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Back to Ebb And Flow

The Advance to Contact

While General Walker fully expected the Eighth Army to encounter Chinese when it moved north, the lack of revealing contact in his zone left him uncertain about the location of enemy positions. From a study of air sightings, aerial photographs, and prisoner of war statements, his G-2, Lt. Col. James C. Tarkenton, traced two possible enemy defense lines. The nearer line curved from Chongju northeast through T'aech'on and Unsan above the western half of the army front, then extended almost due east into the mountains roughly ten miles above the eastern segment of the front. The second line started at Sonch'on, twenty miles beyond Chongju, and ran northeast through Kusong, Onjong, and Huich'on and into the Taebaeks as far as the northern end of the Changjin Reservoir. Colonel Tarkenton estimated that the Eighth Army would meet some 48,000 Chinese and several North Korean units defending important road centers along these lines.1

Walker distributed assault forces evenly for the advance toward the suspected lines. In the west, the I Corps comprised the 24th Infantry Division, ROK 1st Division, and British 27th Commonwealth Brigade. At center, the IX Corps included the 25th Infantry Division, the 2d Infantry Division, and the brigade-size 1st Turkish Armed Forces Command, which had not yet seen combat in Korea. The ROK II Corps, on the east, would operate with the ROK 6th, 7th, and 8th Divisions. The 1st Cavalry Division and the British 29th Independent Infantry Brigade were Walker's immediate reserves. While in reserve the cavalrymen were to protect forward army supply points at Kunu-ri, located just below the Ch'ongch'on River in the IX Corps area, and at Sukch'on, fifteen miles south of the river on Route 1 behind the I Corps. The British brigade, a recent arrival in Korea, was currently far to the south assembling temporarily at Kaesong, thirty miles north of Seoul.2

Eighth Army units with no assignment in the attack included the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and the Philippine 10th Battalion Combat Team, which were guarding supply installations in the Pyongyang-Chinnamp'o area, and the ROK III Corps with four recently activated or reactivated ROK divisions (the 2d, 5th, 9th, and 11th) which was operating against guerrillas in central and southern Korea. The infantry battalion from Thailand had just finished processing at the U.N. Reception Center and was en route to P'yongyang on the eve of the advance. Replacing the Thais at the reception center was the Netherlands Battalion, which had reached Korea on 23 November and was to receive two weeks' training before joining operations.3

Maj Gen Frank W. Milburn with Secy of the Army Frank Pace, Jr.
Maj Gen Frank W. Milburn
With Secy of the Army Frank Pace, Jr.

Maj. Gen. John B. Coulter
Maj. Gen. John B. Coulter

On the morning of the 24th Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn, commander of the I Corps, sent his two divisions west and northwest toward Chongju and T'aech'on, holding his British brigade in reserve. Maj. Gen. John B. Coulter, in command of the interior IX Corps, kept the Turkish brigade in reserve at Kunu-ri, sent one division north astride the Kuryong River toward Unsan and Onjong, and moved his other division up the Ch'ongch'on valley in the direction of Huich'on. On the army right, Maj. Gen. Yu Hae Ueng, the ROK II Corps commander, started two of his three divisions north through the mountains toward terrain objectives aligned with those of Coulter's forces.4

At the I Corps left, Maj. Gen. John H. Church's 24th Division led off with a regimental attack over Route 1, its 21st Infantry and a company of tanks moving westward toward Chongju, eighteen miles out. On the corps right, two regiments of Maj. Gen. Palk Sun Yup's ROK 1st Division supported by a company of American tanks advanced on T'aech'on, moving upstream on both sides of the Taeryong River over secondary roads that converged on the objective ten miles northwest. General Church's single regiment marched more than halfway to Chongju during the day, receiving only a little long range small arms fire from the hills north of Route 1 as it moved. Two platoons of Chinese infantry and a ditch that delayed the tanks were the only opposition to General Paik's forces, who established night defenses within four miles of T'aech'on.5

In the left half of the IX Corps zone, the 25th Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. William B. Kean, moved north astride the Kuryong River toward Unsan with two regiments and an armored force, Task Force Dolvin.6 General Kean's 35th and 24th Infantry Regiments on left and right, respectively, advanced four miles unopposed, while Task Force Dolvin in the middle moved seven miles along the east bank of the Kuryong, receiving only small arms fire as it covered the last mile. Four miles southeast of Unsan the Dolvin force recovered thirty members of the 8th Cavalry who had been captured at Unsan in early November and then released by the Chinese. Most were wounded and frostbitten.7

Maj. Gen. Laurence B. Keiser's 2d Division, at the IX Corps right, sought no sweeping first-day gains since it was already three miles ahead of the 25th Division. Rather than risk an open west flank, General Keiser ordered short moves by his line regiments, the 9th and 38th, to mass along the lower bank of the Paengnyong River, a westwardflowing tributary of the Ch'ongch'on.8

In the ROK II Corps zone, gains by the ROK 7th and 8th Divisions ranged from a quarter to a full mile but none at all against two enemy battalions dug in near the boundary between them. In one of the deeper gains, the 3d Regiment of the ROK 7th Division at the corps left came up to the Paengnyong River and tied in with the 38th Infantry of the 2d Division.9

Chongju and T'aech'on remained the immediate I Corps objectives on 25 November. Chongju, previously tagged as a probable center of enemy resistance, was empty when the 21st Infantry entered in midafternoon. In preparation for widening the 24th Division's advance, General Church meanwhile moved the 19th Infantry out on Route 1 to Napch'ongjong, eight miles behind Chongju.10 The ROK 1st Division, on the other hand, had found during the night that T'aech'on would be harder to take when Chinese supported by artillery and mortar fire counterattacked along the east bank of the Taeryong and forced part of General Paik's right regiment two miles to the rear. Although the Chinese lifted their attack after daylight, they allowed the South Koreans only to restore and improve slightly their previous position. Paik's forces west of the Taeryong held themselves to a small advance while those on the east regained lost ground. The division was still three miles short of T'aech'on at dark on the 25th.11

Encountering no organized enemy positions but receiving considerable long range small arms, machine gun, and mortar fire, the two IX Corps divisions gained two to four miles on the 25th. At that rate the 25th Division astride the Kuryong on the corps left was easily within a day's advance of Unsan. On the corps right, the 9th Infantry of the 2d Division moved two miles up the Ch'ongch'on valley, closing into positions split by the Ch'ongch'on with the bulk of the regiment on the west side of the river. The 38th Infantry meanwhile stayed at the Paengnyong except for patrols that searched above the river to cover the 9th's east flank.12

The ROK II Corps advanced one to two miles against opposition that varied in much the same pattern as on the previous day. The corps center continued to be a trouble spot, and at the far right, ten miles to the rear of the South Korean front, an enemy force tested the 16th Regiment of the ROK 8th Division protecting the corps and army east flank from positions some eight miles east of the village of Yongdong-ni. The force, presumably Chinese and possibly a reconnaissance unit since it was reported to include a hundred horse cavalrymen, struck the easternmost battalion of the 16th and lifted its attack only after forcing the South Koreans to withdraw two miles.13

Although the second day of advance had produced heavier enemy fire and local counterattacks, General Walker's forces had little reason to lose enthusiasm for their renewed offensive. All divisions had gained ground. In the I Corps zone, the 24th Division, having occupied Chongju, was on the Eighth Army's first phase line, and the ROK 1st Division was close to it. In the IX Corps zone, the 25th Division was not far from Unsan, and the 2d Division had made progress in the Ch'ongch'on valley. Despite rougher going in the Taebaek ridges farther east, the ROK II Corps also had pushed forward.

Casualties had not been heavy in any of the corps zones. The advance, moreover, was soon to be reinforced by the X Corps' attack from the east. Walker issued a single order on the 25th, one that shortened the final objective line of the ROK II Corps to conform with the 27 November attack by General Almond's forces. Otherwise, he intended that the Eighth Army would continue its advance on the 26th as originally conceived.14

The Eighth Army's optimism still hinged on the assumption that the Chinese had not tapped their large Manchurian reserve for offensive operations in Korea. Although the final army intelligence report on 25 November showed an increase in Chinese forces opposing the advance, the new figure stood at only 54,000, just 6,000 more than the pre-attack estimate. In reviewing possible enemy actions, army G-2 Tarkenton added only that he now expected enemy forces to employ local counterattacks in conjunction with their defense.15

The Chinese Attack

At dark on the 25th the 2d Division occupied a fifteen-mile front centered in the Ch'ongch'on valley twenty miles north of Kunu-ri. (Map 4) In the 9th Infantry sector at the division left, the companies of the 3d Battalion and all but one company of the 2d Battalion occupied separated positions atop the first ridges west of the Ch'ongch'on. The remainder of the regiment was east of the river on a line hooking southeastward from the Ch'ongch'on to the lower bank of the Paengnyong. Beyond a halfmile gap to the right of the 9th, the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 38th Infantry carried the division line along the south bank of the Paengnyong to the boundary with the ROK II Corps. After a daylight patrol, Company A of the reserve 1st Battalion was in perimeter two miles north of the Paengnyong.16

Two miles behind the 9th Infantry, the headquarters, tank company, and 1st Battalion of the 23d Infantry occupied a position arching from the lower bank of the Ch'ongch'on eastward across the valley road. Col. Paul L. Freeman, commander of the 23d, had taken these forces forward during the day under General Keiser's order to pass through the 9th Infantry on the 26th. When Keiser later postponed this change, Colonel Freeman held his remaining battalions near Kunu-ri and deployed his leading units behind the 9th, amid the firing positions of three artillery battalions supporting the division's advance.

Map 4. Battle of the Ch'ongch'on, 25-28 November 1950

Between dark and midnight two Chinese regiments struck the 9th Infantry in the Ch'ongch'on valley while a third hit the center of the 38th Infantry's Paengnyong position. Coming southeast from the area above the 25th Division, one enemy regiment advanced in several columns toward the two battalions of the 9th Infantry west of the Ch'ongch'on. Moving mostly over valley trails, the Chinese missed the 2d Battalion's hilltop positions, which were farthest north, but found either the front or flanks of the three separated companies of the 3d. At the sound of bugle signals, the Chinese in file changed formation for assaults that through the night gradually pressed the 3d Battalion toward the river.

Other columns of the same regiment infiltrated the gaps between companies and waded the cold Ch'ongch'on to hit the 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, and the 61st Field Artillery Battalion just north of Colonel Freeman's position.17 The strike startled the 61st into retreat, especially the members of Battery A, who, after their commander had been killed and all other battery officers wounded, abandoned both guns and vehicles. A few artillerymen withdrew eastward, but most of them, with Chinese following, moved south over the valley road through Colonel Freeman's position. Though the confused southward rush of American artillerymen and Chinese infantry complicated the defense, Freeman's forces eventually beat off the Chinese without losing ground. Seeking both cover from Freeman's fire and a position on which to reorganize, the Chinese pulled away and climbed a low but rugged mountain, called Chinaman's Hat, located northeast of Freeman and immediately below the rearmost position of the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry.

In company with the attack from the northwest, a second Chinese regiment struck south along the east side of the Ch'ongch'on. While some of its searching columns hit and hurt the Ist Battalion, 9th Infantry, another moved behind that battalion through the halfmile gap between the 9th and 38th Regiments. Part of the forces reaching the rear area overran the 1st Battalion command post and aid station, then climbed Chinaman's Hat to join the forces who had broken away from the 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry. Following this juncture, the Chinese moved off the Hat and again attacked Colonel Freeman's battalion, focusing this time on the refused right flank east of the valley road. Freeman lost part of his flank position but then shifted forces to the east and blocked the assault. Near dawn, the Chinese again withdrew to Chinaman's Hat.

Farther east, some of the Chinese entering the gap between regiments discovered and assaulted Company G, 38th Infantry, holding a detached position at the west end of the 38th's line. About 2330 a third enemy regiment opened an attack against the 38th's center, part of it surrounding and engaging Company A north of the Paengnyong, the bulk crossing the river to attack at the boundary between the 2d and 3d Battalions. Pressing frontal assaults against the central companies, F and L, the Chinese invested portions of the company positions, then called off their attack near 0230 after suffering heavy casualties.

Within two hours the Chinese renewed their attacks against the regimental center, this time forcing Companies F and L to withdraw. Their withdrawal, although short, isolated Companies I and K to the east. Col. George B. Peploe, the regimental commander, countered near dawn, attacking with his reserve 1st Battalion, less Company A but with Company C of the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion attached as the third rifle company. Starting from a point west of the enemy penetration and moving east into the Chinese flank, the 1st Battalion cleared the area sufficiently to permit Colonel Peploe to restore his central positions.

West of the 2d Division, Chinese also struck the 25th Division during the night, centering a small but sharp blow on Task Force Dolvin on the east side of the Kuryong. In a give-and-take battle that ran the course of the night and into the morning of the 26th, Colonel Dolvin's forces lost one of two hills at their forwardmost position.18

Although the 25th had not been hit in strength, General Kean canceled plans for continuing the advance on the morning of the 26th. Against a possible renewal of the attack at the division center, he merged the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, and all Dolvin elements except the ranger company (which withdrew from the front) into Task Force Wilson under Brig. Gen. Vennard Wilson, the assistant division commander.19

A half hour after noon the Chinese switched attention to the rightmost position of Col. John T. Corley's 24th Infantry, surrounding two companies of the regiment while they were receiving a supply airdrop in somewhat isolated positions at the east flank. Most members of the two units managed to slip out of the encirclement and withdraw eastward into the 2d Division sector. Against this new threat, Kean ordered the bulk of his reserve 27th Infantry to assemble behind the weakened position of the 24th. Leaving the 2d Battalion to back up Task Force Wilson, Col. John H. Michaelis, commander of the 27th, started the remainder of his regiment toward the right sector around midnight.20

In the 2d Division sector, General Keiser spent the 26th rebuilding his line in the Ch'ongch'on valley. Near dawn he authorized Col. Charles C. Sloane, commander of the 9th Infantry, to pull in the 2d Battalion, which, although it had survived the night without difficulty, was precariously separated from the remainder of the regiment. Colonel Sloane then established the entire regiment in a tight position facing generally northwest on high ground along the upper bank of the Ch'ongch'on. To compensate losses in the 3d Battalion the previous night, Keiser gave Sloane all but Company C of the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion for use as infantry.21

East of the Ch'ongch'on, Keiser assigned the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 23d Infantry to defend the ground just below Chinaman's Hat. While Colonel Freeman brought the 2d Battalion up from Kunu-ri into position at the right of the 1st, members of the 61st Field Artillery Battalion, at Keiser's order, returned to the position they had vacated during the night, just above Freeman, and recovered most of the equipment

they had left behind. As the other two artillery battalions that had been below Freeman already had done, the 61st then moved south to new and safer positions.22

Keiser gave his sole remaining reserve, the 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry, a blocking assignment behind Freeman's front, placing it a mile east of the valley road town of Kujang-dong on a lateral road leading to and serving as the main supply route for the 38th Infantry. Several times through the day Colonel Peploe had asked division to reinforce the 38th Infantry with part of the 23d. His central companies had been severely reduced by casualties; only a handful of Company A's men returned to the regimental line after fighting free of encirclement north of the Paengnyong, and Company G, after its engagement at the west end of the regimental line, counted no more than one officer and sixty men. But Keiser had judged the Ch'ongch'on valley to be the more critical area. Although Freeman's 3d Battalion could have been sent to Peploe, Keiser chose not to commit the last of his reserves to the line.23

Peploe thus was left to his own resources in defending his Paengnyong position. However he decided to hold his ground, he had to take into account that no north-south road served his sector. The only accessible road ran laterally close behind his forward units, westward to Kujang-dong and southeastward toward Tokch'on in the ROK II Corps sector. In setting a defense, he had to remain north of this road to insure the receipt of supplies and to hold open an exit route should a withdrawal be called.24

By noon Peploe knew that his problem was much greater than just holding a road-poor interior position with reduced forces. Fragmentary reports made it clear that the ROK II Corps had been under attack for some time, that the South Koreans were not holding their positions, and that the 38th Infantry was fast becoming the right flank unit not only of the 2d Division and the IX Corps but also of the Eighth Army.

The piecemeal information coming out of the ROK II Corps sector left obscure the exact chronology of the attacks against General Yu's forces. It appeared that during the previous night a Chinese regiment had skirted the 21st Regiment of the ROK 8th Division at the far right of the Eighth Army front and broken through the flank position of the division's 16th Regiment six miles east of Yongdong-ni. A stronger force of two regiments at the same time infiltrated the ROK front at the center of the 7th Division's position and at the boundary between the 7th and 8th Divisions. By 0800 on the 26th heavy enemy pressure had developed across the entire corps front except in the sector of the 3d Regiment on the west flank. By that hour the 8th Division's 21st Regiment on the corps east flank had given up its position and moved south to Yongdong-ni, and its 10th Regiment was withdrawing to the same area. Elsewhere, as reported at that hour by the IX Corps liaison officer with General Yu, "things are slightly confused."25

In the late morning hours the Chinese who had infiltrated the South Korean front moved ten miles south to Tokch'on, blocked the road serving as the main ROK supply route north and south of town, and trapped the 2d Regiment of the reserve ROK 6th Division inside. Another Chinese regiment attacked south between the 5th and 8th Regiments of the ROK 7th Division, inducing both to withdraw. Since the 8th Division already had left its position, the withdrawal of the ROK 7th's 5th and 8th Regiments left only the 3d Regiment on the original front. The 3d, too, soon vacated its left flank position and sought safety by sliding westward into the IX Corps sector behind the positions of the 38th Infantry.26

Thus, near noon of the 26th, the ROK II Corps front folded. General Yu attempted through the afternoon and evening to establish a new line between Tokch'on and Yongdong-ni but was defeated by broken communications, the confusion of the withdrawals, and continued enemy pressure. By dark the Chinese who had come through the center of the corps front fully controlled the Tokch'on area. The smaller group that had come in from the northeast had seized Yongdong-ni and moved south another four miles to the village of Maengsan. Yu planned next to defend Pukch'ang-ni, twelve miles south of Tokch'on, at the junction of roads leading south from Tokch'on and southwest from Maengsan. He intended to hold the Pukch'ang-ni area with the remaining strength of the ROK 6th Division and while holding his position there to reorganize his 7th and 8th Divisions as the remnants drifted south. But until and unless such a reorganization could be accomplished, the ROK II Corps could not be considered an effective force.27

After learning of the collapse of the ROK II Corps, Colonel Peploe bent the 38th Infantry's line. Retaining his 2d Battalion in its western position above the road to Kujang-dong, he pivoted the remainder of the regiment on Somindong, a village near the center of his sector, so as to form a horseshoe-shaped arc running from his existing left flank eastward to Somin-dong, then southeast along the high ground rising west of the road to Tokch'on. Peploe's forces completed this shift by 1800, thus securing the regimental supply route and refusing the Eighth Army's new right flank.28

Peploe's adjustment, of course, protected the flank only at the immediate front. As reports of the ROK II Corps failure reached army headquarters, General Walker moved against the possibility of deeper incursions from the northeast.

From Tokch'on and Maengsan, two roads entering the army rear were open to the Chinese, one leading west from Tokch'on to Kunu-ri, the other running deeper through Pukch'ang-ni to Sunch'on. To block the deeper route, Walker relieved the 1st Cavalry Division from protecting supply installations in the Kunu-ri and Sukch'on areas (substituting the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and Philippine 10th Battalion Combat Team for that mission) and ordered it into position at Sunch'on and along the road to the east. Division commander Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay scheduled the move to begin on the 27th.29

To deny the Tokch'on-Kunu-ri road, Walker instructed General Coulter to send the IX Corps reserve, the Turkish brigade, from Kunu-ri eastward over that road and to clear Tokch'on. Once Tokch'on was retaken, Coulter was to place the Turks in defense of the town and tie their positions to those of the 2d Division to the northwest. Coulter moved one battalion of Turks to Wawon, about ten miles east to Kunu-ri, before midnight and planned to assemble another battalion there by daylight. At that time the Turks were to start for Tokch'on. Since employing the Turkish brigade would leave Coulter with few uncommitted troops, Walker also ordered the British 27th Brigade transferred to Coulter from the I Corps and moved to Kunu-ri.30

While Walker was able to draw troops from the quieter I Corps sector, General Milburn was by no means free of the threat posed by the Chinese attacks. Although the 24th Division far out on Route 1 appeared to have an open road to the Yalu ahead of it, any advance would perch it on a limb that could be chopped off by a deep Chinese penetration farther east. Milburn therefore ordered General Church's attack to a halt. Church meanwhile committed his 5th Regimental Combat Team to the right of his two regiments on Route I in a gap between his division and the ROK 1st Division, created and widened as they had moved forward on divergent axes. This move protected against an enemy strike from the T'aech'on area, where General Paik's forces had spent a difficult day beating off several strong Chinese attacks.31

In less that twenty-four hours, Chinese attacks thus had achieved effects both wide and deep. The Eighth Army's advance had been brought to a full halt; the ROK II Corps had been knocked completely out of position and almost completely out of action; and along most of the army line, commanders had been obliged to redeploy forces in an attempt to prevent further Chinese gains. By the night of the 26th, however, no one at Eighth Army headquarters had concluded that the Chinese had opened a major offensive. There was concern over the collapse of the ROK II Corps and the possibility that the Chinese might exploit the South Korean withdrawals. The intelligence staff raised the estimate of Chinese strength opposite the Eighth Army from 54,000 to 101,000. But the prediction of the enemy's most likely course of action continued to be that the Chinese would "conduct an active defense in depth along present line employing strong local counterattack."32 In Tokyo, Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, the Far East Command G-2, tended to agree. Reporting to Washington around noon on the 26th, he stated that "should the enemy elect to fight in the interior valleys, a slowing down of the United Nations offensive may result."33 The Chinese, meanwhile, prepared to continue what they called their Second Phase Offensive.

The Second Phase Offensive

In opening the offensive on the night of the 25th, XIII Army Group commander Li T'ienyu had aimed his main attack at the IX Corps, in particular at the 2d Division, using units of the 39th and 40th Armies. In secondary attacks, forces of the 38th and 42d Armies had pushed the ROK II Corps out of position in the east while units of the 50th and 66th, mainly the latter, had launched assaults against the I Corps in the west. Li now planned to attack in greater strength. His western effort was to contain Milburn's forces while he continued his main attack against Coulter in the center, and he now planned to exploit the ROK II Corps' withdrawal and envelop the Eighth Army from the east.34

The XIII Army Group struck all along the Eighth Army line during the night of the 26th and through the 27th except on the west flank, where the 50th Army was under instructions to contain the 24th Division. Other than aerial observers' sightings of numerous enemy groups in the high land mass above the center of the 24th's sector, General Church's forces had no contact.35

At the I Corps right, Su Ching-huai, the 66th Army commander, struck hard at the ROK 1st Division in the T'aech'on area. Moving strong forces down the east side of the Taeryong River after dark on the 26th, Su quickly pushed the 11th Regiment out of position while a smaller force hit and penetrated the 12th Regiment west of the river. The 12th counterattacked and restored its position by daybreak, and General Paik committed the 15th Regiment to help the 11th on the east side of the Taeryong. But Su strengthened his attack through the 27th and forced the two ROK regiments east of the river to withdraw five miles.36

Su's attack posed a distinct threat to the 24th Division since its continuation conceivably could carry the 66th Army along the east side of the Taeryong through the 24th's rear area. Such a move would cut off General Church's troops, all west of the river. Against this possibility, Church on the 27th moved the 19th Infantry from Napch'ongjong northeastward to Pakch'on, where it would be centrally located in the corps sector on the east side of the Taeryong in good position to block to the north. He also pulled back the 21st Regiment from Chongju to Napch'ongjong.37

The 66th Army commander had had a good day, advancing five miles, forcing the commitment of the ROK 1st Division reserve, and inducing a rearward redeployment within the 24th Division. In addition, Su's forces advancing down the east side of the Taeryong had uncovered the left flank of the 35th Infantry and created an opportunity to envelop the 25th Division from the west. This open flank was only one of the problems facing the IX Corps: as the threat developed on the west, the 39th and 40th Armies pressed the main attack against the 25th and 2d Divisions from the north, and the 38th Army started west toward the 2d Division to exploit its previous successes against the ROK II Corps.

On the west wing of the main effort, the 39th Army attacked south astride the Kuryong River during the first hours of the 27th against the left and center of the 25th Division. The 117th Division of the 39th moved down the west side of the Kuryong toward the 35th Infantry while the 115th and 116th Divisions advanced against Task Force Wilson on the east side. Light forces leading the 117th drove in the 35th's outposts around 0300, and an hour later two regiments assaulted the 35th's main defenses. Supported by mortars and machine guns, the Chinese dented the regimental line but lost heavily- 374 Chinese bodies later were counted in front of the positionand broke off the engagement around 0800.38

East of the Kuryong, the leading forces of the 115th and 116th Divisions struck Task Force Wilson at the same hour that the 35th Infantry's outposts were hit. The initial assault carried some Chinese behind the task force line, and after first contact the Chinese increased their attack force to two full regiments.39

In response to the intensified assaults on the task force, General Kean ordered forward the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, assembled in reserve three miles behind Wilson's front. But before the 2d could move, some of the Chinese who had gotten in rear of Wilson's line reached the battalion's assembly area. The battalion held its own in the ensuing battle but was unable to move north. Others from the same enemy group bypassed the 2d and attacked the 8th Field Artillery Battalion in its firing position near the village of Ipsok, another mile south. Electing to withdraw, the artillerymen first lowered the tubes of their 105-mm. howitzers and fired point-blank into the attackers. The howitzer fire along with that of small arms and automatic weapons stalled the Chinese and enabled the battalion to disengage and move to new positions four miles to the south without losing equipment.40

Unlike the 117th Division west of the Kuryong, the two divisions on the east disregarded losses and launched repeated assaults against Task Force Wilson. Judging Wilson's position no longer tenable and wary of the threat of envelopment posed by the Chinese in the T'aech'on area, Kean in midmorning of the 27th ordered his division to withdraw four miles to an eastwest line running through lpsok. To strengthen his defense, he assigned the 27th Infantry, less the 2d Battalion, to a sector of the new line between Task Force Wilson and the 24th Infantry.41

General Wilson used the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, to cover the disengagement of his task force and by 1830 had his units in the new position. By that time the 35th and 24th Regiments on the flanks had completed their withdrawals, and Colonel Michaelis had taken his 27th infantry to its assigned sector. Having reached the Ipsok line, Kean once more had his left flank covered by the ROK 1st Division, and his forces were free, for the moment at least, of the punishing assaults of the 39th Army.42

On the east wing of the main attack, the 40th Army struck at several points along the 2d Division front. Shortly after dark on the 26th, Chinese forces came off Chinaman's Hat in a two-pronged assault on the 23d Infantry's position just east of the Ch'ongch'on. One prong penetrated the northeastern corner of Colonel Freeman's line and reached the regimental command post, forcing Freeman and his staff back to the 1st Battalion command post a quartermile south. Freeman counterattacked, using Company F, in regimental reserve, and the headquarters companies of the regiment and of both forward battalions. He regained the command post area but was driven out again almost immediately by fire from the surrounding high ground.43

Electing to await first light before attacking again, Freeman pulled all his forces south to positions around the 1st Battalion command post. At dawn the 1st and 2d Battalions returned to the former regimental headquarters area, found that the Chinese had withdrawn, and recovered most of the headquarters equipment intact. Through the remainder of the day, Freeman worked to reestablish his regiment in approximately the same position it had held the previous evening.44

An hour before midnight on the 26th, another strong force of Chinese attacked the 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry, near the center of the regimental line on the west side of the Ch'ongch'on. Supported by fire from mortars, 3.5inch rocket launchers, and recoilless rifles, the Chinese loosened the 2d Battalion from its position and pushed it against the west bank of the river. In disarray, and at the expense of some weapons and equipment, the battalion forded the river and entered the 23d Infantry's area about the time Freeman was making his first attempt to regain his command post site. As the battalion crossed, Colonel Sloane, the regimental commander, called down artillery fire on the area his men had vacated. The Chinese neither followed the battalion across the Ch'ongch'on nor turned their attack against any other of Sloane's units.45

After crossing the river, the men of the 2d Battalion regained some order and reassembled by midafternoon near Kujangdong. Though the battalion was by no means primed for further action, Colonel Sloane was obliged to recommit it to help protect his left flank, which had been made more susceptible to enemy attack by the 25th Division's withdrawal to Ipsok. By evening of the 27th the 2d Battalion again was on the west side of the Ch'ongch'on, this time at the extreme left of the regimental line.46

While Sloane and Freeman were able to concentrate on well-defined enemy attacks, Colonel Peploe to their right became embroiled in a melee in which the Chinese hit the 38th Infantry from several directions. The battle developed in a west-to-east pattern around the 38th's arch of position at Somin-dong, starting after dark on the 26th when Company C moved west to restore the former Company G position at the regimental left. The company had gone only part way when it was surrounded and split by Chinese coming from the northwest. Some of the Chinese passed by the encircled company, moved east between the front and the Kujangdong road, and attacked Companies F and L, still holding the regiment's central positions, from the rear. At the same time, the remainder of the 3d Battalion to the southeast came under intense and accurate small arms fire from the east.47

This action opened a series of confused engagements lasting the night and the daylight hours of the 27th. Units of the 40th Army launched hard assaults on the 38th Infantry from the north while forces of the 38th Army came out of the ROK II Corps sector in strong strikes from the east. Both attack groups, whose total strength was estimated as high as two divisions, tried, with some success, to work troops in behind Peploe's lines.48

As Chinese appeared behind the lines and as companies were penetrated or pushed back, Peploe dispatched whatever uncommitted force was available at a given moment to clear the rear area or plug a gap at the front. Battalions gradually lost identity as lettered companies became intermingled. Peploe used the ROK 3d Regiment for extra help. Instructions down the chain of command from army had given him control of the South Korean unit after it had sideslipped westward out of the ROK II Corps sector. Assisted by the 2d Reconnaissance Company, which halted most of the withdrawing South Koreans by blocking the Kujang-dong road not far behind the 38th's lines, Peploe assembled the bulk of the regiment and inserted it piecemeal in his arc of defenses.49

Notwithstanding these additional troops, Peploe lost ground on both the north and east, and in the afternoon of the 27th he ordered a withdrawal into the southwestern portion of the regimental sector. Executing a covered withdrawal, the 38th and ROK 3d Regiments at dusk occupied a perimeter two miles in diameter centered midway between Kujang-dong and Somin-dong. The new position allowed Peploe's men still to cover the Kujang-dong road, and the withdrawal gave them a respite from attack.50

General Keiser meanwhile decided that the 2d Division could improve its chances of stopping the Chinese by withdrawing into a shorter and tighter line centered on the Ch'ongch'on just above Kujang-dong and lying across a series of hilltops from a point three miles west of the river to a point four miles southeast of it. The 23d Infantry was to defend the left half of the line, including the east bank of the Ch'ongch'on, while the 38th Infantry refused the flank on the right. The 9th Infantry was to assemble in reserve, its bulk at Yongdamni five miles below Kujang-dong and one battalion at Pugwon another five miles south. Keiser ordered the move to the new line to begin the following day.51

The Threat of Envelopment

By nightfall on the 27th there was little question anywhere in the Eighth Army that the Chinese were on the offensive. The army G2, Colonel Tarkenton, hedged a bit, describing the simultaneous attacks across the army front and especially the strong daylight attacks against the 38th Infantry as having the "appearance" of a planned enemy offensive. To Col. John A. Dabney' the army G3, it was "evident that the UN offensive of 24 November had merely anticipated a similar full-scale enemy offensive by about two days."52

Plans for continuing the Eighth Army offensive were not yet canceled. But the adjustment of troop dispositions to block further Chinese gains was the order of the day. In the IX Corps sector, General Kean already had pulled the 25th Division to the Ipsok line and General Keiser had ordered the 2d Division to consolidate at
Kujang-dong. In the I Corps sector, General Milburn had drawn up orders for a five-mile withdrawal on the 28th by the 24th Division and ROK 12th Regiment so that he would have a more closely knit position on line with the remainder of the ROK 1st Division, which had been pushed back at the I Corps right.53

General Walker's attention was directed in particular to the threat of envelopment from the east. That the ROK II Corps could establish effective defenses at Puckch'angni was a forlorn hope. Although General Yu had recovered straggling troops of the ROK 7th and 8th Divisions, no organized units of the two divisions had reached the Pukch'angni area. Yu had new plans for establishing a delaying position at Pukch'ang-ni and a defensive perimeter three miles south of the town with the 7th and 19th Regiments of the ROK 6th Division. But since Yu's corps truly was defunct, General Walker revised his corps sector assignments on the evening of the 27th to give General Coulter's IX Corps responsibility for Yu's area.54

While widening Coulter's sector on the east, Walker reduced it on the west by attaching the 25th Division to the I Corps. He marked what had been the boundary between the 25th and 2d Divisions as the new boundary between the I and IX Corps and extended it south past Kunu-ri and Sunch'on, with the two towns and the connecting road resting in the IX Corps sector. To unify fully the effort to block enemy incursions from the northeast and east, he attached the 1st Cavalry Division to the IX Corps and directed General Yu to give Coulter his "most effective division, or composite . . . equivalent." With these adjustments, the IX Corps order of battle at dark on the 27th included the 2d Division, 1st Cavalry Division, Turkish brigade, British 27th Brigade, and the ROK 6th Division.55

General Gay meanwhile had placed two regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division east of Sunch'on. The 8th Cavalry was assembled at Sinch'ang-ni, twelve miles east of Sunch'on, and 7th Cavalry was in position astride the Sunch'on road at Kujong-ni, fifteen miles east and slightly north of Sunch'on. Gay's newest orders, received from Walker just before the division was attached to the IX Corps, called for a sevenmile advance on the 28th to the Pukch'angni area where the cavalrymen were to unite with the ROK 6th Division in blocking the road to Sunch'on.56

Northwest of the cavalry division, across twenty miles of ridges relieved only by a westward-flowing stretch of the Taedong River, the Turkish brigade blocked the Kunuri road from a position at Wawon. Early on the 27th the Turks, accompanied by a platoon of tanks from the 72d Tank Battalion, had started east from Wawon in accordance with Walker's previous orders to clear Tokch'on. But General Coulter, with Walker's approval, halted this move near midday after receiving several reports of an enemy regiment moving westward from the direction of Tokch'on. To forestall a meeting engagement between the untried Turks and the approaching enemy force, Coulter instructed the brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Tahsin Yasici, to place his unit in defenses seven miles east of Wawon. Misunderstanding Coulter's message, General Yasici turned his forces around and took them to positions astride the Kunu-ri road just east of Wawon. This left the Turks approximately where they had first assembled, ten miles east of Kunu-ri, and now eight miles south of the perimeter into which Colonel Peploe had drawn his 38th and ROK 3d Regiments.57

The position of the Turkish brigade, regardless of Yasici's error, and the positions of the 1st Cavalry Division and ROK 6th Division out along the Sunch'on road provided at least some protection against an envelopment by blocking the likely axes of enemy approach. By morning of' 28 November, in any case, General Walker's attention was diverted to his northern front where during the night and early morning hours his forces again absorbed strong attacks near Taech'on, in the Ch'ongch'on valley, and at the army east flank.

In the west, the 66th and 39th Armies teamed on attack southeast and south between the Taeryong and Kuryong rivers around midnight on the 27th. Each army drove toward Yongsan-dong, a village centered between the two rivers five miles behind the right of the ROK 1st Division and the left of the 25th Division. Situated at the intersection of roads serving the flank units of the two divisions, Yongsan-dong was a choice objective. Its seizure not only would cut both routes but also would give the Chinese access to good roads leading to Ch'ongch'on River crossings some fifteen miles to the south and southeast near Anju and Kunu-ri.

The 66th Army enjoyed rapid success against the reduced numbers of the ROK 11th and 15th Regiments. Attacking east and south, the army occupied Yongsan-dong and, before easing its attack near dawn, drove the South Koreans one to two miles below the village. The ROK ground loss, as on the day before, uncovered the left flank of the 25th Division. The flank was exposed at the same time that the 39th Army pushed a strong attack down the west side of the Kuryong against the 35th Infantry.

In response to both threats, General Kean ordered Col. Henry G. Fisher, commander of the 35th Infantry, to pull his regiment four miles southeast behind the Kuryong. This move would face the 35th to the northwest, thus would refuse the division's left flank, and since the new line crossed the road leading southeast from Yongsan-dong, would obstruct any Chinese attempt on Kunu-ri. After the Chinese assaults against the 35th subsided around daylight, the regiment started south, battalions in column, over a route leading through Yongsan-dong. Unaware that the Chinese had taken the village, the column was surprised by enemy fire. Casualties were not heavy, but a large number of vehicles was lost as the battalions fought through, and Colonel Fisher spent several hours reassembling his regiment near the village of Yongbyon east of the Kuryong. 58

The 39th Army also sent forces down the east side of the Kuryong against Task Force Wilson. By dawn Wilson had withdrawn from contact to a position immediately northeast of the 35th Infantry's new location. General Kean meanwhile moved the 27th Infantry to positions in line with and to the right of Wilson's force.59

The total result of the Chinese attacks against the I Corps through the night of the 27th was a wedge driven about five miles between the Taeryong and the Kuryong. Any deepening of the wedge portended the isolation of General Milburn's forces west of the Taeryong and the envelopment of those behind the Kuryong.
In the IX Corps sector, the 40th and 38th Armies repeated the pattern of their previous attacks by launching several regimental assaults against the 2d Division during the night and in the first daylight hours of the 28th. West of the Ch'ongch'on, two Chinese regiments concentrated on the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion and 1st Battalion of the 9th Infantry. Both battalions withdrew across the Ch'ongch'on. East of the river, three enemy regiments took turns hitting the 38th Infantry from the north and east, gradually forcing Colonel Peploe's forces toward Kujang-dong. As a total effect, the pressure from the northwest against the 9th Infantry and from the north and east on the 38th Infantry was folding the wings of the 2d Division's defense.60

Attacks against the 38th Infantry were still in progress at midmorning when General Walker radioed withdrawal orders to General Milburn and General Coulter. Electing to break contact long enough to organize more effective defenses, Walker instructed Milburn to occupy a bridgehead over the Ch'ongch'on from the mouth of the river north to Pakch'on, then east to the river. Coulter was to defend a line from Pugwon, on the lower bank of the Ch'ongch'on five miles above Kunu-ri, southeast to the village of T'aeul-li near the Eighth Army-X Corps boundary. The line cut all likely Chinese axes of advance, including a road passing through T'aeul-li which might be used in a deep strike at Pyongyang.61

The withdrawal was under way by midafternoon. In the I Corps sector, General Milburn used the ROK 1st Division as cover while the 24th and 25th Divisions moved back to the Ch'ongch'on bridgehead. General Paik employed his 11th and 15th Regiments in the covering operations while his 12th Regiment moved to a bridgehead sector from the east bank of the Taeryong to a point four miles due south of Yongsan-dong. Behind Paik's cover, the 24th Division withdrew easily. At the new line, the 21st Regiment refused the west flank from a semicircular position west of the Taeryong that blocked Route 1 at the left and touched the Taeryong at the right just opposite the ROK 12th Regiment. General Church assembled his remaining forces east of the Taeryong around Pakch'on. 62

At the I Corps right, General Kean broke contact with the 39th Army by pulling the 25th Division some two miles south. Dissolving Task Force Wilson, he faced all three regiments to the north astride the Kuryong. The 35th Infantry returned to the west side of the river and occupied positions adjoining those of the ROK 12th Regiment. Eastward from the Kuryong to a point just short of the west bank of the Ch'ongch'on opposite Pugwon, the 27th and 24th Regiments barred the road leading southward from Yongbyon to the Ch'ongch'on crossing three miles below their position and to Kunu-ri seven miles south. 63

At nightfall on the 28th, as the I Corps completed its occupation of the Pakch'on-Pugwon sector of the new army line, the South Koreans covering the withdrawal were still forward between the Taeryong River and Yongsan-dong. The two regiments had fought off forces of the 66th Army through most of the day, the 15th Regiment actually managing to regain the Yongsan-dong crossroads. General Paik kept them where they were, instructing them to withdraw to the bridgehead after daylight on the 29th. 64

In the IX Corps sector, General Coulter directed the 2d Division to delay the Chinese as long as possible as it withdrew to positions between Pugwon and the Turkish brigade at Wawon. Coulter attached the Turks to General Keiser to unify control in the Pugwon-Wawon sector and, as a final feature of the corps withdrawal, moved the reserve British 27th Brigade from Kunu-ri to Chasan, five miles south of Sunch'on, where it would be centrally located to assist either the 2d Division or the 1st Cavalry Division. The cavalrymen were to advance up the Sunch'on road, not withdraw, to join the ROK 6th Division in defenses near Pukch'ang-ni. For the time being, Coulter issued no instructions for placing troops far out to the east at T'aeul-li. 65

General Keiser planned to occupy his new sector by placing the 9th Infantry temporarily at Pugwon and the 38th Infantry and ROK 3d Regiment about four miles north and northeast of Kunu-ri between the 9th Infantry and the Turks at Wawon. The 23d Infantry and the 72d Tank Battalion were to cover these moves and fight a delaying action as they themselves withdrew. The 23d, once it reached Pugwon, was to relieve the 9th Infantry, and the 9th, now severely reduced by casualties, was then to go into division reserve. 66

Keiser was unable to get all of his units into their new positions on the 28th because of the time consumed in moving four regiments down the Ch'ongch'on valley road. Much of the time the road between Kujang-dong and Kunu-ri was the scene of a tight traffic jam.

The 38th and ROK 3d Regiments led the withdrawal. Breaking away from Chinese pressing from the north and east, Colonel Peploe took his forces west to Kujang-dong, then south to an assembly about a mile east and slightly south of Kunu-ri. Since it was then 2000, he elected to await daylight before occupying his new positions above Kunu-ri.

Behind Peploe, the 9th Infantry recrossed the Ch'ongch'on onto the valley road and marched south to Pugwon, arriving about 2300. From Pugwon, Colonel Sloane deployed his 1st Battalion on the west side of the Ch'ongch'on opposite the town and to the immediate right rear of the 24th Infantry, 25th Division. Below the river, Sloane's 3d Battalion occupied high ground a mile south of Pugwon and the 2d Battalion blocked the valley road from positions a mile above town.

At the tail of Peploe's column and again at the rear of Sloane's forces, Colonel Freeman had tacked on a battalion of the 23d Infantry. In preparation for relieving the 9th Infantry, these two battalions assembled two miles below Pugwon. Freeman's remaining forces, the 1st Battalion and the 72d tankers, brought up the division rear, fighting off Chinese who sensed Keiser's move and began trailing the slow withdrawal. Company A, Freeman's rear guard, deployed at least five times against enemy assaults. With 40th Army troops close behind, Freeman's infantry and armored troops passed behind the 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry, at 2330.

Keiser planned to complete his deployment between Pugwon and Wawon after daylight on the 29th, but events dictated otherwise. The 40th Army forces that had trailed the division's withdrawal began pushing the 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry, behind Pugwon around midnight. At the opposite end of the division line, the Turkish brigade completed a three-mile withdrawal to the village of Sinnim-ni just before midnight following a series of engagements with forces of the 38th Army at Wawon.67

Though General Yasici had held his ground against the Chinese, he chose to withdraw west to Sinnim-ni at dark- a move that did not conform with orders for a new line through Wawon. A lack of communications explained this second instance in which Turk tactics were contrary to instructions. When General Coulter sent the Turks toward Tokch'on, the brigade had direct contact with Coulter's headquarters by radio and wire. But similar connections did not exist between Keiser's headquarters and the Turks when the latter were attached to the 2d Division. Neither Yasici nor his advisers knew of the brigade's attachment to the 2d Division until very late on the 28th, and their wire and radio contacts with corps were out at the time Yasici ordered the withdrawal to Sinnim-ni.68

Not long after midnight, 38th Army forces reached Sinnim-ni and reopened their assaults against the Turks. Hence, both Wawon and Pugwon, the anchor points of the line assigned to the 2d Division, were gone. General Keiser's alternative would be to organize defenses closer to Kunu-ri, how close depending on the outcome of the continuing attacks on both flanks.

Southeast of the Turks, General Gay moved none of his cavalrymen forward to the ROK 6th Division's position three miles below Pukch'angni. Although Gay had been instructed to do so on the 28th, he elected to wait until the 5th Cavalry, then marching south out of the Kunu-ri area, completed its move into the division's sector.

The 5th Cavalry had started that morning, moving south over a road from Kaech'oh, five miles east of Kunu-ri. Near the village of Samsori, seven miles below Kaech'on, about a hundred Chinese in the bordering high ground opened small arms and machine gun fire on the intelligence and reconnaissance platoon leading the regiment. Only the platoon sergeant and three men escaped. The 2d Battalion, following the platoon, deployed in the high ground on both sides of the road and attacked south to clear the enemy block but encountered an even larger force and failed to advance. Reforming on the road, the cavalrymen bypassed the enemy roadblock and proceeded toward Sunch'on. Because of this entanglement at Samso-ri, the regiment was still assembling near Sunch'on long after dark on the 28th.69

As a result of Gay's decision to wait for the 5th, the 7th Cavalry, earmarked to join the South Koreans below Pukch'ang-ni, stood fast at Kujong-ni, seven miles below the ROK position. The regiment was now to move forward on the 29th. The 5th Cavalry meanwhile was to organize defenses north of Sunch'on, and the 8th Cavalry was to move from Sinch'ang-ni to Songch'on and block the area's main lateral road, which passed through Songch'on and reached P'yongyang.70

Gay's delay in reinforcing the ROK 6th Division below Pukch'ang-ni, the Turk withdrawal from Wawon, and the loss of Pugwon in the Ch'ongch'on valley all worked against the rather high hopes General Walker held for the line he had delineated. While calling for the withdrawal to that line, he also had instructed his forces to prepare for "the Eighth Army resumption of offensive at early date."71 With a bridgehead over the Ch'ongch'on and with all main roads blocked, he hoped that he could turn back the Chinese and then revitalize his own march to the border.

Any such achievement, even of turning back the Chinese, began to appear doubtful long before the IX Corps' problems arose. By midday Walker had ample evidence of a strong Chinese push toward Sunch'on. Aerial observers saw at least four enemy regiments pass southward through Pukch'ang-ni toward the ROK 6th Division's position below town. In the hills five miles southeast of Pukch'ang-ni they saw what they believed to be two thousand enemy cavalrymen, and they reported another enemy force to be moving north from Songch'on toward the 7th Cavalry at Kujongni. Although a sortie by General Gay's 16th Reconnaissance Company revealed no large force in the Songch'on area, the reconnaissance troops did discover and kill ten enemy soldiers in the town.72

Against this growing threat of a deep envelopment, Walker ordered General Milburn to transfer all but one regiment of the 24th Division to the IX Corps and to dispatch it to Sunch'on as soon as all I Corps forces reached the bridgehead line to which they were then withdrawing. To compensate this reduction of Milburn's forces, Walker alerted the British 29th Brigade for a northward move to Anju and attachment to the I Corps.73

The Turkish brigade's engagements with 38th Army forces at Wawon made it clear that the northern wing of the XIII Army Group's enveloping force was headed for Kunu-ri. From all the evidence reaching the army G-2 on the 28th, Colonel Tarkenton judged that the Chinese would sustain their pressure against Kunu-ri and would attempt to envelop the Eighth Army via the Sunch'on road. He placed in a "maybe" category a deep enemy strike at Pyongyang through Songch'on. The possibility of these maneuvers was increased by the findings of observers flying over enemy territory above Tokch'on. In that area they sighted a "continuous train" of enemy troops moving south in small groups through gullies, down ridgelines, and over all roads and trails.74 The commander of the XIII Army Group obviously knew the maxims of offensive operations. Having gained an advantage over Walker by turning the Eighth Army's east flank, he now was hurriedly reinforcing his effort in the zone where so far he had achieved the greatest success.

Tarkenton's conclusions were almost exactly what the enemy group commander had in mind. Li indeed was shifting the emphasis of his attack from a penetration of the Eighth Army line in the Ch'ongch'on valley to the exploitation of his gains in the former ROK II Corps sector. His 42d Army, in greater strength, was swinging southwest toward Sunch'on, and the bulk of his 38th Army was now headed for Kunu-ri, from the east and northeast.75

The 5th Cavalry's engagement with the roadblock at Samso-ri introduced an important feature of Li's plans. The cavalrymen estimated the force they had encountered at anywhere from a battalion to a regiment, but even the top estimate was only half what the Chinese intended to emplace there. When the 38th Army had turned west to exploit the collapse of the ROK II Corps, Li had ordered the entire army to occupy the Samso-ri area and cut off UNC forces withdrawing via roads leading south out of Kunu-ri. Colonel Peploe's quick action in turning the 38th Infantry to refuse the army flank and General Walker's employment of the Turkish brigade at Wawon apparently had pulled most of the 38th away. On the 28th, in any event, just two regiments of the 113th Division remained under orders to block the roads below Kunu-ri. But two regiments in a well-set ambuscade could raise havoc with any withdrawing Eighth Army column, and their most likely victim, since it probably would move south from Kunu-ri in any future withdrawal, was the 2d Division.76

General Walker, understandably, was not particularly concerned at the moment over one roadblock that had troubled one regiment. As the situation stood late on the 28th, the chances that the Chinese pushing in from the east could capture Kunu-ri and Sunch'on were good. Walker's problem and larger interest therefore was to prevent the Chinese from isolating the bulk of the Eighth Army by cutting westward across its rear. The obvious answer was a withdrawal, one deep enough to take the Eighth Army below the Chinese thrusts from the east.


1 Eighth Army PIRs 118-135, 7-24 Nov 50.

2 Eighth Army Opn Plan 15, 14 Nov 50; Eighth Army WD, Sum, Nov 50; Fox, "Inter-Allied Cooperation During Combat Operations"; Eighth Army G3 Situation Overlay, 23 Nov 50; I Corps POR 216, 23 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, vol. II, an. 3, Nov 50.

3 Eight Army Opn Plan 15, 14 Nov 50; Eighth Army WD, Sum, Nov 50; Fox, "Inter-Allied Co-operation During Combat Operations."

4 Eighth Army WD, Nar, Nov 50; I Corps Opn O 4, 18 Nov 50; I Corps Opn Dir 23, 19 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn Plan 3, 18 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn Dir 8, 20 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn Dir 9, 23 Nov 50; ROK Opn Plan 5 (Overlay), and Rpt of Staff Visit to II ROK Corps on 23 Nov 50, both in IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts, Nov 50.

5 Eighth Army PIR 135, 24 Nov 50; I Corps PORs 219 and 220, 24 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, Nov 50; 24th Div 0170, 19 Nov 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpts 138 and 139, 23 and 24 Nov 50.

6 The task force, led by Lt. Col. Welborn G. Dolvin, commander of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion, included Company B, the Assault Gun Platoon, and the Reconnaissance Platoon of the 89th; the 25th Reconnaissance Company; Company E, 27th Infantry; Company B, 35th Infantry; and the 8213th Ranger Company.

7 25th Div OI 18, 20 Nov 50; 25th Div Opn O 15, 21 Nov 50; 25th Div WD, 24 Nov 50; 25th Div Nar Rpt, Nov 50; 35th Inf Opn O 19, 22 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nov 50; 35th Inf Unit Rpt 43, 24 Nov 50; 24th Inf Opn O 20, 22 Nov 50; 24th Inf WD, 24 Nov 50; 24th Inf Unit Rpt 54, 24 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts, Entries 1479 and 1491, Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot Rpts, Entry 241915 Nov 50, Interrogation of Released U.S. PW (Capt Ray J. Yantis).

8 2d Div Opn O 10, 20 Nov 50; 2d Div WD, Nar, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 23-24 Nov 50; 38th Inf Opn O 20, 22 Nov 50; 38th Inf Nar Sum, Nov 50; 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50, Incl H.

9 Eighth Army POR 406, 24 Nov 50; IX Corps Sit Overlay, 242400 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts, Entry 1535, 24 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, Entry 113, 24 Nov 50.

10 I Corps Opn Dir 24, 241800 Nov 50; I Corps POR 222, 25 Nov 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpt 140, 25 Nov50.

11 I Corps POR 222, 25 Nov 50.

12 25th Div WD, 25 Nov 50; 35th Inf WD, Nar, Nov 50; 35th Inf Unit Rpt 44, 25 Nov 50; 24th Inf Unit Rpt 55, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 60, 25 Nov 50; 2d Div WD, Nar, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Activ Rpt, Nov 50; 2d Div G3, Jn1, Entry 32, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps POR 183, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army POR 408, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Entry 1525, 25 Nov 50.

13 Eighth Army POR 409, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Entry 1955, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army PIR 136, 25 Nov 50; Eighth Army G2 SS Rpt, Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Briefing for CG, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 60, 25 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts, Entry 1607, 25 Nov 50.

14 Eighth Army G1 SS Rpt, 25 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30007 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 25 Nov 50.

15 Eighth Army PIR 136, 25 Nov 50.

16 The account of the opening enemy attacks against the 2d Division is based on the following sources: IX Corps G2 Spot Rpts 2990, 2997, and 3026, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div PIR 68, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jul, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div Arty WD, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div Arty POR 94, 26 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, Entry 15, 26 Nov 50; 9th Inf Hist, Nov 50; 9th Inf PIR 75, 26 Nov 50; 1st Bn, 9th Inf, WD, Nov 50; 2d Bn, 9th Inf', Unit Jnl 26 Nov 50; 3d Bn, 9th Inf, Nar Diary, 25 Nov 50; 23d Inf', Nar Sum, Nov 50; 23d Inf WD, Nov 50; 38th Inf' Comd Rpt, Nov 50; General Charles D. Palmer, MS review comments, 1985. General Palmer was the division artillery commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at the time of the action.

17 The 61st Field Artillery Battalion was a 1st Cavalry Division unit that had been attached to the 2d Division to provide additional direct support to the 9th Infantry.

18 25th Div WD, 25-26 Nov 50; 25th Div PORs 64 and 65, 26 Nov; 25th Div PIR 150, 26 Nov 50.

19 25th Div WD, 26 Nov 50; 25th Div 0120,26 Nov 50.

20 25th Div WD, 26 Nov 50; 25th Div 0 121, 26 Nov 50; 24th Inf WD, 26 Nov 50; 1st Bn, 24th Inf, WD, 26 Nov 50; 27th Inf Hist Nar, Nov 50; 27th Inf Unit Rpt 82, 26 Nov 50.

21 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 9th Inf Hist Nar, Nov 50.

22 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div Arty S3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 23d Inf, Nar Sum, Nov 50; 23d Inf WD, Nov 50.

23 2d Div WD, Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

24 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

25 Eighth Army WD, G3 SS Rpt, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army POR 410, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 61, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot Rpt 2982, 252255 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpt , 1692, 260800 Nov 50.

26 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, Briefing for CG, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 61, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps PIR 62, an. 2, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50.

27 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot Rpt 3050, 261505 Nov 50.

28 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

29 Rad, GX 30017 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG 1st Cav Div et al., 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army POR 412, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 26 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50.

30 Rad, GX 30019 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps, 26 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30022, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 26 Nov 50.

31 24th Div WD, 26 Nov 50; I Corps POR 225, 26 Nov 50.

32 Eighth Army PIR 137, 26 Nov 50.

33 Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 274.

34 USAFFE Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53.

35 Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 27 Nov 50.

36 I Corps PIR 73, 27 Nov 50; I Corps PORs 227 and 228, 27 Nov 50.

37 Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 27 Nov 50.

38 25th Div PIR 131, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div PORs 67 and 68, 27 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nar, Nov 50.

39 25th Div WD, Nov 50; 25th Div PIR 131, 27 Nov 50.

40 Ibid.; 25th Div PORs 67 and 69, 27 Nov 50; 27th Inf Hist Nar, Nov 50.

41 25th Div WD, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div OI 22, 27 Nov 50.

42 25th Div POR 68, 27 Nov 50; 25th Div G3 Activ Rpt, 27 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nar, Nov 50; 24th Inf Unit Rpt 57, 27 Nov 50; 27th Inf Unit Rpt 82, 27 Nov 50; 2d Bn, 27th Inf, Unit Jnl, 27 Nov 50.

43 23d Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 23d Inf S3 Jnl, 26-27 Nov 50; 2d Div G2 Msg File, Msg 1341, 27 Nov 50.

44 Ibid.

45 2d Div WD, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div POR 342, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, Entry 197, 26 Nov 50, and Entries 1, 3, 7, 16, 17, and 22, 27 Nov 50; 2d Bn, 9th Inf, Unit Jnl, 26 and 27 Nov 50.

46 Ibid.

47 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

48 IX Corps PIR 62, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G2 Spot Rpts 3108 and 3172, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpt 1830, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26-27 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

49 Eighth Army POR 412, 26 Nov 50; IX Corps G3 Spot Rpt 1757, 26 Nov 50; 2d Div POR 342, 27 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jnl, 26 Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

50 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; Sit Overlay with 2d Div POR 342, 27 Nov 50.

51 2d Div Opn O 11, 27 Nov 50.

52 Eighth Army PIR 138, 27 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50.

53 I Corps Opn Dir 25, 27 Nov 50.

54 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30039 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 27 Nov 50.

55 Ibid.

56 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30039 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to C/S ROKA et al., 27 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30038 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG 1st Cav Div, 27 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 21-30 Nov 50; 7th Cav Regt Hist Rpt, Nov 50.

57 Eighth Army G3 Jnl, 27 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 27 Nov 50; Rad, IXACT-396, CG IX Corps to Sn Adv 1st TAFC, 27 Nov 50; Rad, IXACT-390, CG IX Corps to CG 1st TAFC, 27 Nov 50.

58 I Corps PORs 230 and 231, 28 Nov 50; I Corps PIR 74, 28 Nov 50; I Corps Intel Sum 222, 28 Nov 50; 25th Div POR 70, 28 Nov 50; 35th Inf Hist Rpt, Nar, Nov 50; 1st Bn, 35th Inf, WD 28 Nov 50; 2d Bn, 35th Inf, WD, 27-28 Nov 50; 3d Bn, 35th Inf, Nar of Opns, Nov 50.

59 25th Div POR 70, 28 Nov 50; 27th Inf S3 Jul, 27-28 Nov 50.

60 2d Div PIR 70, 28 Nov 50; 1st Bn, 9th Inf, Nar Diary, Nov 50; 2d Engr Bn, Unit Hist Rpt, Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50.

61 Eighth Army G3 SS Rpt, 28 Nov 50; Eighth Army PIR 139, 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30051 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50; I Corps Opn Dir 26, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps Opn O 5, 28 Nov 50; 25th Div 0123, 28 Nov 50; 2d Div Opn O 12, 18 Nov 50; I Corps POR 231, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps POR 192, 28 Nov 50.

62 I Corps Opn Dirs 26 and 27, 28 Nov 50; I Corps PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50; 24th Div WD, Nov 50.

63 I Corps PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50; 25th Div WD, Nov 50.

64 I Corps PORs 231 and 232, 28 Nov 50.

65 IX Corps Opn O 5, 28 Nov 50; IX Corps WD, 28 Nov 50.

66 The account of the 2d Division operations on 28 November is based on the following sources: 2d Div Opn O 12, 28 Nov 50; 2d Div WD, Nov 50; Hist, 9th Inf. Nov 50; Comd Rpt, 23d Inf', Nov 50; 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Nov 50; 72d Tk Bn Comd and Unit Hist Rpt, Nov 50.

67 At least one of the Wawon engagements proved to have been a case of mistaken identity when 125 "prisoners" sent to the rear by the Turks turned out to be members of the ROK 6th and 7th Divisions. The South Koreans apparently moved west after being squeezed out of Tokch'on and blundered into the Turks either ahead of or amidst the Chinese assaults on the brigade. See IX Corps G2 Spot Rpts 3252, 28 Nov 50, and 3301, 29 Nov 50; 2d Div G3 Jul, 28 Nov 50; 2d Div G2 Jul, Entry J-1447, 28 Nov 50; Mono, "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 November 1950-13 December 1950," copy in CMH.

68 "Turkish U.N. Brigade Advisory Group, 20 Nov13 Dec 50."

69 5th Cav WD, 28 Nov 50; 5th Cav S2-S3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50.

70 IX Corps G3 Spot Rpts 1962 and 1971, 28 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div POR 378, 28 Nov 50; 7th Cav Hist Rpt, Nov 50; 8th Cav G3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50.

71 Rad, GX 30051 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50.

72 Eighth Army PIR 139, 28 Nov 50; Eighth Army G3 Jnl 28 Nov 50; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl 28 Nov 50.

73 Rad, GX 30051 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 36053 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al:, 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30061 KGOO, C(; Eighth Army to CO 29th Brit Brig, 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30068 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 28 Nov 50; Rad, GX 30068 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 28 Nov 50.

74 Eighth Army PIR 139, 28 Nov 50.

75 FEC Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 115 Feb 53.

76 5th Cav WD, 28 Nov 50; 5th Cav S2-S3 Jnl, 28 Nov 50; FEC Intel Dig, vol. 1, no. 4, 1-15 Feb 53.

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