanted his troopsto regain the lost ground before they were relieved. Millikin's 1st Battalion,however, moved into a defensive position behind this part of the ROK linenorth of Unsan. That afternoon, General Milburn, U.S. I Corps commander,visited the 8th Cavalry regimental command post and was told everythingwas all right.

On the morning of 1 November the ROK's tried to regain their lost ground.Though assisted by elements of the 6th Tank Battalion they made only aslight gain. In this situation, elements of B Company of Millikin's battalionand an attached platoon of tanks from B Company, 70th Tank Battalion, attackednorth along the west bank of the Samt'an River. In this fight tank firegreatly assisted the ROK's, but three of the tanks were damaged. By noonthe 2d Battalion of the ROK 12th Regiment had regained something more thanhalf a mile of ground. But it seemed that it would make no further gainas heavy enemy 120-mm. mortar fire started falling, forcing the tanks towithdraw. Eastward across the river, at a distance of about two miles,the ROK 15th Regiment could be seen under very heavy attack.

The ROK 2d Battalion commander gave notice in the afternoon that ifhe was not relieved by 1600 his battalion would leave its position anyway.Apparently Col. Raymond D. Palmer, the 8th Cavalry commander, refused toeffect the relief of the ROK battalion while heavy fighting was in progress. The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, actually relievedthe ROK's north of Unsan at 1600 when the latter fell back through itslines, thus requiring Millikin's men to hold where they were. Watchingthe action across the river in the area held by the ROK 1 5th Regiment,while this change was taking place in his own front, Colonel Millikin sawthrough his field glasses that the hillside seemed alive as waves of enemytroops moved along the ridge leading into the ROK lines. [33]

The positions held in the late afternoon of 1 November by the 8th Cavalrywere anchored on the right, about a mile northwest of Unsan, on the roadbelow the village of Maebong-dong near the west bank of the Samt'an River.The line extended from there in an arc southwest across the mountain toa point three miles west of Unsan. There it crossed the east-west roadout of Unsan and curved southeast to strike the main supply road, the Yongsan-dongand Yongbyon road, about three miles below Unsan. The 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalionswere on this line in that order from east to west and southeast. This semicirclehad a radius of about three miles from Unsan at the center, except on thenorth where the 1st Battalion was only a mile distant from the town. The8th Cavalry regimental command post was on the main supply road south ofUnsan between the town and the 3d Battalion command post. The day before,General Gay had established the 1st Cavalry Division command post at Yongsan-dong,twelve miles to the south. [34]

The arrival of the U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment at Unsan had set in motiona redeployment of the ROK 1st Division. Upon being relieved west of Unsanon 31 October, the ROK 11th Regiment had shifted southeast to establishcontact with the ROK 8th Division on the corps boundary. The ROK 12th Regimentmoved to a rest and reserve assembly area at Ipsok south of the KuryongRiver, six air miles from Unsan. Still engaged in the battle at Unsan,the ROK 15th Regiment was desperately trying to hold its position acrossthe Samt'an River east of the 8th Cavalry Regiment. In short, the U.S.8th Cavalry Regiment was to the north, west, and south of Unsan; the ROK1st Division to the northeast, east, and southeast of it.

On the morning of 1 November, pursuant to I Corps and division orders,Colonel Johnson, the 5th Cavalry regimental commander, made ready to movea battalion of the 5th Cavalry eastward to bolster the disintegrating ROKII Corps lines near the I Corps boundary. Johnson alerted the 3d Battalionto move at 1230. At noon, Lt. Col. Hallett D. Edson, the 8th Cavalry regimentalexecutive officer, arrived at the 5th Cavalry command post from Unsan.He told Johnson that about halfway between the two regiments, near theNammyon River where it flows into the Camel's Head Bend of the Kuryong,he had encountered a great number of Korean refugees. They told him thata large force of Chinese was approaching behind them from the west. Since it was the 5thCavalry's mission to protect the rear of the 8th Cavalry, Edson asked Johnsonwhat he would do about the report. Johnson at once directed the 1st Battalionto send at least a platoon-sized patrol to investigate it. [35]

Johnson then departed with the 3d Battalion and placed it in a defensiveposition six miles northeast of Yongbyon on a low line of hills astridethe Yongbyon-Kujang-dong road, facing east. This accomplished, he and thebattalion commander proceeded on eastward some miles until they encountereda mass of retreating troops of the ROK II Corps. Johnson said of them:"They were a solid mass of soldiers on the road-indifferent to vehiclesmoving, indifferent to all that was around them. They were a thoroughlydefeated outfit at this particular time." Johnson had served in thePhilippines during the fall of Bataan in World War II and he likened theappearance and behavior of these ROK's to what he had seen on Bataan justbefore the American surrender there. [36]

Johnson turned back, passed through the picturesque walled city of Yongbyon,and that evening, shortly after dark, arrived at his command post at Yongsan-dong.There he learned that the 1st Battalion patrol in the early afternoon hadfound Chinese soldiers astride the road opposite the Turtle Head Bend ofthe Kuryong River, four air miles south of the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry,positions. During the afternoon two companies of the 1st Battalion hadmoved to the scene and were now engaged in battle there with a large enemyforce.

On the West Coastal Road

Westward in the coastal area, the pursuit seemed to be going forwardwith success. On the evening of 25 October the 27th British CommonwealthBrigade crossed the Taeryong River at and near Pakch'on. On the west sideit met enemy opposition. On the 27th the Middlesex 1st Battalion led thebrigade attack, and three miles west of the river engaged an enemy forcein a severe battle. In the course of it, air strikes and artillery preparationshelped the infantry by knocking out ten North Korean T34 tanks and twoself-propelled guns. After this battle, Brigadier Coad was convinced thatthe days of "rolling" were over, and he adopted a brigade formationbetter suited to heavy combat. On the 28th, after a 15-mile advance, thebrigade stopped three miles from Ch'ongju. [37]

The next morning, 29 October, the Australian 3d Battalion attacked towardCh'ongju. Aerial observers reported at least four enemy tanks with infantryon the ridge overlooking the road at the pass. In strikes against thesepositions with napalm and rockets, the Air Force destroyed four tanks.The Australian attack then gained the pass and the adjacent ridge lines.That evening the North Koreans attacked the Australians there in the twohours preceding midnight, employing self-propelled gun and tank support. Australian bazooka teamsdestroyed three enemy T34's. Supporting American tank fire helped repelthe attack. The Australians lost nine killed and thirty wounded in thebattle before Ch'ongju. The next morning the Argylls entered Ch'ongju.

That evening, 30 October, North Korean high velocity shells landed inthe vicinity of the town, six of them in the headquarters area of the Australian3d Battalion. One of the six shells cleared a crest, hit a tree, and explodedoutside Colonel Green's tent. Colonel Green was asleep inside on a stretcher.Strangely enough, although there were numerous soldiers in the area atthe time, no one was injured except Colonel Green, who was struck in thestomach by a shell fragment. The seriously wounded officer was taken tothe surgical hospital at Anju. There three days later the much admiredLt. Col. Charles H. Green, the Australian 3d Battalion commander, died.Lt. Col. I. B. Ferguson succeeded him in command of the battalion. Thesame night that North Korean fire struck down Colonel Green, similar artilleryor tank fire killed Major Reith of the 27th Brigade.

Brigadier Coad on the 30th asked General Church, commanding the 24thDivision, to pass a regiment through his British troops at Ch'ongju becausethey were very tired. Acceding at once, Church ordered the 21st InfantryRegiment to lead the advance.

At dark that evening, Lt. Col. Gines Perez' 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry,passed through the British lines and headed north past the burning housesof Ch'ongju. The moon was up and the silvery light promised to aid thenight attack. Beyond Ch'ongju the men could hear the rumble of withdrawingNorth Korean tanks. At 0200 on high ground two and a half miles west ofthe village of Kwaksan seven enemy tanks and about 500 North Korean infantrytroops tried to ambush the battalion column. The nearest enemy tank openedfire with its cannon at 300 yards' range. Other enemy tanks joined thefire, their shells looking like big orange balls as they came streakingdown the road. Several of them hit American tanks, but all bounced off.These tanks returned fire at the enemy gun flashes. Colonel Stephens, theregimental commander, and Colonel Perez, the battalion commander, fromtheir radio jeeps directed the battle that was now joined. By dawn theNorth Koreans abandoned their position, leaving behind fifty dead, 5 knocked-outtanks, 1 self-propelled gun, and 7 antitank guns. After daylight an airattack destroyed 2 more enemy tanks, and the infantry captured 2 on flatcars.[38]

After this night of battle, the regiment encountered only light resistance.Its advanced troops, Lt. Col. Charles B. Smith's 1st Battalion, by noonof 1 November reached the outskirts of Chonggo-dong, eighteen air milesfrom Sinuiju and the Yalu River.

There, acting on orders from the 24th Division, Colonel Stephens orderedthe battalion to halt, consolidate its position and be prepared to defendin depth. The order from the 24th Division for the regiment to halt, which in turn had come from I Corps, hit the 1st Battalion,21st Infantry, "like a bolt out of the blue." [39]

At midafternoon seven enemy tanks and an estimated 500 infantry attackedthe 1st Battalion at Chonggo-dong. Capt. Jack G. Moss, commanding A Company,6th Medium Tank Battalion, led his tanks out to meet the enemy armor. Ina blazing tank battle that lasted half an hour, they destroyed it. Twoof the American tanks were slightly damaged. The fire of infantry, tanks,and artillery turned back the North Korean infantry and inflicted on itan estimated 100 casualties. [40]

This was the northernmost action fought by a unit of the United StatesEighth Army in the Korean War. By a strange coincidence, the infantry elementengaged was Colonel Smith's 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, part of whichhad fought the first American ground battle near Osan nearly four monthsearlier. In a geographical sense at least, the action near Chonggo-dongon the afternoon of 1 November was the high-water mark of Eighth Army'seffort to reach the Manchurian border and consolidate all of Korea fora unified government.

Advancing behind the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, the 5th Regimenthad been the first unit of the 24th Division to cross the Ch'ongch'on River.It continued on and crossed the Taeryong River above Pakch'on on 28 October.From there it marched northward on the right of the British troops towardTaech'on. On the 29th in a heavy battle it and supporting air units destroyednine enemy tanks and four self-propelled guns. The 5th Regimental CombatTeam then entered Taech'on. Two of 89 prisoners taken were Chinese, thefirst captured by American troops in the Korean War. They turned out tobe deserters or stragglers from their units. There were no CCF units incontact with the 5th Regimental Combat Team at Taech'on. [41]

From Taech'on, Colonel Throckmorton's 5th RCT turned northwest towardKusong. An enemy force estimated to number 5,000 to 6,000 men, supportedby tanks, self-propelled guns, artillery, and mortars stubbornly opposedthe advance. But the 5th RCT, strongly supported by tactical air, capturedKusong just after noon on the 31st. The regimental attack the next daysecured the road junction a few miles north of Kusong. In this action theregiment killed an estimated 300 to 400 enemy soldiers, and destroyed 2self-propelled guns, 8 76-mm. howitzers, 8 mortars, 6 antitank guns, and5 machine guns. Advanced elements of the 5th RCT were about ten miles northof Kusong at midday when a liaison plane came over and dropped a message,as it had to the 21st Infantry along the coastal road. This ordered theregiment to stop and hold in place. [42]

The uncertainty of the 21st and 5th Regiments during the afternoon andevening of 1 November over their future courses of action was resolvedan hour before midnight when the 24th Division ordered them to withdrawtoward the Ch'ongchon. [43] Mystified and disappointed, the men of thetwo regimental combat teams traveled back toward the Ch'ongch'on the nightof 1-2 November. They were to learn later that the explanation for this,to them, puzzling development lay in events that had taken place in theeast. The day before, 31 October, General Walker verbally had ordered GeneralMilburn to limit the 24th Division attack in keeping with the situationin the Unsan area. There lay the controlling events.

The X Corps' Changing Mission

Contemporary events unfolding at the X Corps front in northeast Koreacomplete the view of the whole situation at the time the Chinese were firstappearing in the suddenly changed picture of the almost ended war. As lateas 16 October General Almond had received orders from General MacArthur'sheadquarters in Tokyo that, upon landing, X Corps would attack west alongthe Wonsan-P'yongyang axis. But the next day he received an alert orderfrom General MacArthur stating that if Eighth Army had captured P'yongyangbefore X Corps landed, the corps would advance north instead of west. Onthe 18th came an alternate order from MacArthur which provided that, ifP'yongyang was captured before D-day, X Corps would advance north in azone parallel to Eighth Army, with the watershed of the Taebaek Range asthe boundary between the two forces. The next day, 19 October, X Corpsreceived the final and definite order to advance north. [44]

On 20 October General Almond flew from the USS Missouri by helicopterto the Wonsan Airfield. At noon he assumed command of troops in the X Corpsarea north of latitude 39° 10' north and east of the Taebaek Range.The X Corps command post was now officially in Wonsan. By the end of October,X Corps had teletype communications with Eighth Army and the 2d LogisticalCommand, and radio communications with GHQ in Tokyo. [45]

The troops which General Almond found in his corps area on 20 Octoberconsisted of his own small command group of approximately 10 officers and30 men, ROK I Corps troops numbering more than 23,000 men, and the fewhundred troops of the 1st Marine Air Wing already at the airfield. Hisown X Corps troops still afloat would bring the total to nearly 84,000men. In addition, there was the U.S. 3d Division which he expected wouldsoon join the corps. Of the approximately 84,000 men then in the corps,more than a third-32,000-were South Korean soldiers. The major tacticalorganizations were the U.S. 1st Marine and 7th Infantry Divisions, andthe 31 and Capital Divisions of ROK I Corps. [46] The only known organized enemy groups in the X Corps areaat this time were north and northeast of Hungnam.

Rough terrain characterized the area in northeast Korea assigned tothe X Corps. (Map 21.) Even the coastal plainhardly deserved that name; the only level or semi-level land there consistedof isolated pockets extending inland generally for a distance of from threeto five miles. These were separated from each other by hill spurs thatcame down to the sea. The Wonsan-Hamhung pocket is by far the largest ofthese northeast coast semi-level areas. Wonsan and Hamhung, and the latter'sport of Hungnam, were the largest centers of population in the X Corpszone of operation. Wonsan in 1949 had a population of 150,000, but it hadfallen to an estimated 90,000 in October 1950. Hamhung's population inOctober 1950 was placed at 80,000, at least 40 percent of it Communistor Communist-inclined. Chemical, dye, medical, gunpowder, and fertilizerplants in the Hungnam-Hamhung area made it the outstanding industrial areaof Korea. At the ports of Wonsan and Hungnam ice is unusual, and when itoccurs it is so thin as to be unimportant.

Back of the coastal strip lies the northern Taebaek Range with its steepslopes and narrow, twisting valleys. The peaks in the highest parts ofthe range reach an altitude of 6,000 feet or more. In the interior partof the northern Taebaeks the winter temperatures often reach 20° to30° below zero. Snow in October and November is normally infrequent,and in December not usually heavy enough to form deep, permanent drifts.But rivers in the Taebaek Range usually freeze over by mid-December. Beginningforty air miles northward from Hamhung and extending another forty milesnorth in the heart of the Taebaek Range lies the Changjin Reservoir. Fifteenair miles east of it lies the smaller Pujon (Fusen) [47] Reservoir.

The principal road north from the Wonsan-Hamhung plain climbs the TaebaekRange to the Kot'o-ri plateau and then continues on to Hagaru-ri at thesouthern end of the Changjin Reservoir. From the Hamhung area a secondimportant road, the east coast road, curves northeast toward the borderof the Soviet Union. Inland from this coastal road the communication routeswere poor-in places scarcely more than mountain trails.

Almond's general plan of deployment in this mountainous waste of northeastKorea was for the ROK I Corps to advance to the northeast border alongthe coastal and adjacent roads; the U.S. 7th Infantry Division, southwestof the ROK's, to advance to the northern border over the Iwon-Pukch'ong-Hyesanjincorridor; southwest of the 7th Division, the U.S. 1st Marine Division to advance northward from Hamhung to theChangjin Reservoir, with its specific route beyond that point dependenton tactical developments in its front; and the U.S. 3d Division, when itarrived, to secure the Wonsan-Hamhung area, keep open the corps lines ofcommunication, and protect the corps rear and left flank from guerrillainterference. Until the 3d Division arrived, the 1st Marine Division wouldhave the responsibility of securing the Wonsan-Hungnam area. Accordinglyit would not be entirely free to concentrate for the advance northward.As General Almond himself said a little later of X Corps, "We arescattered all over the landscape." But, generally, the deploymentwas controlled by the road net of the area in which the corps was to operate.[48]

On 26 October General Almond issued orders for his plan of operation.In its zone, the 1st Marine Division was split into three regimental combatteams: (1) the 1st Marines to relieve ROK I Corps elements in the Kojoand Majonni areas south and west of Wonsan; (2) the 5th Marines to securethe Wonsan area, the Yonp'o Airfield south of Hungnam, and the X Corpswest flank; and (3) the 7th Marines to relieve the ROK 3d Division alongthe Hamhung-Changjin Reservoir corridor, and to secure the power installationsof the Changjin and Pujon Reservoirs. [49]

The CCF Block Way to Changjin Reservoir

Acting upon its orders, the ROK I Corps had attacked north from theHamhung area-the 3d Division north toward the Changjin Reservoir and theCapital Division northeast up the coastal road. The 26th Regiment led theadvance for the ROK 3d Division. On the morning of 25 October two battalionsof the regiment approached the first and second hydroelectric plants ofthe Changjin Reservoir area, about thirty road miles inland from Hungnam,and halfway to the reservoir itself. A message from Maj. Malcolm Smith,KMAG adviser with the regiment, to Colonel Emmerich that evening informedhim that the regiment had captured a prisoner definitely identified asa Chinese soldier who said he belonged to the 5th Regimentof the Chinese 8th Army. This prisoner said there were 4,000to 5,000 Chinese in the immediate vicinity.

During the next two days the ROK regiment moved ahead very slowly againstincreasing resistance. On the morning of 28 October the ROK's attackedin the vicinity of Sudong in what proved to be a very costly action, andsuffered heavy casualties. ROK patrols to the Sinhung-ni and Koto-ri areasbrought back news that they had seen at both places what they believedto be Chinese soldiers. That day two Chinese soldiers were captured one mile west of Sudong.

All day of the 29th small arms close combat continued in the large fieldsaround the second hydroelectric plant. In the afternoon enemy 120-mm. fireincreased. The ROK troops at the same time began to show signs of demoralizationas their supply of grenades ran low. In the fighting on this day, the ROK'scaptured sixteen more Chinese soldiers and learned from them that the 370thRegiment, CCF 124th Division, 42d Army,XIII Army Group, blocked the way north, with the restof the division nearby. North Korean tanks supported these Chinese. TheChinese division and regimental headquarters reportedly were at Hagaru-riat the southern end of the Changjin Reservoir. On the 30th, after a heavybattle with the CCF, the ROK 26th Regiment withdrew a short distance toa stronger defensive position. [50]

The capture of the sixteen Chinese on the 29th was a considerable prize,and General Kim, the ROK I Corps commander, telephoned the news to GeneralAlmond. The next day, 30 October, General Almond went to the ROK I Corpscommand post at Hamhung and personally inspected the captives and interviewedthem through an interpreter. The Chinese told him they had not eaten forthree days. They said they had crossed the Yalu River at Manp'ojin on 16October (later they said they had crossed on the 14th) and had marchedfrom there on foot at night, their mortars being carried on packhorsesand mules. Most of the sixteen soldiers were members of the MortarCompany, 370th Regiment. At the time of their capturethey said three of their four mortars had been destroyed and the fourthhad been withdrawn. The men were well-clothed, healthy, and averaged twenty-eightto thirty years in age. They asserted that their entire division had crossedinto Korea and marched to the front. Most of the men in this division hadbeen in Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, stationed near Peiping, untilabout a year earlier, they said. Their division had surrendered there tothe Communists and was immediately taken into the Red Army. General Almondat once sent a personal radio message to General MacArthur informing himof the presence of CCF units in northeast Korea and giving such detailsas he had learned in the course of his interview with the prisoners. [51]

The 370th Regiment apparently arrived at its positionsnear Sudong on 23 or 24 October and first encountered ROK troops on the25th. Behind it came the other two regiments of the 124th Division,the 371st and 372d, one a few days behind the other. WhenGeneral Almond visited General Kim again on 31 October, he learned thatseven more CCF prisoners had been captured to make a total of twenty-fivenow in the X Corps zone. Some of them said a second CCF division was nearthe Changjin Reservoir. [52]

A search of enemy dead showed they carried no official identification,although a few had written their names and units in ink on the left insideof their blouses. The officer's uniform differed from that of the rankand file only by a vertical red piping on trousers, on the left side ofthe jacket, around the collar, and a diagonal across the sleeve cuff. Theuniforms were heavily quilted cotton, usually a mustard brown color, althoughsome of the Chinese wore dark blue. The quilted uniform was warm untilit became water-soaked; then it was difficult to dry. Underneath it thesoldiers wore the summer uniform and any other clothing they owned. Theirfaceless shoes were of cloth, low-cut, rubber-soled, and worn with setsof cotton socks. Heavy cotton caps had ear flaps that gave neck protection.These soldiers were armed mostly with Japanese rifles confiscated in Manchuriaat the end of World War II. The greater part of their mortars, machineguns, and Thompson submachine guns were American-made, having been capturedfrom the Nationalists. Approximately 70 percent of the 124th Divisionhad formerly been Nationalist soldiers in Chiang Kai-shek's army. Havingleft its artillery behind because of the mountains, the 124th Divisionin the battle below the reservoir used nothing larger than 82-mm. mortars.[53]

North Koreans as well as the newly arrived CCF fought in the Sudongarea. On the 29th, for instance, in addition to the sixteen Chinese, theROK 26th Regiment captured sixty North Korean prisoners. There, as in frontof Eighth Army at the same time, the North Koreans fought delaying actionswhile they backed up to a point where they met the approaching Chineseor the latter lay in wait. It was perhaps a coincidence that the Chineseentered action on both fronts, first against ROK troops as it chanced,at almost the same moment. In both east and west that fateful day was 25October.


[1] EUSAK WD, G-1 Daily Hist Rpt, 26 Oct 50; Ibid., POR 389, 19 Nov 50; Ibid., Br. for CG, 9 Nov 50: GHQ UNC, G-3 Rpts, 27 and 30 Oct 50; 25th Div WD, 30 Oct 50.

[2] Maj William F. Fox, History of the Korean War, Inter-Allied Co-operation During Combat Operations, vol. III, pt. 2, sec. B, pp. 10-11, MS in OCMH: Ltr Ord, Hq, EUSAK to CG, 2d Log Comd, 8 Oct 50, sub: Establishment of UNRC.

[3] Log Comd Monthly Act Rpt, G-3 and G-4 Secs, Oct and Nov 50.

[4] Interv, author with Maj Gen Leven C. Allen, 15 Dec 53: EUSAK WD, Trans Sec, 18 Nov and G-4 Jnl, Msg 9, 241430 Nov 50: 24th Div WD, G-4 Daily Summ, 29-30 Oct 50: 2d Div WD, Narr Summ, Nov 50, p. 11.

[5] EUSAK WD, Ord Daily Act Rpts, 27, 28, 31 Oct and 6 Nov 50: Ibid., Trans Sec, 25 Oct 50: 3d Log Comd Act Rpt. Nov 50, p. 8.

[6] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. VII, pp. 3-5, citing Msg 94651, JCS to CINCFE, 21 Oct 50, Msg C67065, CINCFE to DA for JCS, 21 Oct 50, and Msg S94985, DA to CINCFE, 25 Oct 50.

[7] Ibid., ch. VII, pp. 6-7, citing Msg CX67506, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army and CG JLC, 26 Oct 50, and Msg CX8002, CINCFE to DA, 28 Oct 50.

[8] New York Times, October 29, 1950.

[9] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 30 Oct 50: Ibid., G-1 Sec, Civil Assistance StfSec Rpt, 1 Nov 50.

[10] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. VI, pp. 31-32, citing Msg CX66705, CINCUNC to all comdrs, 17 Oct 50, and CX66839, CINCUNC to all comdrs, 19 Oct 50.

[11] Ibid., p. 34, citing Msg CX67291, CINCUNC to all comdrs, 24 Oct 50.

[12] C67397, CINCFE to JCS, 25 Oct 50; Senate MacArthur Hearings, MacArthur's testimony, pp. 97-98; Gen. of the Army Omar N. Bradley's testimony, pt. I, p. 757, and Gen Collins' testimony, pt. 2, pp. 1216-17, 1229-30, 3235, 1239-41, 1312-13.

[13] EUSAK WD, Daily News Bul, 25 Oct 50.

[14] See p. 729, n. 1, below.

[15] Interv, author with Gramling, 17 Feb 54; Ltrs, Fleming to author, 9 and 18 Mar 54: EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, 23-24 Oct 50.

[16] This account of the ROK's at Ch'osan is based largely on Ltrs, Fleming to author 9 and 18 Mar 54: also Interv author with Lt Col Willard G. Pearson, 1 Aug 51; EUSAK POR 319, 26 Oct 50: EUSAK WD, Br forCG, 26 Oct 50.

[17] Interv author with Gramling, 17 Feb 54; EUSAK POR 319, 26 Oct 50. Unless otherwise noted the Onjong narrative is based on the authors interview with Gramling. Army records have only a few fragmentary references to the ROK II corps action at Onjong.

[18] Interv, author with Gramling, 17 Feb 54; EUSAK WD, 28 Oct 50, Memo to CofS, G-2, et al., from Acting CofS, G-3 (Rpt of Lt Col F. J. Lagasseafter visiting Hq ROK II Corps); Ibid., 29 Oct 50.

[19] Ltrs, Fleming to author, 9 and 18 Mar 54; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 28 Oct 50; Lagasse Rpt, cited n. 17.

[20] Ltrs, Fleming to author. 9 and 18 Mar 54; EUSAK WD. G-3 Jnl, Msg 0130 30 Oct 50; Interv, author with Gramling, 17 Feb 54; ATIS Enemy Documents, Korean Operations, Issue 42 (11 Jun 51), item 52, opposite p. 162.

[21] Interv, author with Lt Col Thomas E. Bennett (KMAG adviser to ROK 7th Regt in early Nov 50), 11 Dec 53: Paik Sun Yup, MS review comments, 11 Jul 58. [22] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 29 Oct 50; US I Corps WD, Oct 50, p. 45.

[23] EUSAK PIR 111, 31 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 31 Oct and 1 Nov 50.

[24] I Corps WD, 25 Oct 50; I Corps Intel Summ 122, 25 Oct 50; I Corps PIR 40, 25 Oct 50: 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 25 Oct 50.

[25] 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 25 Oct 50: EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, Msg at 1715 25 Oct 50: Ltr, Col Percy W. Thompson (G-2, I Corps Oct 50) to author, 9 Apr 54; Collier, MS review comments, 10 Mar 58.

[26] EUSAK POR 316, 25 Oct 50.

[27] I Corps Opn Dir 14, 251600 Oct 50.

[28] 10th AAA WD, 25-31 Oct 50; U.S. units supporting the ROK 1st Division at this time were the 17th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm.), 10th Antiaircraft Artillery Group (included 155-mm. howitzers and 90-mm. guns), and two companies of the 6th Medium Tank Battalion. EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 26-27 Oct 50; EUSAK PIR 106, 26 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, Msgs at 1340, 1530, 1700, and 2115, 26 Oct, and Jnl, 27 Oct 50; I Corps WD, 26 Oct 50; 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 26 27 Oct 50; Arty Rpt 12, 27 Oct 50.

[29] I Corps Opn Dir 15, 26 Oct 50; EUSAK PIR 6, 26 Oct 50.

[30] Interv, author with Col William H. Hennig (CO, 10th AAA Croup, Oct 50), 23 Mar 54 Interv, author with Milburn, 4 Jan 52; I Corps WD, 27 Oct 50: New York Times, October 27, 1950.

[31] I Corps WD, 28 Oct 50; EUSAK POR 325, 28 Oct 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 19 Feb 54.

[32] Ltr, Gay to author, 19 Feb 54; Ltr, Millikin (CO, 1st Bn, 8th Cav Regt, Oct 50) to author, 6 May 54; I Corps WD, 29-30 Oct 50: EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 29 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 30 Oct 50: 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 30 Oct 50; 8th Cav Regt Unit Jnl, entry at 301915 Oct 50. [33] Ltr, Millikin to author, 6 May 54; Interv, author with Hennig, 23 Mar 54; 70th Tk Bn WD, 1 Nov 50, Msg file, 1210, 1435; 8th Cav Regt Jnl file, 31 Oct-1 Nov 50, and 8th Cav POR 181, Msgs 311730, 011413, 011645, 31 Oct-1 Nov 50. [34] Ltr, Millikin to author, 6 May 54 and attached sketch map; Ltr, Lt Col William Walton (CO, 2d Bn, 8th Cav, Nov 50) to author, 27 Aug 54 and attached sketch map; I Corps POR's 150 and 151, 1 Nov 50; 8th Cav Regt Unit Jnl, 011430 Nov 50.

[35] Interv, author with Col Harold K. Johnson, 28 Apr 54; Johnson, MS review comments, recd Aug 54.

[36] Ibid.; Ltr, Millikin to author, 6 May 54.

[37] 27th British Commonwealth Brig Sitrep, 24-28 Oct 50; 24th Div WD, 26-28 Oct 50: EUSAK POR 316, 25 Oct 50; Bartlett With the Australians in Korea, pp. 32-34. [38] Interv, author with Col Gines Perez, 6 Aug 51; Interv, author with Maj Charles R. Alkire (S-2, 21st Inf Regt), 6 Aug 51; 24th Div WD, 29-31 Oct 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpt 115, 31 Oct 50. Eighth Army General Order 244, 26 April 1951, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel Perez.

[39] 21st Inf WD, 1 Nov 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 1 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, 1 Nov 50.

[40] 21st Inf Unit Rpt 116, 31 Oct-1 Nov 50: Interv, author with Lt Col Charles B. Smith, 6 Nov 51; Armor (May-June, 1951), article by 1st Lt. Robert D. Wilcox (tk plat ldr in the action), p. 28.

[41] Interv, author with Col John L. Throckmorton, 16 Apr 54; Ltr, Thompson to author, 9 Apr 54.

[42] 24th Div WD, 30 Oct-2 Nov 50: EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 30 Oct 50: Interv, author with Maj Gen Garrison H. Davidson, 28 Jan 54.

[43] 24th Div WD, 1-2 Nov 50; 21st Inf Unit Jnl, Msg 31, 012211 and Msg 35, 012300 Nov 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 31 Oct 50.

[44] X Corps WD, Oct 50 Summ, p. 3; Ibid., Opns, p. 19, citing CINCUNC Msg CX66705, 17 Oct 50, and CINCUNC Msg CX66739, 19 Oct 50; Ibid., Diary, CG X Corps, 16 and 18 Oct 50.

[45] X Corps WD, Summ and Diary, CG X Corps, 20 Oct 50: Ibid., Oct 50Summ, Sig Sec, pp. 29-30.

[46] X Corps POR 24, 20 Oct 50. The actual strengths of the various organizations were as follows:
X Corps U.S. ROK
Total 51,489 33,692
Hq and Hq and Service Group 3,870 80
X Corps Combat Troops 1,479  
1st Marine Div 24,031  
Army Attached Marine Div 93  
Engr Special Brig 1,393  
X Corps Tactical Air 1,786  
7th Div 18,837 7,804
1st and 5th ROK Marines   2,159
Hq and Hq Co, ROK I Corps   664
Capital Div (ROK)   11,626
3d Div (ROK)   11,359

[47] See p. 729, n. 1, below.

[48] X Corps WD, 4 Nov 50, G-1 Rpt, Notes on Conference between CG X Corps and Partridge, 4 Nov 50; X Corps WD, 26 Oct 50; Ibid., Catalogue of Plans and Orders, p. 50, Opn Instr 13, 261000 Oct 50. The corps boundary was changed slightly on 28 October to run from the Sea of Japan at the 38th Parallel to longitude 128° east, thence northwest to Poftong-ni, longitude 127° 5' east, latitude 38° 58' north, thence north to the 38th Parallel, thence west on that parallel to longitude 126° 45' east. See EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 28 Oct 50.

[49] X Corps WD, Oct 50, Opns, p. 20; 1st Mar Div SAR, 8 Oct-13 Dec 50, an. C, pp. 9-10. [50] X Corps WD, Oct 50, p. 15; X Corps PIR 33, 29 Oct, and 35, 31 Oct 50; Emmerich, MS review comments, 30 Nov 57.

[51] X Corps WD, Diary, CG X Corps, 30 Oct 50; Ibid., G-1 Rpt, Notes on Conference between CG X Corps and Partridge, 4 Nov 50: X Corps PIR 34, 30 Oct 50; Interv, author with Almond, 1 Dec 5; Ltr, McCaffrey to Almond, 1 Dec 54, forwarded to author.

[52] X Corps WD, Diary, CC X Corps, 31 Oct 50; Ibid., PIR 36, 1 Nov 50: ATIS Interrog Rpts (N.K. Forces), Issue 18, 2324, p. 57.

[53] X Corps PIR 43, 8 Nov and 46, an. 2, 11 Nov 50; 1st Mar Div SAR, vol. I, pp. 15, 19, 20, 30, an. B, 6-8 Nov 50; SSgt Robert W. Tallent, "New Enemy," Leatherneck, vol. XXXIV, No. 2 (February 22, 1951), pp. 12-14.

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