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Signs of Victory

New Plans of Advance

Upon his return from Wake Island, General MacArthur moved vigorously to validate his prediction of imminent victory. Although enemy mines had temporarily stymied the landing of the X Corps, MacArthur did have troops in North Korea in the east as well as on the west and west central front. As a first step in exploiting the situation in the east, he placed all units in the Wonsan area under Almond's command. On 16 October, MacArthur told General Walker:

     In order to exploit to the maximum all forces under CINCUNC and to      implement the full concept of operations . . . X Corps, operating      as an independent Corps of GHQ Reserve, will, effective at 1200      hours, 20 October 1950, and until further orders, assume      operational control of all UN and ROK ground forces operating north      of 39 degrees and 10 minutes north. [1]

Strengthening Almond's command still more, MacArthur ordered the 3d Division-two regiments of which were then in Japan and the other, the 65th Infantry, in Korea-readied by 2 November for shipment to Wonsan. [2]

[1] Rad, C 66549, CINCFE to CG Army Eight, 16 Oct. 50.

[2] Rad, C 66553, CINCFE to COMNAVFE and CG X Corps, 15 Oct. 50.

Turning to Walker's zone, MacArthur alerted the 187th Airborne RCT which had gone into GHQ Reserve around Kimp'o Airfield, for an airdrop across the two main arterial routes north of P'yongyang near the towns of Sukch'on and Sunch'on. He directed the 187th to be ready to drop on 21 October to stop enemy withdrawals to the north, to cut off enemy reinforcements, and to disrupt enemy communications. He hoped, also, to capture important North Korean officials and to rescue U.N. POW's before the enemy could move them northward. MacArthur apparently still believed that the X Corps would be operating ashore within a few days. For he directed that when the corps had landed and driven west to establish contact with the 187th north of P'yongyang, General Almond was to assume operational control of the airborne unit. The commanding general, Far East Air Forces, became responsible for lifting the 187th and for furnishing tactical air support to the airborne troops throughout the operation. [3]

On 17 October, as Walker's troops approached P'yongyang, MacArthur issued new orders designed to wring every advantage out of the favorable battlefield situation. He set up a boundary between the Eighth Army and the X Corps to become effective on his further order. MacArthur wanted the Eighth Army to advance on the left of the new boundary to the general line Sonch'on-Chongsanjangsi-Koin-dong-Pyongwon. The X Corps would advance to the eastern extension of this line, Toksil-li-Pungsan-Songjin. [4] For this general advance, MacArthur removed the restrictions against using any but ROK forces north of the line Ch'ongju-Kunu-ri-Yongwon-Hamhung. But he directed that only ROK troops would operate north of the new objective line. His new concept, of course, also canceled his previous plan to cross and seal off the peninsula between P'yongyang and Wonsan. For the new objective line ranged from 80 to 130 miles north of the P'yongyang-Wonsan road and approached within 40 miles of the Manchurian border. [5]

P'yongyang fell on 19 October, whereupon MacArthur started the all-out drive toward the new objective line. He stepped up the airborne operation by one day, sending the 187th Airborne into the Sukch'on-Sunch'on area in the first airdrop of the Korean campaign on 20 October. The Eighth Army assumed operational control of the 187th RCT after it hit the ground.

From his own plane, General MacArthur, accompanied by Generals Stratemeyer, Wright, and Whitney, watched the parachute troops land and assemble. He then flew to P'yongyang, where he commented to reporters that the airborne landings seemed to have completely surprised the North Koreans and that "This closes the trap on the enemy." When he returned to Tokyo on 21 October, he predicted that "the war is very definitely coming to an end shortly." [6]

On the east coast, General Almond went ashore at Wonsan by helicopter on 19 October to take charge of the ROK I Corps which was still moving rapidly to the north. By that date, the 1st Marine Air Wing had been flying out of Wonsan Airfield for five days; and shore parties, engineers, and advance billeting parties were in Wonsan preparing for the landing of the 1st Marine Division. [7]

[3] (1) UNC Opn Order No. 3, 16 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, CX 66591, CINCUNC to All Comds, 16 Oct. 50.

[4] The new boundary ran westward along the 39th Parallel from the Sea of Japan to a point at 126 degrees 45 minutes east longitude, then generally to the north and northeast through Sinup at 39 degrees, 28 minutes north, 127 degrees, 8 minutes east, and Changjin at 40 degrees, 54 minutes north and degrees, 10 minutes east, to Huch'ang at 41 degrees, 24 minutes north and 127 degrees, 4 minutes east.

[5] UNC Opns Order No. 4, 17 Oct. 50.

[6] (1) Pacific Stars and Stripes, October 21, 195O, p. 1, col. 6. (2) New York Times, October 21, 1950, p. 1, col. 8, Parrott dispatch; also p. 3, col. 1 and p. 16, col. 2. (3) EUSAK War Diary, 22 Oct. 50, Daily News Bulletin.

[7] General Smith's Chronicles, pp. 404-10.

Although to Admiral Struble, commander of the Seventh Fleet, Almond expressed unhappiness over the delayed landing of his remaining forces, Struble would not authorize a landing until he, himself, was satisfied with mine clearance operations. Hence, transports arriving off Wonsan with the 1st Marine Division on 20 October steamed back and forth outside the harbor, a maneuver that the Marines promptly dubbed "Operation Yo-yo." Meanwhile, the 7th Division remained idly afloat in Pusan Harbor awaiting word to proceed to the objective area.

General Almond did not easily give up his efforts to get Marines ashore before the minefields were completely cleared. On 21 October, he asked that a battalion of the 1st Marine Division be landed at Kojo, about thirty-nine miles south of Wonsan, to relieve ROK soldiers guarding a supply dump there. Since Japanese and ROK LST's had put into Kojo even though the adjacent waters had not been swept, Almond felt that Navy LST's could do the same. But Admiral Doyle did not consider a Kojo landing urgent enough to justify jeopardizing the troops and ships.

On 22 October, Admiral Doyle estimated that the Wonsan landing would not be feasible for another two or three days. A longer delay appeared possible on 23 October when a new row of magnetic mines was encountered. But on the 24th, the results of sweeping operations indicated that the magnetic mines were about cleared out, and that the troop landings could therefore soon be made.

Another Change

On the same date, General MacArthur in an extraordinary order commanded Walker and Almond to drive forward with all possible speed using all forces at their command. The objective line he had set up only a week before was merely to be an initial objective; and the restriction he had placed on using other than ROK forces was removed since, as he reminded his commanders, the prohibition had been established only in view of a possible enemy surrender. [8]

This order conflicted with the instructions the Joint Chiefs of Staff had sent MacArthur on 27 September wherein they had told him that "as a matter of policy no non-Korean ground forces will be used in the northeast province bordering the Soviet Union or in the area along the Manchurian border." The Joint Chiefs, upon learning of MacArthur's new order, objected in the form of an inquiry. "While the Joint Chiefs of Staff realize," they told him, "that you undoubtedly had sound reasons for issuing these instructions they would like to be informed of them, as your action is a matter of some concern here." [9]

MacArthur defended his action with characteristic vigor. He held that his order had been prompted by military necessity since his ROK forces had neither sufficient strength nor enough skilled leadership to take and hold the border areas of North Korea. As to the legality of his decision, MacArthur pointed out that the Joint Chiefs had told him that the directive of 27 September was not final, that it might require modification in accordance with developments. For additional justification, General MacArthur emphasized that the Joint Chiefs had not actually banned the use of other than ROK forces but had merely stated that it should not be done as a matter of policy. Finally, in his mind, the instructions from the Secretary of Defense on 30 September, which had assured him, "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the parallel," had certainly modified any prior instructions from the Joint Chiefs and he had proceeded to issue his orders on that basis. He made no move to placate his superiors. While he assured them that he understood their concern, he also hinted of dire developments if he took any other course and clinched his argument by claiming that "This entire subject was covered in my conference at Wake Island." [10] Thereafter, the Joint Chiefs allowed General MacArthur's order to stand.

[8] Rad, CX 67291, CINCUNC to All Comdrs, 24 Oct. 50.

[9] (1) Rad, JCS 94933, JCS (Personal) for MacArthur, 24 Oct. 50. (2) General Collins later pointed to this instance as an example of violation of orders by the U.N. commander in MacArthur Hearings, pp. 1240, 1301-02.

[10] Rad, C 67397, CINCFE for JCS, 25 Oct. 50. None of the other persons attending the conference on 15 October recorded any mention of the use of non-ROK soldiers along the Manchurian and Soviet borders.

X Corps Lands

By 1500 on 25 October, ships began coming into the swept area of Wonsan Harbor preparatory to the landing of troops and equipment. That evening, five LST's containing advance parties hit the beaches and on the following day, the main troop landings began.

General Almond meanwhile made almost daily reconnaissance flights up the east coast, checking the progress of the ROK troops and searching for a suitable alternate landing area for the 7th Division. In view of the recent change of plans, he chose not to set the 7th Division ashore in the wake of the Marines, but to land it deeper in North Korea and thus accelerate carrying out MacArthur's new instructions for a drive to the border. Following close aerial inspection of the coast, he decided to land the Army division at the small port of Iwon, 105 miles northeast of Wonsan. After he completed arrangements for landing at the new site with Admirals Struble and Doyle, the 7th Division sailed north from Pusan on 27 October and began landing at Iwon two days later. [11]

Occupation Plans

As military prospects brightened during October, American planners turned their efforts to devising a system of military government for North Korea. In Washington, the Army staff prepared a detailed directive for military government, and on 10 October forwarded it to General MacArthur for comment.

Under this directive, the occupation of North Korea would have three phases. In the first phase, which would last until internal security had been restored, General MacArthur would act as supreme authority in North Korea, subject to the control of the United Nations and the United States Government. During the second phase, which would last until national elections had been held throughout Korea, MacArthur would retain complete authority, but a United Nations commission would furnish advice and recommendations which he would honor within the bounds of security of his forces. The third phase, from the completion of national elections to the withdrawal of all non-Korean United Nations forces, would see a gradual release of control to the elected government of Korea. The military commander, in this final phase, would be responsible only for such missions as might be assigned to him. [12]

[11] (1) X Corps WD, Oct. 50. (2) General Smith's Chronicles, pp. 404-10.

[12] Rad, W 93721, DA to CINCFE, 10 Oct. 50.

MacArthur's primary duties during the occupation would be to establish public order, to rebuild the nation's wrecked economy, and to prepare the people for unification. But while he would definitely dissolve the Communist government of North Korea, he would not replace it with the ROK Government of President Rhee. In fact, he would create no central government for North Korea other than as part of his occupational control machinery. This would be deferred until free, Korea-wide elections had been held under jurisdiction of the United Nations. [13]

Neither the United States nor the United Nations intended that Rhee's government should automatically assume control of liberated areas of North Korea. General MacArthur had been so advised by the Joint Chiefs on 27 September when they had told him, "political questions such as the formal extension of sovereignty [ROK sovereignty] over North Korea should await action by the United Nations to complete unification of the country." On 9 October, he was reminded that the authority of the Republic of Korea over North Korea had not been recognized and that as United Nations commander he would not recognize any such authority. [14]

A fuller explanation of this potentially explosive issue came on 12 October when the Interim Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations formally resolved that the United Nations recognize no government as having "legal and effective control" over all of Korea. The committee asked that the unified command (U.S. Government) assume provisionally all responsibilities for the government and civil administration of all parts of North Korea coming under control of the U.N. forces "pending consideration by the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea of the administration of these territories." [15]

At the Wake Island Conference, General MacArthur had expressed fears that the committee's action might have a bad effect on U.N.-ROK relations. "I have," he told Mr. Truman, "been shaking in my boots ever since I saw the United Nations resolution which would treat them [South Koreans] exactly on the same basis as the North Koreans." President Truman sided with MacArthur and stated that the United States would continue to support the ROK Government. But the President announced no decision to place the Rhee government in control of captured North Korean territory. [16]

When President Rhee learned of the U.N. resolution, he protested hotly to General MacArthur. Never temperate in his approach to the unification of Korea, the veteran statesman accused the U.N. committee of reviving and protecting communism by its resolution, and asserted that his government was "taking over the civilian administration whenever hostilities cease." MacArthur passed Rhee's protest along to President Truman. [17]

[13] Ibid.

[14] (1) Rad, JCS 92801, JCS to CINCFE (Personal) for MacArthur, 27 Sep. 50. (2) Rad, WAR 93721, DA to CINCFE, 9 Oct. 50.

[15] Rad, W 94093, DA to CINCFE, 12 Oct. 50.

[16] Substance of Statements, Wake Island Conference, 15 Oct. 50.

[17] Rad, CX 66554, CINCFE to CG USARPAC, MacArthur (Personal) for Truman, 16 Oct. 50.

[18] (1) Rad, JCS 94710, JCS to CINCFE, transmitting message from President Truman, 20 Oct. 50. (2) Rad, WAR 94472, DA to CINCUNC, 18 Oct. 50.


The President attributed Rhee's reaction to an incomplete understanding of the U.N. committee's resolution. The American Government continued to support the U.N. position that the jurisdiction of the Republic of Korea did not automatically extend over North Korea and that the U.N. commission would arrange for elections and other constituent acts required to unify the country. [18] On 29 October, this policy was affirmed and General MacArthur was directed not to recognize the authority of Rhee's government in North Korea but to consult with that government "in matters of national scope" through Ambassador Muccio. [19]

General MacArthur apparently interpreted this directive too literally to suit authorities in Washington. When it appeared to them that MacArthur was prohibiting South Koreans from participating in civil affairs matters in North Korea, they explained to him on 2 November:

     It is not intended that pertinent directives or any other      instructions prohibit the use of ROK administrators, police,      military forces, or any other ROK asset in North Korea as long as      it is clearly and publicly understood that such resources are not      under control of ROK but rather are designated as UN      instrumentalities, and are placed under CINCUNC's control and at      CINCUNC's disposal. [20] 

The Department of State was anxious to release to the Interim Committee of the United Nations and to send to the press the text of the directive for conducting civil affairs in North Korea. But when General MacArthur's opinion of such a move was solicited, he replied, "I believe that the public release of the directive would be premature, at least until major hostilities have come to an end. The effect upon troops engaged in serious combat of this type of advance planning based upon assumptions not yet realized, cannot be overestimated." [21]

The Mirage of Victory

In some respects, the critical situation in Korea during the first four months of fighting had proved beneficial to the United States Army. Moved by the obvious need for greater combat strength in Korea and aware of the increased danger of Communist aggression elsewhere in the world, American leaders had relaxed the rigid controls over military appropriations prevalent from 1945 to mid-1950. As one result, the Army had expanded its strength and facilities. Some of the Army expansions during these months had little direct relationship to Korea's needs, but were aimed instead at placing the Army in a more favorable position to meet any general emergency. On 27 September, the Secretary of Defense had authorized the Army to increase its strength during Fiscal Year 1951 to 1,263,000. [22] Keeping step with the increase in manpower, substantial increases in logistical support for the Army were authorized and steps were taken to transmute these authorizations into materiel.

[19] Rad, JCS 95238, JCS to CINCFE, 29 Oct. 50.

[20] Rad, WAR 95715, JCS to CINCUNC, 2 Nov. 50.

[21] Rad, C 67920, CINCFE to DA, 31 Oct. 50.

[22] (1) Memo, Secy. Defense for Secy. Army, 27 Sep. 50. (2) Ltr., DA to All Cmdrs, 15 Sep. 50, sub: Recall of Additional Reserve Officers to Active Duty.

In connection with this growth, Secretary of the Army Pace pointed out to the Army Policy Council on 5 October that many of the measures taken by the Army as a result of the Korean fighting had not received the specific approval of the Congress. More important, the Army, in its efforts to build up rapidly, had obligated and spent funds that had not yet been appropriated by the Congress. He anticipated less concern among the nation's law-makers over the use of funds than over the question of whether the Army had violated a principle and usurped authority rightfully belonging to the Congress. He directed a careful and thorough re-examination of all Army programs under the assumption that the United States requirements in Korea would be much less than originally contemplated. [23]

Signs of Retrenchment

Throughout October, optimism grew that the fighting would soon end. Consequently, the Department of the Army's planners began to anticipate a need to curtail much of the support developed for Korea. The efforts of responsible officials had started a dynamic flow of men and materiel to the Far East Command which, if allowed to continue at its current rate after the fighting stopped, would flood that theater with unneeded forces and supplies. Millions of dollars would be wasted because of poor storage facilities in Japan and Korea and the great cost of returning men and supplies to the United States.

General MacArthur, after returning from Wake Island, ordered the JSPOG staff to prepare detailed plans for the withdrawal of forces from Korea and for keeping certain units as occupation troops. He based his instructions on agreements and understandings that he felt had been reached on this general topic at Wake Island. On 20 October, JSPOG issued CINCFE Operations Plan No. 202 outlining procedures to be followed after combat operations had dwindled, so that some U.N. forces could be withdrawn from Korea. The plan assumed that the fighting would end in the destruction of organized enemy forces, but that North Korean guerrillas would still resist in the mountains. The plan also assumed that neither Soviet nor Chinese Communist forces would intervene. [24]

General MacArthur, as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, would carry out such missions and functions as became necessary to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion in Korea. The X Corps was named to stay in Korea for occupation duty. It would have one American division, plus all other U.N. units in Korea, ROK Army units, and KMAG. The U.N. units would be withdrawn progressively, with European units leaving first. Insofar as possible, no forces other than ROK would be stationed in South Korea.

The Eighth Army headquarters, along with its original four American divisions, would return to Japan; and the 5th RCT would go back to Hawaii. Within Japan, after the return of the Eighth Army, the Northern and Southwestern Commands would be dissolved and their functions assumed by the Eighth Army. The Japan Logistical Command would be retained to perform all army logistic functions in Japan. [25]

[23] Min., Army Policy Council, 2 Oct. 50 and 5 Oct. 50, in CofS DA file 334 APC.

[24] On the day the plan was issued, the GHQ Daily Intelligence Summary carried what it termed a "reliable report" that 400,000 Chinese Communist soldiers were in border-crossing areas, alerted to cross into North Korea. To detect any such crossings, the U.N. Command ordered daily air reconnaissance flights over the border area.

[25] (1) CINCFE Opn Plan No. 202, 20 Oct. 50, in JSPOG, GHQ, UNC files. (2) General Smith, the Marine division commander, gives some hint of the effect of this planning and what he calls the "end of the war atmosphere." He recalls, "On 21 October I received a dispatch from COMNAVFE stating that upon the conclusion of hostilities it was the intention to recommend to CINCFE that the 1st Marine Division, less one RCT, be returned to the United States. The RCT not returned to the United States would be billeted at Otsu, Japan. I was requested to comment. On 24 October, we learned that X Corps had received a document, for planning purposes only, to the effect that the present Corps commander would become Commander of the Occupation Forces. One American division, probably the 3d Infantry Division, would remain in Korea as part of the Occupation Forces. Under this plan the Eighth Army would return to Japan. The receipt of information such as that cited above could not help but spread the impression that the war was about over. There was a noticeable let-down. However, it was only a matter of days until the operations at Kojo brought home to us forcefully the fact that the war was not over. Talk of redeployment was never heard again." See General Smith's Chronicles, p. 403.

This plan had scarcely reached the interested staff members of General MacArthur's headquarters when word from Washington disrupted its entire concept. On 21 October, the Joint Chiefs of Staff told General MacArthur that demands for American troops in other parts of the world were forcing them to withdraw the 2d and 3d U.S. Divisions from the Far East Command as soon as possible after fighting ended in Korea. Consequently, the forces to guard Japan and also to occupy Korea would have to come from the four divisions originally based in Japan. [26]

MacArthur had left Wake Island under the impression that the 3d Division would be kept in Korea as part of the occupation force. For General Bradley had asked only that one division, either the 2d or 3d, be made available for Europe by January 1951, and MacArthur had recommended the 2d. He therefore objected when he learned that the Joint Chiefs planned to take both divisions from him. He explained his understanding of the arrangements agreed upon at Wake Island, saying he was ". . . under the impression that this proposal had received approval of all concerned. I resubmit it at this time for your consideration." [27]

The Joint Chiefs of Staff had not hastily reached their decision to take both divisions. The American force in western Europe badly needed strengthening; and on the basis of estimates from General MacArthur and other sources, they had concluded that the Far East Command would soon revert to its pre-Korean War status. Since their planning was global and took in the needs of the American defense system as a whole, they undoubtedly felt that their decision should not be unduly influenced by the opinions of a theater commander who was understandably biased in favor of his own needs. On the other hand, the Korean fighting had not yet ceased and the Far East Command was still on a wartime basis. So they made no final decision for the moment.

[26] Rad, JCS 94651, JCS to CINCFE, 21 Oct. 50.

[27] Rad, C 67065, CINCFE to JCS, 21 Oct. 50.

When General Bolte went to the Far East in late October, he discussed the matter with General MacArthur. He sent a full report of these talks to General Collins, sketching the current status of the 3d Division and recommending that the Joint Chiefs modify their previous decision slightly. General MacArthur had ordered the 3d Division to embark for Korea from Japan on 9 November to operate initially in the southern sector of North Korea and later to serve as the only U.S. occupation division. "When I departed Washington," General Bolte recalled, "the final disposition of the 3d Division was unresolved." MacArthur had apparently raised some very convincing arguments, for Bolte told General Collins, "From what I have learned here regarding the many administrative and organizational problems in reconstituting the FECOM balanced force coupled with the requirement for a division now to accomplish operational tasks in North Korea, I recommend that FECOM be authorized to retain the 3d Division until elections in North Korea are held but not later than 1 May 1951." He concluded by pointing out that if later required in western Europe, the 3d Division could be placed in an effective status of training and combat readiness as rapidly in the Far East Command as elsewhere. [28] The Joint Chiefs, probably on the basis of General Bolte's recommendation, suspended the provisions previously set up for the 2d and 3d Divisions, but notified General MacArthur to be ready to move the 3d Division from the theater within sixty days of receipt of orders. The 3d Division could be kept in the theater until 1 May 1951. [29]

In the same vein, Washington proposed a cutback of personnel support to General MacArthur. He was told on 25 October:

     Reduction of the scale of operations in Korea compels immediate      reconsideration of the number of service enlisted fillers and      replacements previously scheduled for shipment to FECOM. To reduce      this number to the minimum, Department of the Army proposes to      cancel shipment of enlisted reserve corps personnel presently      scheduled for October and November except 17,000 NCO grades. 

Normal rotation of foreign service tours would resume in January 1951. [49]

Some of the other nations committed to support the United Nations in Korea read the handwriting on the wall and found it encouraging. The United Kingdom had offered the 29th Infantry Brigade for service in Korea and its first echelon had sailed from England on 4 October. The heartening news from Korea led the British General Staff to conclude that requirements had diminished and that some remaining elements of the 29th Infantry Brigade need not be sent. They proposed to withdraw the armored regiment, the 8th Hussars, from the brigade since "the possibility of future battles in Korea in which heavy armor will be required seems remote" and "in the event of a general war the 8th Hussars would be required elsewhere." But General Bolte objected. He considered the future course of the war in Korea, for the moment and for some time to come, too uncertain, at least until all of North Korea was cleared of enemy and the intentions of the USSR and the Chinese Communists could be determined. Too, the probability of a general war in the near future was not great enough to justify withholding forces from the Korean effort. [31]

[28] Rad, C 677985, Bolte (Personal) for Collins, 1 Nov. 50.

[29] Rad, W 95625, DA to CINCFE, 3 Nov. 50.

[30] Rad, S 94985, DA to CINCFE, 25 Oct. 50.

[31] Memo, G-3 (Bolte) for CofS (Gruenther), 4 Oct. 50, in CofS DA file CX 370, Item 21.

General Collins took the matter up informally with the other Joint Chiefs on 4 October and was instructed to advise the British representative in Washington that the United States felt the fighting in Korea was far from over and that if the British engaged the enemy, General MacArthur had no surplus tanks available for supporting them. The British Government pursued the topic no further and the 8th Hussars accompanied the 29th Brigade to Korea. [32]

Canada during this period also proposed to cancel the shipment of a special fighting force which had been slated for Korea. This proposal, together with the earlier suggestion from the British Government, brought the need for a policy on continuing United Nations support into sharp focus. General Bolte took the stand that all U.N. forces in Korea and scheduled to arrive there might be required to conclude the fighting successfully and would certainly be needed to provide an adequate occupation force. He voiced concern to General MacArthur over the fact that recent operational successes were fostering a growing tendency among other United Nations members to consider additional forces unnecessary. He suggested that MacArthur include in his next report to the United Nations a special statement to encourage additional contributions from these other nations. General Bolte forcefully recommended to General Collins that, as a matter of policy, the Department of the Army should oppose the release of foreign U.N. military units previously accepted for service in Korea. [33]

[32] MFR, sgd Gen. Collins, 5 Oct. 50, CofS DA file CS 370, Item 21.

[33] (1) Rad, WAR 93605, DA (Bolte) to CINCFE, 6 Oct. 50. (2) Memo, Gen. Bolte for Gen. Collins, 13 Oct. 50, sub: Continuing Need for U.N. Forces in Korea, in G-3, DA file CS 091, Case 25.

By late October, troops of five nations, totaling about 9,000 men and officers, were serving alongside U.S. and ROK troops in Korea. Two British units, the 2-battalion infantry brigade from Hong Kong and a marine commando unit, and a 5,000-man Turkish infantry brigade were already in Korea. Additional U.N. units, totaling 27,000 men, were either en route to the battlefront or preparing for departure from their home countries; and infantry brigades from Great Britain, Canada, and Greece, infantry battalions from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Australia, and Thailand, and an artillery battalion from New Zealand had been offered to the unified command by the respective countries and these offers accepted. But the developments in Korea, and particularly the favorable prognosis brought back from the Wake Island Conference by the returning conferees, had a profound effect on General Bolte's attitude and on that of all concerned with deciding what should be done about curtailing the shipment of forces to the battlefront. On 23 October, General Bolte advised the Chief of Staff that he felt a total of 36,000 U.N. troops other than U.S. and ROK soldiers was too great and that the time was now ripe for reducing the current and projected strength of such troops to about 15,000. "In view of the state of operations in North Korea," Bolte said:

     and in general consonance with the Wake Island conversations, it is      considered desirable to review current and projected plans for      utilizing other United Nations in Korea. The problem is to reduce      logistic burdens on the United States and at the same time      retain the political advantages of multinational United Nations        representation. [34]

General Collins agreed with his G-3 and presented his views to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at once. He told his fellow service heads that the United Nations contingents were a logistical burden on the United States, although not so pronounced in the case of British units that used their own arms and equipment.

[34] Memo, G-3 (Bolte) for CofS (Collins), 23 Oct. 50, sub: Cutback in U.N. Ground Forces in Korea (other than U.S. and ROK).

From the viewpoint of operational usefulness there was also a wide divergence in the quality of the various contingents. Turning to fiscal matters, General Collins noted that "the degree of ultimate reimbursement to the United States may prove problematical in many cases." He did see the political advantages to be gained by having a wide representation of United Nations contingents even if only token forces were involved. He felt, as did General Bolte, that the Korean operations were approaching a point where some of the U.N. units could be dispensed with. Basing his final judgment on all the factors-logistic, political, and operational-General Collins then recommended changes in the U.N. lineup.

After considering Collins' views, the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed that the request for the Belgian battalion, the Netherlands battalion, the French battalion, the New Zealand artillery battalion, and the additional Australian battalion should be canceled and the countries concerned asked not to send these units. They decided also to ask Canada and Greece to reduce their respective brigades to battalion size and for the redeployment of the Philippine battalion and the British marine commando unit to their own countries. Finally, the U.K. 27th Brigade would be returned to British control as soon as the U.K. 29th Brigade arrived from Hong Kong to replace it. General MacArthur was notified of these decisions at once, and the Secretary of Defense was asked to coordinate with the Secretary of State in obtaining the concurrence ofthe countries concerned. On 2 November, Secretary Marshall wrote the Secretary of State asking that he make the proper arrangements. [35]

Equally as pronounced a reaction to the success of United Nations operations came from those persons charged with logistic support planning for the Korean fighting. During a visit to the Far East Command in late September, Lt. Gen. Thomas B. Larkin, the Department of the Army G-4, conferred with General MacArthur on the matter of cutting back the wartime flow of supplies to his theater. He asked particularly that MacArthur take steps to reduce substantially his requisitions for ammunition and other items. [36] The Army's supply experts were very worried because the bulk of the Army's supplies and equipment were being drawn to the Far East. Because of the rapid developments in Korea since July, the Far East Command had not been able to get its inventory and stock reports in good condition and there was a tendency to draw out of the United States larger amounts of supply and equipment than were needed. [37]

[35] (1) Ibid. (2) JCS 1776/144 and 2d corrigendum thereto, 25 Oct. 50. (3) Memo, Secy. JCS (Adm. Lalor) for CofS USA (Collins), 27 Oct. 50, sub: Cutback in Ground Forces in Korea, (4) Ltr., Secy. Defense (Marshall) to Secy. State (Acheson), 2 Nov. 50. All in C-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 111-111/6.

[36] Min., 43d mtg. Army Policy Council, 19 Oct. 50, CS 334.

[37] Min., 42d mtg. Army Policy Council, 5 Oct. 50, CS 334.

[38] Memo, DA C-4 (Larkin) for DA G-3 (Bolte), 26 Sep. 50, sub: Post-Korean Hostilities Basis for Logistic Support, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 99.

[39] Memo, Gen. Bolte (G-3) for CofS, 27 Sep. 50, sub: Responsibilities for Supply in FEC, Post-hostilities in Korea, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 9916.

[40] JCS 1776/124, 3 Oct. 50.

Upon his return from Japan, General Larkin expressed concern that no real plans to reduce the logistic support of the Far East Command to conform with post-hostilities requirements had yet been made. "Present indications," Larkin said, "are that hostilities in Korea may end at an early date (VK-day)." He ordered his staff to begin planning on a priority basis for the cutback and diversion of excess supplies en route, for the roll-up of supplies in excess of FEC needs, and for the movement and housing of forces diverted and redeployed from the Far East. But in order to plan, his staff had to know how many troops were going to be stationed in the Far East and Korea after the war ended, and what levels of supply and special reserves would be needed for the U.S. Army, the ROK Army, and the other U.N. forces. He asked General Bolte to provide that information as soon as possible, "due to the possibility of early suspension of major hostilities in Korea and the probable necessity of diverting cargo ships on the high seas." [38] Bolte saw the problem but had no ready answer and turned to the Chief of Staff for advice. Bolte pointed out that the Army could not make plans until the Joint Chiefs had determined what forces were going to be kept in the Far East when the war was over and how much support was going to be given the ROK and Japanese security forces. He insisted that the matter should receive the highest possible priority. [39] General Collins on 3 October asked the Joint Chiefs to start considering the problem. [40] Bolte, giving Larkin such information as he could without waiting for a decision by the Joint Chiefs, told him on 3 October that levels of supply in FECOM after the fighting ceased should be those in effect before the fighting started. But, in addition, MacArthur's theater should be given a 90-day reserve at combat rates for a 4-division balanced force which, it was contemplated, would constitute the post-hostilities troop basis. The Army planned to continue moving those troop units and casuals which were en route or scheduled for shipment for the Far East as of that date. This procedure would permit the use of the incoming filler personnel to complete the organizational structure of units already in the theater. Furthermore, the few service troops who were alerted for the Far East would be needed to support the revised 4-division troop basis for the FEC. Future shipments of units and soldiers not already alerted for the theater would be carefully screened to prevent unnecessary redeployment. Two days later Bolte furnished Larkin with a list of American units tentatively planned to garrison the Far East Command after the fighting ceased. He accompanied this with an Army plan for the deployment of troops from the Far East Command. [41]

While the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered the problem of the post-hostilities troop basis and supply needs in the Far East Command, and before they could arrive at a final decision, the problem was overtaken by events. Nevertheless, the Department of the Army took its planning seriously, and on 15 October informed General MacArthur of the projected size of his command once the campaigns in Korea were over. In a definite move toward retrenchment, the Department of the Army also asked him to cancel immediately all outstanding requisitions for supplies from the ZI and to resubmit his requests on the basis of the anticipated post-hostilities force. [42]

[41] Memo, Bolte for Larkin, 3 Oct. 50 and 5 Oct. 50, with Incls, sub: Post-Korean Hostilities Basis for Logistic Support, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 99/6.

[42] Rad, W 94227, DA to CINCFE, 15 Oct. 50.

Several logistic actions taken within the Far East Command indicate that the Department of the Army officials were not alone in foreseeing an early end to the fighting. On 22 October, General Walker requested authority from General MacArthur to divert to Japan all bulk-loaded ammunition ships arriving in Korea after 20 October. Ammunition already in Korea, Walker believed, could take care of the North Koreans and still leave a balance for post-hostilities requirements. MacArthur granted this request and ordered Japan Logistical Command to take the necessary actions. In the same vein General Weible, commander of Japan Logistical Command, asked MacArthur to authorize the return to the United States of six ships loaded with 105-mm. and 155-mm. artillery ammunition and aerial bombs. Both General MacArthur and General Stratemeyer agreed that this ammunition was in excess of the needs of the Korean theater in view of the existing tactical situation. MacArthur, on the other hand, felt it would be highly desirable to have a reserve stock of ammunition placed at Hawaii for use in the event of another emergency and asked the Department of the Army at least to consider diverting these ammunition ships to Hawaii before ordering them back to the United States. General Weible also requested the San Francisco Port of Embarkation to cancel all outstanding requisitions for ammunition and to unload any ammunition-carrying vessels that had not left port. [43]

A Minority View-Just in Case

Regardless of the general feeling of optimism and the retrenchment moves, a disturbing, low-key concern over a possible Chinese intervention still remained. Consequently, while planning for the mundane aftermath of victory in Korea, the Army staff gave some attention to what might happen if the Chinese suddenly moved against MacArthur. On 11 October, a survey of MacArthur's resources for meeting such an attack was completed and sent to General Bolte by Brig. Gen. Ridgely Gaither, Chief of the Operations Division, G-3, Department of the Army. Gaither's survey showed that U.N. members other than the United States were scheduled to furnish additional troops to the U.N. Command to bring the total up to 29,700 troops by March 1951; General MacArthur had indicated his intention to activate five more ROK divisions, one each month beginning in November, with each division having an approximate strength of 11,000; 60,000 fillers for American units were scheduled to be furnished between 10 November and late December; and by 31 December, American strength in the Far East Command would total 6 Army divisions, 1 marine division, 1 infantry RCT, 1 airborne RCT, and 1 infantry regiment, all at full strength. [44]

If the Chinese intervened and further reinforcements were required, the situation would be a little tight. The most readily available source of non-divisional unit reinforcement were 108 units previously allocated for shipment to the FEC. The non-divisional artillery and Engineer units on this list would be operationally ready by 1 January and could materially strengthen the combat capability of the United Nations Command. The four National Guard divisions federalized in September would be trained and ready about 1 June 1951. The 82d Airborne Division was ready at any time and could be committed within thirty days if necessary. An additional marine division, to be ready by June 1951, had been organized and was now in training. The rest of the General Reserve in the United States, including the 2d Armored Division, 11th Airborne Division, 14th RCT, 196th RCT, and 278th RCT, was just beginning a program of reconstitution but could be ready by June 1951. [45]

[43] (1) Rad, CX 7506, CINCFE to CG Army Eight and CG JLCOM, 26 Oct. 50, with MFR on file copy, SGS files, GHQ. (2) Rad, CX 68002, CINCFE to DA, 28 Oct. 50, and Memo for Record on file copy SCS, GHQ.

[44] Memo, Gen. Gaither (Opn Div. G-3) for Gen. Bolte (G-3), 11 Oct. 50, sub: Reinforcement of U.N. Forces in Korea, in G-3, DA file 091 Korea, Case 109.

[45] Ibid.

Underscoring the Chinese threats of intervention early in October, another warning was sounded, if faintly, on 18 October when American reconnaissance planes flying close to the Yalu found almost one hundred Russian-built fighters lined up on An-tung Airfield across the river in Manchuria. MacArthur's air commander, General Stratemeyer, minimized this ominous discovery by telling General Vandenberg in Washington that the planes were probably there purposely to lend "color and credence to menacing statements and threats of Chinese Communist leaders, who probably felt that this display of strength involved no risk in view of our apparent desire to avoid border incidents." Stratemeyer certainly did not believe that the Chinese meant to use these fighters to attack his planes since they had not done so when the observation aircraft, an easy target, had come close. "I believe it especially significant," he told Vandenberg, "that, if deployment for possible action in Korea were under way, it would be highly unlikely that aircraft would have been positioned to attract attention from south of the border." [46]

Almost at the same time that Chinese fighters appeared on the border, the Department of State suggested to the Joint Chiefs that General MacArthur be instructed to disavow publicly any intention of destroying certain hydroelectric power facilities along the Manchurian border. This suggestion stemmed from some evidence that the Chinese intended to move down into Korea to protect the Suiho Hydroelectric Power Plant and the installations along the Yalu. An announcement by MacArthur would have the dual purpose of allaying Chinese Communist fears of trespassing into Manchuria by the United Nations Command and of showing the rest of the world that his expedition into North Korea was not primarily destructive in purpose. The State Department asked also that General MacArthur's announcement contain a statement that the U.N. Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea would consult with all interested parties on this and other problems which might come before it. Since Communist China qualified as an interested party to any operation along the Manchurian border, this could be construed as a willingness by the commission to deal with Communist China on matters involving Korea. The Joint Chiefs felt such an announcement would be militarily undesirable. They were, however, directed by President Truman to send the suggestion to MacArthur. They did so, telling him he could issue the text of the announcement if he wished. "It is considered desirable," they concluded, "that President Rhee be advised with regard to this action if it is to be taken." [47]

[46] Rad, A 25438 INT-IE, CC, FEAF to CS USAF, 20 Oct. 50.

[47] Rad, JCS 94799, JCS to CINCFE, 21 Oct. 50.

General MacArthur did not feel that the time was propitious for such an announcement, especially since the Suiho Hydroelectric Power Plant at Sinuiju was not under United Nations control and no determination could be made at long range of how much power was being turned out or where it was going. MacArthur did not propose, if he could avoid it, to tie his own hands with a commitment that he might later find militarily inconvenient.

     There would certainly be no intent on the part of this command to        disturb any peaceful and reasonable application of this power      supply, and it would be repugnant to destructively interrupt any      constructive uses to which it is being applied. If, however, this      power is being utilized in furtherance of potentially hostile      military purposes through the manufacture of munitions of war or      there is a diversion of it from the minimum peaceful requirements      of the Korean people, most serious doubts would at   once arise as to our justification for maintaining status quo. 

Nor did MacArthur feel that he should speak for the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea by predicting any of its future policies or decisions. The Joint Chiefs did not press the matter and the announcement was never made. [48]

Despite Mao Tse-tung's early October threats and the mid-month discovery of fighter aircraft just over the Manchurian border, apprehensions subsided as the end of the month approached without Chinese intervention. Likewise, the difficulties of supplying the Eighth Army and the unexpected hitch in landing the X Corps at Wonsan became mere annoyances as Walker's forces moved deep into western North Korea and as the force that Almond so far commanded ashore, the ROK I Corps, moved far up the east coast. The Wake Island Conference truly had been the catalyst that generated wide confidence in MacArthur's march to victory.

[48] Rad, C 67154, CINCFE: to JCS, 22 Oct. 50.

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