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National Defense and the United States Army

It has become almost a truism that nations inevitably try to prepare for the war they have just won. Except for substituting the Soviet Union in the role of chief adversary the United States pursued a course between 1946 and 1950 that appeared to lend credence to this theory. American military planning in these years was shaped largely by World War II experience and the priority afforded to Europe over the Pacific and Far East. In 1950 the defense of western Europe still held first claim on American military resources, and plans were devoted almost exclusively to general war. Furthermore, reflecting its coalition effort, the United States sought to strengthen nations that might be helpful to it in any crisis with the Soviet Union, its most likely opponent in a time of increasing frictions throughout the world.

The Soviet Union and its allies were apparently superior to the United States and its allies in conventional military strength, for except in nuclear weapons the United States military power dropped sharply in the postwar years. Russia, on the other hand, kept powerful military forces in being and strengthened and modernized those of its satellite nations. Thus, the United States was resolved to contain Russian influence and prevent threats to world peace and the independence and stability of other nations by resorting to collective security arrangements and acting through the United Nations.

Beginning in 1948, the United States gave military assistance to a number of friendly nations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, to enable them to resist communist encroachment and, if necessary, to join effectively with the United States in any war with the communist bloc of nations. More significant was United States sponsorship of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which in April 1949 bound the United States, Canada, and ten nations of western Europe together to prevent the communist seizure of western Europe. As the most powerful single nation in NATO, the United States assumed a considerably enlarged obligation in Europe.

The successful explosion by the Soviet Union of a nuclear device in September 1949 nullified to some extent the American atomic advantage and intensified efforts by the United States Government to build stronger collective security arrangements. But this event came too late to affect specific defense plans in 1950.

Strategic planning after World War II was carried on at the joint level and approved by the President. Within the joint plans, each military service prepared its own war and emergency plans. By 1950, broad national military policy called for meeting an all-out Russian attack with a strategic offensive in western Eurasia and a strategic defensive in the Far East.

The Army's Place in the National Defense Structure

The Secretary of the Army, appointed by the President, directed the activities of the Army. The Chief of Staff, the top military man, advised the Secretary and acted for him in carrying out approved Army plans. The Army staff in Washington, D.C., responsible to the Chief of Staff, planned and supported Army operations and activities throughout the world. The Chief of Army Field Forces, stationed at Fort Monroe, Virginia, conducted the training of Army units. [1]

The President, as Commander in Chief of all the military forces, exercised his control through a chain of command extending downward through the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the commanders of certain unified and specified commands. The Secretary of Defense, a member of the President's Cabinet, was responsible for directing the services and for advising the President on military matters. Under his jurisdiction the Army, Navy, and Air Force were organized into separate departments. [2]

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, composed of

[1] (1) For detailed explanation of changes in Army organization just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, see Analysis and Explanation of Army organization bill, DA, Feb. 50. (2) The Secretary of the Army was served by an under secretary, two assistant secretaries, and such Army personnel as required. The Chief of Staff's immediate military assistants in 1950 included the vice chief of staff, two deputy chiefs of staff, a comptroller, four assistant chiefs of staff, and a secretary of the general staff. The relationship between the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff kept the Army under civilian control while leaving as much latitude as possible for military planning and operations by the military experts. The Chief of Staff and his deputies coordinated and controlled the operations of the Army at home and abroad as well as planning for future operations. The chain of authority from the Secretary of the Army through the Chief of Staff extended to the Chief, Army Field Forces, to the army commanders in the continental United States, and to the various army commanders overseas. The continental United States was divided into six continental army areas and the Military District of Washington.

[2] The powers and authorities of the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force were much less than those enjoyed by their World War II predecessors, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. The Secretary of Defense was an important member of the National Security Council (NSC), a body which had also been established in postwar years, and which was charged with advising the President on the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to national security and with seeking the most effective coordination among the services and other government agencies in areas involving national security. For details of membership, functions, and responsibilities of the Department of Defense and of the National Security Council, see: National Security Act, 1947, PL 253, 80th Congress, 27 Jul. 47; National Security Act Amendments, 1949, PL 216, 81st Congress, 10 Aug. 49: Timothy W. Stanley, American Defense and National Security (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1956); Truman, Memoirs, II, 58-60; Statement, Gen. George C. Marshall, MacArthur Hearings, pp. 583-84; Wilber W. Hoare, Jr., "Truman (1945-1953)", in Ernest R. May, ed., The Ultimate Decision, The President as Commander in Chief (New York: George Braziller, 1960).

the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; Chief of Naval Operations, and a chairman appointed by the President, comprised the top advisory body in the United States Government composed exclusively of military men. They were designated by law as the principal military advisers to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. Subject only to the authority of the President and the Secretary of Defense, the JCS was specifically charged with the preparation of strategic plans and strategic direction of the military forces; the preparation of joint logistic plans and the assignment of logistic responsibility; review of the major requirements of military forces in the light of prepared plans; and the establishment of unified commands in strategic areas. [3]

After World War II, American armed forces in major overseas areas were brought under the operational control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through the formal establishment of unified commands, which included contingents of all the military services. Operating under the strategic direction of the JCS, each of these commands was directly supervised by a particular chief of staff who acted as the executive agent of the JCS. In 1950 the major overseas unified commands established by the JCS were the Far East Command, the Alaskan Command, the Caribbean Command, the Pacific Command, and the European Command. Within each of these, individual service commanders commanded the forces of their respective services- Army, Navy, or Air Force-but they were under the over-all supervision of a designated commander in chief from one of the services, and he was named by and responsible to the JCS.

Army Strength and Deployment-1950

In June 1950, the strength of the active Army stood at about 591,000 and included ten combat divisions. About 360,000 troops were stationed within the zone of the interior (ZI). The remaining 231,000 were disposed in overseas commands, most of them performing occupation duties. The largest group overseas (about 108,500) was located in the Far East. In Europe, approximately 80,000 U.S. soldiers were stationed in Germany, 9,500 in Austria, and 4,800 in Trieste. Slightly more than 7,000 were assigned to the Pacific area and about 7,500 to Alaska. In the Caribbean were about 12,200 troops. Several thousand more were assigned to military missions throughout the world. [4]

[3] In their capacities as members of the JCS, the individual members represented the entire military establishment and not their respective services. The Secretary of the Army, for example, had no direct control over the Chief of Staff of the Army in the latter's role as a member of the JCS. The chairman of the JCS had no vote, but presided over the meetings and deliberations of the body. He frequently represented the entire membership before the President, the NSC, and the Secretary of Defense. Although not a member of the NSC, the chairman of the JCS usually accompanied the Secretary of Defense to the meetings of the NSC and explained or defended the views of the JCS, sometimes against the opposition of the Secretary of Defense. For details of the composition, functions, and responsibilities of the JCS in 1950, see National Security Act 1947, PL 253, sec. 211B, 80th Congress; National Security Amendments, 1949, PL 216, 51st Congress; Stanley, American Defense and National Security; MacArthur Hearings, p. 904; Hoare, "Truman (1945-1953), pp. 185-94.

[4] (1) STW 1037, Weekly Estimate of Army Command Strength as of 26 June 1950, 2 Jul. 50, AGO Stat and Acc Br, copy in G-3 Deployments Br. (2) These figures are at slight variance with those [Continued on next page.]

The force designated to carry out the Army's emergency assignments was called the General Reserve. Except for one regimental combat team (RCT) in Hawaii, this force consisted of five combat divisions and certain smaller units in the continental United States. [5] The major General Reserve units on 25 June 1950 were the 2d Armored Division, 2d Infantry Division, 3d Infantry Division, 82d Airborne Division, 11th Airborne Division (- 1 RCT), 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, 5th RCT (located in Hawaii), and 14th RCT. In addition, there

[Continued from previous page] contained in STM-30, Strength Report of the Army, X July 1950, which gives the following data on Army forces as of 30 June 1950: Total Strength 591,487; Zone of Interior 347,224; Overseas Strength 244,263. (3) Total strength in both compilations excludes the cadet corps at the Military Academy,

[5] For precise definition of General Reserve, see SR 320-5-1, Dictionary of United States Army Terms, Aug. 50. See also Directory and Station List, U.S. Army, 30 Jun. 50, copy in OCMH.

were smaller combat support and service support units. [6]

Besides the General Reserve in the United States and Hawaii, four tactical divisions and one RCT were located in the Far East Command. In Europe the Army maintained one tactical division, one RCT, three cavalry regiments, and one separate infantry regiment. One infantry battalion was in Alaska, and two separate regiments were in the Caribbean area. [7]

The authorized strength of the Army, as opposed to its actual strength, was 630,201. Budget planning in the spring of 1950 contemplated a reduction of this figure to 610,900. The proposed cut would have eliminated one of the Army's ten tactical divisions; specifically, it would have reduced the number of divisions in the FEC from four to three. [8]

The strength of the United States Army in 1950 was much less than American military leaders wished. But government economies in the aftermath of World War II allowed no increase.

Army Training

Training programs were hampered by lack of funds, and this, together with the absence of a sense of urgency, detracted from the combat readiness of Army forces in being in 1950. [9] Until 1949 basic training lasted only eight weeks, and graduates sent overseas usually had to undergo further basic training before they could be assigned to units. The Army put in a 14-week training cycle in March 1949 and, although this cycle did not provide for branch training (i.e., artillery, engineers), it included a sufficient amount of basic subject material to give an adequate foundation on which to build individual and unit training. [10] This came rather late for the Korean War.

Army Supply Status

The Army had sufficient stocks of most items of materiel and equipment to support its peacetime program. Certain imbalances-resulting from the cessation or curtailment of production, the surplus property disposal program, and the breakdown of distribution systems-existed, but these presented relatively minor problems and were usually localized.

From the standpoint of war-readiness, the Army's supply position was much more serious. Army procurement after World War II was limited mainly to food, clothing, and medical supplies. The shift of American industry away from military production forced the Army to operate almost exclusively with older and obsolescent equipment. Nor was money available for new procurement. The Army computed its requirements carefully, basing them on minimum essentials, only to find that appropriations

[6] Memo for Gen. Collins, 9 Jul. 50, sub: Status of Major Units of the General Reserve Which Have Not Been Committed to FECOM, unnumbered notebook of Far East Br, G-3, DA, in G-3, DA files.

[7] (1) JSPC 853/6, 4 Jul. 50, App C to Include B, in G-3, DA files. (2) Four training divisions also were stationed in the United States.

[8] Army Tentative Plans, FY 1952, Part I. p. 55.

[9] For information in detail on Army training in the postwar era, see: Annual History, Office, Chief of Army Field Forces (OCAFF), 1 January-31 December 1949 (hereafter cited as Annual History of OCAFF), Part I, ch. I, pp. 5-9, ch. VI, pp. 2-3, 5-6, ch. IX; ibid., 1950, vol. II, ch. XIV; Rpt of Activities AFF, 1945-49, pp. 8, 10, 54-55. All in OCMH.

[10] Annual History of OCAFF, 1949, ch. VI, pp. 5-6.

habitually fell far short of meeting them. For the fiscal year 1948, for instance, the Ordnance Department estimated it would need $750,000,000 to cover procurement of essential ammunition and equipment, storage and distribution of ordnance material, maintenance of stand-by plants and arsenals, training, and research and development. The Bureau of the Budget cut this figure to $275,,000,000, and the Congress reduced the appropriation in final form to $245,532,000. [11]

Maintenance of available equipment assumed greater importance as World War II items wore out under constant use or deteriorated in storage depots. Rapid demobilization had hurt the Army's maintenance program by reducing personnel and facilities to levels allowing proper storage and continuing maintenance on no more than a token basis. At the same time, replacement parts and assemblies became critical in many classes of equipment. [12]

Machine guns and towed artillery were in plentiful supply, but heavy construction equipment, newly developed radios, self-propelled artillery, newer tanks, and antiaircraft guns were critically short. Installations in the United States supporting the current 10-division Army required more than 38,000 commercial-type motor vehicles, but in 1950 only 27,000 were on hand, and 23,000 of these were six or more years old. There were fewer than 900 serviceable light M-24 tanks in the United States, 2,557 unserviceable ones; 1,826 serviceable medium M4A3 tanks, 1,376 unserviceable ones. There were only 319 new M-46 General Patton tanks. [13]

Development of new weapons and vehicles continued, but at a decelerated pace. New models being developed in the spring of 1950 would not be available for issue before the end of 1952. Other research projects indicated many desirable improvements in weapons and equipment, but funds were unavailable to complete development and production. [14] Ammunition stocks in the United States were far out of balance. Training activities, both of the active Army forces and the civilian components, normal deterioration, and transfers to foreign countries under military assistance programs, had eaten away much of the stockpile remaining at the end of World War II, while economy budgets prevented significant new procurement. The result was a woefully inadequate reservoir of several types of ammunition. [15] In sum, the shortages of men and supplies combined with inadequate training to affect adversely the combat readiness of the Far East Command just as they hindered the effectiveness of the U.S. Army elsewhere.

The Far East Command

On 16 December 1946 the Joint Chiefs of Staff designated General MacArthur

[11] Statement, Maj. Gen. Everett S. Hughes, 14 Mar 47, Hearings Before House Subcommittee on Appropriations, 80th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 941, 967.

[12] G-4 Review of the Month, 1 Apr. 48, pp. 1, 29, in G-4, DA files.

[13] (1) Army Presentation Before JCS on Review of Service Establishment, Phase II, Part III for FY 1951 Budget, 29 Jul. 49, pp. 143-47. (2) DF, Supply Div. to Control Office, 11 Jul. 51, sub: Supply Sit in REC and U.S. as of 25 Jun. 50, with 7 Incls., in G-4, DA files.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Summary Sheet, CSCLD/16027, DCofS G-4 (Gen. Reeder) to CofS, 3 Apr. 50, sub: Ammunition Reserve, in C-4, DA files.

Commander in Chief, Far East Command, effective 1 January 1947. No specific boundaries were established, but forces placed under General MacArthur's command were located in Japan, Korea, the Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, the Mariana Islands, and the Volcano and Bonin Islands. These determined in a vague manner the geographic limits of the Far East Command. [16]

The area was vast. It extended over 265,000 square miles of island area inhabited by almost 100,000,000 people. Because of the preponderance of sea over land within the Far East Command and because of the terrain and climatic conditions, varying from sub-Arctic to tropical, the military garrison was compartmented into geographical groups. The primary land area and the area containing the largest number of U.S. troops was Japan. [17]

MacArthur's authorities and responsibilities as CINCFE were defined by directives issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Three general missions were assigned him. The first pertained to occupation of former enemy territories in which he discharged U.S. occupation responsibilities in Japan, Korea, and former Japanese islands. The second broad mission was to support U.S. policies within the areas controlled by his forces. Third, CINCFE was to prepare to meet a general emergency at any time. The top headquarters within the Far East Command was General Headquarters (GHQ) located in Tokyo, Japan. This was essentially an Army headquarters, staffed almost entirely by Army personnel, and resembling the structure of General MacArthur's World War II headquarters. [18]

The Navy and Air Force felt that their activities within the Far East were being directed by the Army staff under an Army commander. But General MacArthur considered his authority over naval and air forces too limited. He complained that he could not exercise sufficient control over the internal organization of these services in his area, direct the troop control of their units, or supervise fully their logistical operations. [19]

As Commanding General, United States Army Forces, Far East (USAFFE), General MacArthur controlled all Army units and personnel within his area. Since this function was inherent in the broader designation of CINCFE, he

[16] Study, Requirements, Means Available, and Procedures Evolved to Accomplish CINCFE Missions (hereafter cited as FEC Papers), Paper 1, 26 Oct. 49, p. 2, in G-3, DA file P & O 333 Pacific, F/w-6/3.

[17] Ibid., pp. 5-7.

[18] (1) Ibid., Paper 5, pp. 2-6. (2) The directive from JCS which established the command originally had stated, "Each unified commander will have a joint staff with appropriate members from the various components of the services under this command in key positions of responsibility." General MacArthur had not gone all the way in meeting the spirit of unification. But a joint committee of top-ranking Army, Navy, and Air Force officers was an integral part of GHQ and met each week, though only to advise the Chief of Staff, FEC (an Army officer), in "coordination of inter-service matters." Additionally, frequent coordinating conferences were held by MacArthur with the commanders of major air and naval elements within his command. Another concession to the principle of unification of command within GHQ was the establishment of the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group (JSPOG) to "assist and advise the Commander-in-Chief Far East, on matters pertaining to the exercise of unified command over Army, Navy and Air Forces allocated to the Far East Command." The group consisted of three Army officers, three Navy officers, and two Air Force officers, but hardly constituted a joint staff as envisioned by the JCS instructions of December 1946. See JCS 1259/27, 14 Dec. 46, and USAF in the Korean Conflict, USAF Hist. Study No. 71, p. 9.

[19] FEC Papers, Paper 12, 1 Oct. 49.

neither used the title commanding general, USAFFE, nor established a separate staff. Because there were within his command a major air force and a major naval headquarters, Far East Air Forces (FEAF) and Naval Forces, Far East (NavFE), respectively, some resentment developed because the coequal Army headquarters, AFFE, was absent. That all Army combat forces were assigned to subordinate Army commands had the effect of placing these lesser headquarters on the same level with FEAF and NavFE. General MacArthur defended this peculiarity in the command structure by saying that imposing an Army headquarters between subordinate Army units and GHQ FEC would duplicate the functions of GHQ and detract from the essential and cohesive relationships between CINCFE and the Supreme Commander, Allied Powers (SCAP). [20]

[20] (1) Ibid., Paper 13, p. 4. (2) A succinct and fairly accurate description of the FEC structure was rendered by a representative of the Department of the Army, Army War Plans Branch, who visited the command in October 195O. He said: "Although a lack of balanced representation from the three services keeps GHQ FEC from being classified as a joint headquarters in the commonly accepted sense, certain joint features do exist.... Intelligence is correlated in Army, Navy and Air Force Group with Theater Intelligence Section, G-2; planning is coordinated through JSPOG, a joint committee (composed of the Chiefs of Staff of the three Services) coordinates on the higher level. The Far East Command is a unified rather than a joint command with command lines following straight service seniority channels throughout as opposed to command responsibilities on a joint basis by geographical area; e.g. there is no joint commander of the Ryukyus or in Marianas-Bonins Command. CINCFE commands all major Army commands as theater commander and commands all Navy and Air Force commands through the Senior Commanders of those services." See Memo, Lt. Col. Stevens, AWPB G-3, for ACofS G-3, 17 Oct. so, sub: Rpt of TDY in FEC, in G-3, DA file 333 Pac, Case 7.

In June 1950 GHQ, FEC, located in Tokyo, Japan, with main offices in the Dai Ichi Building, had Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond as chief of staff and Maj. Gen. Doyle O. Hickey as deputy chief of staff. The major subordinate Army commands were Eighth Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker; Headquarters and Service Group, GHQ, commanded by Maj. Gen. Walter L. Weible; the Ryukyus Command (RYCOM) under Maj. Gen. Josef R. Sheetz; and the Marianas-Bonins Command (MARBO) headed by Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler. In the Philippines, the Thirteenth Air Force controlled U.S. installations through PHILCOM (AF), a small and rapidly diminishing headquarters commanded by Maj. Gen. Howard M. Turner, USAF. Naval Forces, Far East, were commanded by Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy. Far East Air Forces (FEAF), came under Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer. FEAF and NavFE headquarters were located in Tokyo in buildings separate from GHQ, FEC.

FEC Strategic Planning and Korea

General MacArthur's basic plan to meet a general emergency in the Far East was to defend the Japanese islands. Operations were to be offensive-defensive, with air and naval forces assuming the tactical offensive to protect the withdrawal of forces from outlying areas and to deny to the enemy the control of the sea and air approaches to Japan. The main body of Army forces would be concentrated on Okinawa, the Marianas, and the Kanto Plain of Honshu. Those Army forces located in Korea were to be precipitately withdrawn.

Regarding Korea, the JCS had advised the State-Army-Navy-Air Force Coordinating Committee (SANACC), successor to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, in January 1948, that the withdrawal of the U.S. occupation forces from South Korea would most likely lead to communist domination of the entire nation. And since it was nevertheless intended to evacuate American troops, eventual Russian control of Korea would have to be accepted as a probability, even though establishing a ROK constabulary force might serve as a temporary deterrent. [21]

The definitive write-off of Korea as an important strategic area came when the Joint Chiefs of Staff asserted that no military security guarantee should be extended to the Republic of Korea because such action would risk a major war in an area where Russia would have nearly all the natural advantages. As a result, the President, on 4 April 1948, approved a policy that stated: "The United States should not become so irrevocably involved in the Korean situation that an action taken by any faction in Korea or by any other power in Korea could be considered a 'casus belli' for the United States." From that moment, Korea was of secondary importance to U.S. planners and policy makers. [22] General MacArthur had been relieved of his responsibility for defending Korea when the last American tactical units had been withdrawn from that country in 1949.

In mid-1949 General Omar N. Bradley, then Army Chief of Staff, challenged the national policy toward Korea. On the eve of the withdrawal of the last American combat troops from the peninsula, General Bradley suggested taking the Korean question again to the National Security Council. He feared that U.S. withdrawal might be followed by an invasion from the north. He had had his staff review the courses of action open to the United States in such an eventuality, and as a result he recommended that, if an invasion took place, the U.S. nationals be evacuated and the aggression immediately be presented to the United Nations Security Council as a threat to the peace. A U.N. composite military force might be considered as a last resort. [23]

Bradley's fellow members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were reluctant to bring this matter again before the National Security Council. They said:

   From the strategic viewpoint the position of the Joint Chiefs of    Staff regarding Korea, summarized briefly, is that Korea is of little    strategic value to the United States and that any commitment to    United States use of military force in Korea would be ill-advised and    impracticable in view of the potentialities of the over-all world    situation and of our heavy international obligations as compared with    our current military strength. [24] 

This concept dominated American planning for the Far East. By 1950, the United States decided that, in the event of a Soviet attack in the area, American Forces would conduct a strategic defense. Specific missions charged to the Far East Command were: (1) defense of the Ryukyus and Japan; (2) protection of air and sea lanes in the FEC; (3) denial of Formosa to the enemy; (4) support of the Pacific Command, the Alaskan Command, and the Strategic Air Command; (5) assistance to the Republic of the

[21] JCS 1483/50, Rpt by JSSC, title: U.S. Policy in Korea, 30 Jan 48. [22] SANACC 176/39, 22 Mar 48, title: U.S. Policy in Korea,

[23] JCS 1776/4, 23 Jun. 49, Incl, Memo, CSA to JCS, 20 Jun. 49, sub: Implications of a Possible Full-Scale Invasion From North Korea Subsequent to the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Korea.

[24] JCS 1776/4, 23 Jun. 49.

Philippines in defense of the islands; and (6) provision for the safety of U.S. personnel in Korea. American airmen were to destroy or neutralize enemy air power. [25]

That Korea was considered of little strategic worth to the United States had scarcely been a matter of public knowledge until 12 January 1950, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson said so in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington. Outlining the defensive strategy in the Far East, he excluded Korea and Formosa from the American defensive perimeter. Referring obliquely to Korea, Mr. Acheson stated:

  So far as the military security of other areas in the Pacific is   concerned, it must be clear that no person can guarantee these areas   against military attack.... Should such an attack occur-one hesitates   to say where such an armed attack could come from-the initial reliance   must be on the people attacked to resist it and then upon the   commitments of the entire civilized world under the Charter of the   United Nations which so far has not proved a weak reed to lean on by   any people who are determined to pro- 

[25] FEOP 1-50, GHQ FEC, vol. I, 1 Feb. 50, in G-3, FEC files.

   tect their independence against outside aggression. [26]

In the light of Secretary Acheson's remarks, it appeared that the United States had no intention of fighting for South Korea. In the view of many observers, his statement was an invitation to Communist China, North Korea, and Russia that they could invade the republic with impunity.

MacArthur's Forces

The general decrease in Army strength that took place in 1947 was reflected sharply in the Far East. General MacArthur had commanded over 300,000 troops, including 42,000 in the Army Air Forces, in January 1947 [27] Just one year later he had only 142,000 men. When asked early in 1948 if he could maintain 30,000 men in Korea, MacArthur told Army officials that to do so would cause a breakdown in logistic support to the Far East Air Forces and a breakdown in the general effectiveness in his command. The real cause of this situation, he charged, was Washington's failure to send him even half the troops approved for his command. [28]

MacArthur warned of irreparable damage to United States national interests in the Far East unless his command was strengthened. In response, the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed MacArthur that all services were having trouble keeping up to authorized strength and that calculated risks in the allotment of manpower had to be accepted throughout the world. Allocating 134,000 troops (including 28,800 Philippine Scouts) to his command, they ordered him to keep 30,000 troops in Korea until elections had been held there. [29]

MacArthur protested. On 24 February 1948 he charged that his personnel resources were exhausted. He asserted that there was no substitute for Army troop strength and that it was essential to meet the dangers and difficulties that existed in the Far East. [30]

There was actually a further decline. MacArthur's authorized strength for the year beginning 1 July 1949 was to be only 120,000 men. Insofar as combat strength was concerned, the Far East Command reached its lowest ebb at this point, April 1948. The Eighth Army, upon which the combat effectiveness of the command depended, was authorized 87,215 men, but had an actual strength of only 45,561 and a combat strength of 26,494. This combat strength was spread over five divisions and an antiaircraft artillery group, making attainment of any satisfactory degree of combat readiness very difficult. MacArthur's protests continued, but to no avail. Exemplifying the general conditions within the Eighth Army, two regiments of the 25th Division had less than 250 men each. [31]

On 3 August 1948 MacArthur complained that his carefully analyzed minimum requirements for Army strength were being brushed aside. He was noti-

[26] (1) Speech, Mr. Dean Acheson to National Press Club, 12 Jan 50, quoted in MacArthur Hearings, pp. 1811-12, (2) See also Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 354-58.

[27] Strength Reports of the Army, Central Statistical Office, Office, Chief of Staff, 1 Feb. 47, copy in OCMH.

[28] Rad, CX 58131, CINCFE to DA, 23 Jan 48.

[29] Rad, WARX 96357, JCS to CINCFE, 21 Feb. 48.

[30] Rad, CX 58837, CINCFE to DA, 24 Feb. 48.

[31] (1) Rad, WAR 81295, DA to CINCFE, 6 May 48. (2) Rad, C 61072, CINCFE to DA, 29 May 48. (3) Rad, C 61943, CINCFE to DA, 29 Jun. 48. (4) Rad, WARX 86492, DA to CINCFE, 27 Jul. 48.

fied on 9 November 1948 that the nation's authorities were contemplating a reduction in the strength of his Far East Air Forces. This news brought a sharp rejoinder and a strategic estimate of his position in the Far East Command. He maintained that he could not understand what devious thinking had prompted a proposal for reducing his military strength. He said that it would endanger the nation's military position in the Far East beyond the acceptable point of calculated risk. MacArthur charged that the nation's planners should be contemplating an increase in his naval, air, and ground forces. [32]

Despite MacArthur's insistent protests, the strength level in the Far East Command continued with little substantive change. During visits to Tokyo by the Department of the Army Staff, by the Secretary of the Army, and by members of the JCS during 1948 and 1949, General MacArthur presented his views and protests in person. He said consistently that the support which the Department of the Army was giving to forces in Europe was out of proportion and that more support should and could be given to his command in the Far East. [33]

The flow of replacements to the Far East picked up somewhat in 1949 although budgetary limitations on the Army as a whole enforced restrictions on replacements available to the Far East Command. By late 1949, the shortage of funds had become so pronounced that the Department of the Army decided to reduce the number of divisions in the Army from ten to nine. MacArthur's command was to take the loss and during a discussion with MacArthur in October 1949 General Collins, Army Chief of Staff, told MacArthur so. MacArthur, of course, objected. The Department of the Army reversed its decision and kept ten divisions on duty. [34] But, as noted above, the strength of the Far East Command had dwindled to about 108,500 Army troops by June 1950.

The budget limitations and the low enlistment rate forced the Department of the Army to devise a troop program and troop list which could not be manned at 100 percent strength. This reduced over-all personnel ceiling reflected manning levels which, in turn, caused unavoidable reductions either by paring the strength of all subordinate units or by eliminating certain units entirely. Since administrative requirements continued or increased, combat units suffered more than headquarters units. [35] As reflected in the FEC, this condition caused the elimination of certain basic elements from combat units in order to maintain the units within the command. Each of MacArthur's infantry divisions had only one tank company instead of a tank battalion, and one antiaircraft battery instead of an antiaircraft battalion. Each infantry regiment was short its Table of Organization (T/O) tank company and lacked one infantry battalion; each of the divisional artillery battalions was short one firing battery. Although CINCFE had managed to retain the 4-division structure of Eighth Army, he

[32] (1) Rad, W 92269, DA to CINCFE, 9 Nov. 48. (2) Rad, CX 65569, CINCFE to DA, 23 Nov. 48.

[33] Rad, WAR 82319, DA to CINCFE, 6 Jan 49.

[34] (1) JCS 1800/54/56, Sep. 49. (2) JCS 2079/3, Oct. 49.

[35] Rpt of OCAFF Observer Team to FEC, 16 Aug. so, with comments by Chief, OCAFF, in S3, DA file 333 Pac, sec. I-A, Book I, Case 8/8 (1950).

had had to eliminate the normal corps headquarters and corps special troops (artillery, engineer, and so forth). Service elements of Eighth Army were so inadequate that over 150,000 Japanese personnel were being employed in roles normally performed by service troops. [36]

The ratio of non-combat to combat personnel in the Far East was excessive. This stemmed from the Army's attempts during the postwar years to make the Army an attractive career by leaving the choice of arm or service largely to the individual. The combat arms, and especially the infantry, failed to attract sufficient men to keep their strength on a par with other arms and branches. Also the fact that a substantial percentage of the already inadequate output of stateside training divisions went to service schools for further training reduced the number of men available for assignment to combat-type units except in specialist capacities. [37]

MacArthur's combat forces in June 1950 comprised 4 under-strength infantry divisions and 7 antiaircraft artillery battalions in Japan, 1 infantry regiment and 2 antiaircraft artillery battalions in Okinawa. The major combat units were the 1st Cavalry Division (actually infantry) in central Honshu, Japan; 7th Infantry Division in northern Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan; 24th Infantry Division in Kyushu, Japan; 25th Infantry Division in south central Honshu, Japan; and the 9th Antiaircraft Artillery Group in Okinawa. General MacArthur had registered frequent protests that his missions in the Far East required a minimum force of at least 5 full-strength infantry divisions, 23 antiaircraft artillery battalions, and 1 separate RCT. [38]

Eighth Army, the main combat force of FEC, stood at about 93 percent of its authorized strength on 25 June 1950. Each division had an authorized strength of 12,500 men as compared to its authorized war strength of 18,900 and none of the divisions was even up to its peacetime authorization. Each division was short of its war strength by nearly 7,000 men, 1,500 rifles, and 100 90-mm. antitank guns; 3 rifle battalions, 6 heavy tank companies, 3 105-mm. field artillery batteries, and 3 antiaircraft artillery batteries were missing from each division. In terms of battle potential, the infantry divisions could lay down only 62 percent of their infantry firepower, 69 percent of their antiaircraft artillery firepower, and percent of their tank firepower. [39]

Until 1949 the primary responsibility of military units in the Far East Command was to carry out occupation duties. Engaged in these administrative and housekeeping tasks throughout Japan and the outlying areas, units had little time or inclination for combat training. The situation was aggravated by constant under-strength and excessive turn-over of personnel. This turnover amounted to 43 percent annually in the FEC. Training in the rudimentary functions of the soldier was carried on as time and facilities permitted during the period from 1945 to 1949 with emphasis upon discipline, courtesy, and conduct.

[36] FEC Papers, Paper 10, p. 7.

[37] Rpt of OCAFF Observer Team to FEC, 16 Aug. 50.

[38] FEC Papers, Paper 10.

[39] Mono, 1st Lt. Charles G. Cleaver, Personnel Problems, in History of the Korean War vol. III Part 2, MHS, HQ, FEC, 15 Aug. 52, p. 1 copy in OCMH.

No serious effort was made in these years to maintain combat efficiency at battalion or higher level.

This situation changed markedly in April 1949 when General MacArthur issued a policy directive announcing that the stern rigidity which had characterized the occupation of Japan until that time was to be superseded by an attitude of "friendly protective guidance." As a result of this change in policy, combat divisions of Eighth Army were progressively relieved of the majority of their purely occupational missions and directed to undertake along with FEAF and NavFE an intensified program which would lead to the establishment of a cohesive and integrated naval, air, and ground fighting team. Although large numbers of officers and men were detached from military government and civil affairs activities and returned to their parent combat units, there still remained many administrative features of the occupation which could not be relinquished and which constituted a considerable barrier to the full development of the planned training program. [40]

Main objectives of the new training program announced by General MacArthur on 10 June 1949 called for the rapid integration of Army, Navy, and Air Force components into an efficient team capable of performing its primary military mission. Divisions were directed to complete RCT field exercises and develop effective air-ground combat procedures prior to 31 July 1950 and to complete amphibious landing exercises for one battalion of each division by 31 October 1950. Minimum proficiency levels to be attained were (1) company (battery) levels by 15 December 1949; (2) battalion (squadron or task force) level by 15 May 1950; (3) regimental (group or task force) level by 31 July 1950; (4) division (air force or task force) level by 31 December 1950; and (5) combined and joint operations training to include amphibious exercises concurrently with RCT and division-level training. [41]

In a country so heavily populated and predominantly agricultural as Japan, no land was wasted and the maintenance of large military training areas would have imposed a burden upon the Japanese economy which was not considered justified. Consequently, troops were generally restricted in their training to small posts of regimental size. Divisions could not be concentrated and trained together. On 8 August 1949 an area in the vicinity of Mount Fuji was acquired which would accommodate limited division exercises over very rugged terrain. Every other field training area was exploited to the utmost. Exploitation of the relatively few training areas during favorable training weather, however, required that some units undertake field firing problems and tests ahead of the actual phasing of such training in the Mobilization Training Programs. For example, the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division completed its battalion tests before completing basic individual training in order to use that division's lone training area. [42]

The Army's Career Guidance Program also worked to the disadvantage of the

[40] (1) FEC Papers, Paper 3, pp. 2-4. (2) GHQ, FEC Annual Narrative Historical Rpt, 1 Jan-31 Dec. 49.

[41] FEC Papers, Paper 23, pp. 7-8.

[42] Ibid., pp. 8-9.

training program within the FEC according to General MacArthur's staff. Staff visits indicated that a wide variance existed between the experience of regimental commanders and their subordinate commanders. There was a great need for improved leadership of combat units at the company and battalion levels. Many officers possessing the qualities of leadership and training experience necessary for proper development of FEC combat units had been given directed military occupational specialties (MOS) under the Career Guidance Program and could not be placed in command of troops where they were needed. From the standpoint of the enlisted man the same situation seriously affected the flexibility of organization and training. In their efforts to strengthen combat units by transferring men from inactivated service units, FEC commanders ran head on into the Career Guidance Program which prevented assignment of enlisted men from one field to another. [43]

The readiness of combat units within the FEC was not enhanced by the quality of enlisted personnel assigned from the zone of the interior. Replacements arriving from the United States during 1949, for instance, were said by General MacArthur's headquarters to have had a very high percentage of low intelligence ratings and a much larger than usual number of men of questionable character. This situation was reflected not only in training, but in discipline, administrative problems, and a larger number of individual incidents which caused criticism of American behavior. In April 1949, 43 percent of Army enlisted personnel in the Far East Command rated in Class IV and V on the Army General Classification Test. On an average, enlisted men of the FEC were several years younger than their counterparts of World War II. Another factor which intensified the difficulty of training for combat readiness was the incomplete basic training received by recruits before shipment to the FEC. According to an FEC report, recruits were not sufficiently indoctrinated to withstand the inactive period of pipeline experience and had lost much of the benefit of basic training before arriving in the Far East Command. [44]

General Collins, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, visited the Far East Command in the autumn of 1949 and looked into the training program then in progress. He was generally satisfied with what he saw and with what he was told in conference with General MacArthur. Reporting on his findings to the Secretary of the Army General Collins said:

   As a result of the reductions in strength of personnel . . . and    because our troops were primarily engaged in occupation missions    until recently, the troops of Eighth Army are not now in fighting    condition. However, they have recently been brought back up to    strength, are making excellent progress with realistic field training    and are planning exercises with close fighter-bomber support by the    early spring of 195O. Given 

[43] (1) Ibid., p. 10. (2) This complaint from the FEC was verified at a later date by a team of observers sent to the Korean battlefield in the first month of the war. These observers noted that classification and assignment procedures had placed in battlefield command officers and noncoms lacking experience and proficiency. This kind of assignment had often resulted in poor leadership, especially at the regimental and lower levels. The observers concluded bluntly that the career program had been detrimental to combat efficiency. See Rpt of OCAFF Observer Team to FEC, 16 Aug. 50.

[44] FEC Papers, Paper 23, pp. 2-3.

   another six months the divisions I inspected should be in excellent    shape. [45] 

All units of Eighth Army had completed the battalion phase of their training by the target date of 15 May 1950. An air transportability school had been established and was functioning, pointing toward battalion airlift exercises. At an amphibious training center near Tokyo, one battalion from each division had received training in landing techniques and a joint landing exercise was scheduled for August 1950. Reports on the Eighth Army's divisions which were sent to the Department of the Army in May 1950 showed estimates ranging from 84 percent to 65 percent of full combat efficiency for the four divisions in Japan. [46]

[45] Memo, Gen. Collins for Secy. Army, 20 Oct. 49, sub: Rpt of Visit to Hawaii and FEC, in G-3, DA files.

[46] Rpt on Disposition, Strength, and Combat Capabilities of Major Army Forces in Overseas Commands, 30 May 1950, Rpts Control Symbol WDGPO-6, CINCFE to ACofS G 3, Opns, General Staff, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., in G-3, FEC files.

FEC Supply Status

Equipment in the hands of MacArthur's troops was for the most part of World War II vintage. Much of it had been through combat, and a good deal of it, particularly the vehicles, had been serviced and maintained under difficulty during the years of occupation.

Adding to the difficulty of the logistic situation was the unusual dependence upon indigenous personnel which had developed within the U.S. Army in Japan during the years following World War II. Basically, this dependence stemmed from the acute shortages of trained American soldiers to perform specialized functions of the type normally carried out by service units. In the absence of sufficient service units and with emphasis transferred to a great extent from field-type operations, the natural result had been to exploit the enormous pool of manpower available in Japan. Japanese workmen carried out duties in support of U.S. Army units and in installations ranging from menial mess-hall tasks to highly technical functions calling for advanced training and great skill. Base areas, depots, and ports were manned by Japanese personnel under Army supervision, while protection of these installations, as well as other less sensitive areas throughout Japan, was largely delegated to Japanese guards.

After the war's ending in 1945, vast quantities of U.S. materiel had been left throughout the islands of the Pacific. This residue of the Pacific fighting-vehicles, signal equipment, armament, and other types of military equipment-was originally treated as excess. In many cases, it was left where it lay when the fighting ceased, abandoned for all intents and purposes, or at best gathered into assembly areas and maintained halfheartedly. Some was sold to foreign governments or domestic firms at a fraction of its intrinsic value. In the Philippines alone, 933,265 tons of such equipment had been disposed of through surplus property channels by the end of 1947.

The main islands of Okinawa, the Philippines, and the Marianas-Bonins contained the bulk of this equipment. Since these areas were part of the FEC, the condition and disposition of the material were matters of concern to General MacArthur. In 1947 he had ordered intensive surveys and the initiation of measures to reclaim as much of it as possible. Investigation by ordnance officers of the command showed that the greater part of all classes of this military equipment had been left in open storage, without adequate safeguards, with practically no proper segregation as to type, and with no attempt having been made to classify or catalogue it.

In the years from 1947 until the outbreak of war in Korea, personnel of the FEC had, therefore, been putting forth every effort to reclaim for military use as much of this valuable equipment as possible. Under a program informally known as Operation ROLL-UP, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and other types of supplies from the island areas had been segregated, classified, and transported to facilities in Japan for repair and proper storage. Critical shortages in qualified personnel plus the desire to arrive at the most efficient and economical solution to the situation had forced this project to depend upon the use of Japanese industry under the direction of a small American staff. [47] The original objective of Operation ROLL-UP was to support the FEC and to equip Eighth Army's infantry divisions at minimum cost and with maximum use of all materiel which could be reclaimed. It was planned that the project would be completed by 30 June 1950. As an indication of the progress attained, 200,000 measurement tons of ordnance supplies were moved to Japan from Okinawa during 1949. All types of vehicles, artillery pieces, and ammunition as well as other items were affected by this program.

One result of Operation ROLL-UP was to prepare FEC repair and rebuild facilities, including Japanese industry, for the great expansion necessary to support extensive combat operations. In addition, thousands of military vehicles were available in substantially better condition than would have otherwise been the case. [48]

A shortage of supervisory personnel slowed the renovation program and made unattainable the goal of completing Operation ROLL-UP by 30 June 1950. When the North Korean attack came stocks of unusable equipment were still piled up in storage shops. An estimated 80 percent of the Army's 60-day reserve of armament equipment was unserviceable on 25 June. The Far East Command had received no new vehicles, tanks, or other equipment since World War II. Almost 90 percent of the armament equipment and 75 percent of the automotive equipment in the hands of the four combat divisions on that date was derived from the rebuild program. [49]

Levels of supply on hand in the FEC by mid-1950 amounted to a 60-day depot level plus 30-day levels in station stocks. But supply resources were out of balance both in quantity and quality. Some weapons such as medium tanks, 4.2-inch mortars, and recoilless rifles could hardly be found in the command. Only a trickle of supplies was moving through the pipelines. Units deactivated in the command had turned in large quantities of equipment, but most of this was unserviceable. Eighth Army was authorized 226 recoilless rifles, but had only 21. Of 18,000 1/4-ton 4 X 4 vehicles in Eighth Army's stocks 10,000 were unserviceable, and of 13,780 2 1/2-ton 6 X 6 trucks only 4,441 were in running condition.

Total ammunition resources amounted to only 45 days' supply in the depots and a basic load of training ammunition in hands of units. The level of perishable food supplies was also 45 days in depot stocks and operating levels at various stations. Petroleum products on hand included a level of 180 days packaged and 75 days bulk at depots, station levels of 15 days each of packaged and bulk, and 15 days with units. [50]

By mid-1950 American forces in the Far East had begun a gradual swing away from their primary concern with occupation duties and had started to look more closely to their combat skills. This shift came about more because of the growing

[47] Administrative History of the Ordnance Section, GHQ, FEC, 1 January 1947-31 December 1949.

[48] Hist. Rpt, Ordnance Section, GHQ, FEC, 1 Jan-31 Dec. 49.

[49] Mono, Logistical Problems and Their Solutions, HQ, EUSAK, ch. I, pp. 5, 7, copy in OCMH.

[50] MS, Maj. James A, Huston, Time and Space, ch. V, p. 41, and ch. 111, pp. 176, 186, copy in OCMH.

stability of occupied Japan than from any real fear that time was growing short. That these forces were under-strength, inadequately armed, and sketchily trained concerned mainly their commanders. These commanders, within the limits of their resources, sought to overcome the inertia imposed by the years of occupation and the prevailing, if uneasy, peace. But on the eve of the storm the command was flabby and soft, still hampered by an infectious lassitude, unready to respond swiftly and decisively to a full-scale military emergency.

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