Korean War....

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Aug 21, 2006
In my castle....
Battle of Heartbreak Ridge

The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge was a month-long battle in the Korean War. It was fought between September 13 and October 15, 1951, in the hills of North Korea a few miles north of the 38th parallel (the prewar boundary between North and South Korea), near Chorwon. Heartbreak Ridge, is at 38°18′N, 128°1′E in Yanggu County, Gangwon Province, South Korea.

The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge was one of several major engagements in an area know as "The Punchbowl", which served as an important Communist staging area. The United Nations first initiated limited operations to seize the high ground surrounding the Punchbowl in late July.

After withdrawing from Bloody Ridge, the Korean People's Army (KPA-the North Korean Army) set up new positions just 1,500 yards away on a seven-mile-long hill mass that was soon to earn the name Heartbreak Ridge. If anything, the enemy's defenses were even more formidable here than on Bloody Ridge. Unfortunately, the 2d Division's acting commander, Brigadier General Thomas de Shazo, and his immediate superior, Major General Clovis E. Beyers, the X Corps commander, seriously underestimated the strength of the North Korean position. They ordered a lone infantry regiment-the 23rd and its attached French battalion to make what would prove to be an ill-conceived assault straight up Heartbreak's heavily fortified slopes.

All three of the 2nd Division's infantry regiments participated, with the brunt of the combat borne by the 23rd and 9th Infantry Regiments, along with the attached French Battalion. The attack began on September 13 and quickly deteriorated into a familiar pattern. First, American aircraft, tanks, and artillery would pummel the ridge for hours on end, turning the already barren hillside into a cratered moonscape. Next, the 23d's infantrymen would clamber up the mountain's rocky slopes, taking out one enemy bunker after another by direct assault. Those who survived to reach the crest arrived exhausted and low on ammunition. Then the inevitable counterattack would come - wave after wave of North Koreans determined to recapture the lost ground at any cost. Many of these counterattacks were conducted at night by fresh troops that the North Koreans were able to bring up under the shelter of neighboring hills. Battles begun by bomb, bullet, and shell were inevitably finished by grenade, trench knife, and fist as formal military engagements degenerated into desperate hand-to-hand brawls. Sometimes dawn broke to reveal the defenders still holding the mountaintop.

And so the battle progressed-crawling up the hill, stumbling back down it, and crawling up once again-day after day, night after night, for two weeks. Because of the constricting terrain and the narrow confines of the objectives, units were committed piecemeal to the fray, one platoon, company, or battalion at a time. Once a particular element had been so ground up that it could no longer stand the strain, a fresh unit would take its place, and then another and another until the 23d Infantry as a whole was fairly well shattered.

The fighting was savage - no quarter was given or asked by either side - and the ridgeline (called Heartbreak by the American G.I.'s) changed hands many times in an exhausting series of attacks and counterattacks. Several units up to company size (100-200 men) were wiped out. The Americans employed massive artillery barrages, airstrikes and tanks in attempts to drive the North Koreans off the ridge, but the KPA proved extremely hard to dislodge. Finally, on September 27th, the 2d Division's new commander, Maj. Gen. Robert N. Young, called a halt to the "fiasco" on Heartbreak Ridge as American planners reconsidered their strategy.

The 23d Infantry's failure to capture Heartbreak Ridge had not come from a lack of valor. It took extreme bravery to advance up Heartbreak's unforgiving slopes under intense enemy fire. And when things did not go right, it took equal courage to take a stand so that others might live. One person who took such a stand was Pfc. Herbert K. Pililaau, a quiet, six-foot-tall Hawaiian. Pililaau's outfit, Company C, 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, was clinging to a small stretch of Heartbreak's ridge top on the night of 17 September when a battalion of North Koreans came charging out of the darkness from an adjacent hill. The company fought valiantly, but a shortage of ammunition soon compelled it to retreat down the mountain. After receiving reinforcements and a new issue of ammunition, the Americans advanced back up the ridge. North Korean fire broke the first assault, but Company C soon regrouped and advanced again, recapturing the crest by dawn. The pendulum of war soon reversed its course, however, and by midday the men of Company C were once again fighting for their lives as the North Korean battalion surged back up the hill. Running low on ammunition, the company commander called retreat. Pililaau volunteered to remain behind to cover the withdrawal. As his buddies scrambled to safety, Pililaau wielded his Browning automatic rifle with great effect until he too had run out of ammunition. He then started throwing grenades, and when those were exhausted, he pulled out his trench knife and fought on until a group of North Korean soldiers shot and bayoneted him while his comrades looked on helplessly from a sheltered position 200 yards down the slope. Determined to avenge his death, the men of Company C swept back up the mountain. When they recaptured the position, they found over forty dead North Koreans clustered around Pililaau's corpse.

Pililaau's sacrifice had saved his comrades, and for that a grateful nation posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor. Yet his valiant act could not alter the tactical situation on the hill. As long as the North Koreans could continue to reinforce and resupply their garrison on the ridge, it would be nearly impossible for the Americans to take the mountain. After belatedly recognizing this fact, the 2d Division crafted a new plan that called for a full division assault on the valleys and hills adjacent to Heartbreak to cut the ridge off from further reinforcement. Spearheading this new offensive would be the division's 72d Tank Battalion, whose mission was to push up the Mundung-ni Valley west of Heartbreak to destroy enemy supply dumps in the vicinity of the town of Mundung-ni.

It was a bold plan, but one that could not be accomplished until a way had been found to get the 72d's M4A3E8 Sherman tanks into the valley. The only existing road was little more than a track that could not bear the weight of the Shermans. Moreover, it was heavily mined and blocked by a six-foot-high rock barrier built by the North Koreans. Using nothing but shovels and explosives, the men of the 2d Division's 2d Engineer Combat Battalion braved enemy fire to clear these obstacles and build an improved roadway. While they worked, the division's three infantry regiments-9th, 38th, and 23d-launched coordinated assaults on Heartbreak Ridge and the adjacent hills. By October 10 everything was ready for the big raid. The sudden onslaught of a battalion of tanks racing up the valley took the enemy by surprise. By coincidence, the thrust came just when the Chinese 204th Division was moving up to relieve the North Koreans on Heartbreak. Caught in the open, the Chinese division suffered heavy casualties from the American tanks. For the next five days the Shermans roared up and down the Mundung-ni Valley, over-running supply dumps, mauling troop concentrations, and destroying approximately 350 bunkers on Heartbreak and in the surrounding hills and valleys. A smaller tank-infantry team scoured the Sat'ae-ri Valley east of the ridge, thereby completing the encirclement and eliminating any hope of reinforcement for the beleaguered North Koreans on Heartbreak.

The armored thrusts turned the tide of the battle, but plenty of hard fighting remained for the infantry before French soldiers captured the last Communist bastion on the ridge on October 13. After 30 days of combat, the Americans and French eventually gained the upper hand and secured Heartbreak Ridge. Both sides suffered high casualties: over 3,700 American and French and an estimated 25,000 North Korean and Chinese. These losses made a deep impression on the U.N. and U.S. command, which decided that battles like Heartbreak Ridge were not worth the high cost in blood for the relatively small amount of terrain captured. For this reason, Heartbreak Ridge was the last major offensive conducted by U.N. forces in the war.

Sporadic battles along the line of contact between U.N. and communist forces would continue to be fought until the armistice was signed in July, 1953, but from this point on, they would usually be initiated by the North Koreans or Chinese.
Battle of Old Baldy

The Battle of Old Baldy usually refers to a series of five engagements over a period of 10 months for Hill 266 in west-central Korea, though there was also vicious fighting both before and after these engagements..

As May turned to June, Major General David L. Ruffner of the 45th Division (holding the right flank of the I Corps' line, was frustrated by the splendid view that enemy observers had of his division's positions. Opposing the 45th Division from east to west were elements of the 338th and 339th Regiments, 113th Division, 38th Army; 350th and 349th Regiments, 117th Division, 39th Army; and the 344th Regiment, 115th Division, 39th Army. The other infantry components of the 113th, 115th, and 117th Divisions were in reserve, as was the 116th Division, 39th Army. The Chinese had over ten battalions of artillery positioned along the front in direct or general support roles. Maj. Gen. Ruffner laid plans for Operation Counter, a two-phase operation to capture and hold 12 outposts a few thousand yards in front of the main line. One of the most prominent hills came to be called "Old Baldy", which earned its nickname after artillery and mortar fire destroyed the trees on its crest. But as the highest point on a prominent east-west ridge, Old Baldy held strategic importance because it dominated terrain in three directions.

The battle for Old Baldy was costly to both sides. Through July 21, 1952, the United Nations had lost 357 men in the battle for the hill, and Chinese casualties were estimated to be more than 1,000.

Opening attack

Several air strikes on known enemy strongpoints close to the outpost objectives took place during the daylight hours of June 6, 1952. Then, after dark, various units ranging from a squad to almost a company, advanced to take possession of the outposts. Evidently the Chinese had not anticipated the operation, for the attack units encountered little opposition except at Outpost 10 on Hill 255 and Outpost 11 on Hill 266. The former, which was to become better known as Porkchop Hill, was taken by two platoons from I Company, 180th, after a 55-minute fire fight with two Chinese platoons. On Old Baldy, two squads from A Company, 180th Infantry, exchanged small arms and automatic weapons fire with two Chinese squads, then withdrew and directed artillery fire upon the Chinese.

Pfc. James Ortega, a forward observer for the 171st Field Artillery Battalion, jumped into a trench and directed the artillery concentration which pounded the top of the hill with 500 rounds. When the artillery ceased, the men from A Company again probed the enemy's positions. Meeting intense fire, M/Sgt. John O. White took a squad, reinforced by a BAR and machine gun, and made a sweep to the rear of the enemy where they advanced to within 25 feet of the Chinese before attacking. As the Chinese resistance crumbled, the infantrymen from A Company pushed their way toward the crest of Old Baldy, where Chinese artillery immediately began to come in. Despite the enemy fire, the A Company squads hung on and took possession of Old Baldy shortly after midnight.

Once the outposts were seized, the task of organizing them defensively got under way. Aided by Korean Service Corps personnel the men of the 279th and 180th Infantry Regiments brought in construction and fortification materials and worked through the night. They built bunkers with overhead protection so that their own artillery could use proximity fuze shells when an enemy attack drew close to the outpost. They ringed the outposts with barbed wire and placed mines along the avenues of approach which were also covered by automatic weapons. Whenever possible, they sited their machine guns and recoilless rifles in positions where they could provide support to adjacent outposts. Signal personnel set up communications to the rear and laterally to other outposts by radio and wire and porters brought in stockpiles of ammunition. Back on the main line of resistance, infantry, tank, and artillery support weapons had drawn up fire plans to furnish the outposts with protective fires and a prebriefed reinforcing element was prepared to go to the immediate assistance of each outpost in the event of enemy attack. By morning the new 24-hour outposts were ready to withstand counterattacks, and garrison forces of from 18 to 44 men were left behind as the bulk of the forces from the 279th and 180th Infantry Regiments withdrew to the main line of resistance.

Recollection from March 1952 of the Battle for Old Baldy, "The Ethiopians took Old Baldy from the 'Chinks' but when they turned it over to us, we lost it again. The Ethiopians are going to try to get it back." --Edward L. Pierce

First battle of Old Baldy - June 26 - July 17 1952

The contest for Old Baldy became very heated on June 26, 1952. Almost 1,000 feet west of the crest the Chinese had established positions that posed a constant threat to the 45th Division outpost and the 179th Infantry Regiment's troops in the area. Colonel Sandlin decided to destroy the enemy strongpoints. Early in the morning the 179th Infantry Regiment vacated its outpost on Old Baldy to permit air strikes and artillery and mortar barrages to be placed on the enemy positions. Eight fighter-bombers from the Fifth Air Force dropped bombs and loosed rockets and machine gun fire; then 45th Division artillery and mortar units began to lay concentrations on the enemy strongpoints.
C Company (Reinforced), 179th Infantry, under 1st Lt. John B. Blount, and F Company, 180th Infantry, commanded by Captain Tiller, which was attached to the 179th, attacked after the artillery and mortar fire. With C Company moving in from the left and F Company, supported by a tank, coming in from the right finger of Old Baldy, the assault forces soon ran into heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire from the two Chinese companies who comprised the defense force. After an hour of fighting the Chinese suddenly pulled back and directed artillery and mortar fire upon the attacking units. When the fire ceased, the Chinese quickly came back and closed with the men of C and F Companies in the trenches. A Company, 179th Infantry, under 1st Lt. George L. Vaughn, came up to reinforce the attack during the afternoon, for the enemy machine guns were making it difficult for men of C and F Companies to move over the crest of the hill. The attack force regrouped, with F Company taking over the holding of the left and right fingers of Old Baldy, C Company holding the old Outpost 11 position, and A Company working its way around the right flank of the enemy defenders. For two hours the battle continued as the Chinese used hand grenades and machine guns to repel each attempt to drive them from their positions. Late in the day two tanks lumbered up the hill to help reduce the Chinese strongpoints; one turned over and the second threw a track, but they managed to inflict some damage before they were put out of action. Gradually the Chinese evacuated their positions and the 179th was able to send engineers and several more tanks up to the crest.

During the night of 26 June and the following day the three companies dug in to consolidate their defense positions on Old Baldy. On the afternoon of 27 June L Company, 179th Infantry, under 1st Lt. William T. Moroney, took over defense of the crest and F Company, 180th Infantry, moved back to a supporting position. C Company and elements of A Company held the ground northwest of the crest.

When night fell, enemy activity around Old Baldy increased. Mortar and artillery fire began to come in on the 179th Infantry Regiment's positions and Chinese flares warned that the Chinese were on the move. At 2200 hours the Chinese struck the defenders of L Company from the northeast and southwest. An estimated reinforced battalion pressed on toward the crest until it met a circle of defensive fire. From the main line of resistance, artillery, mortar, tank, and infantry weapons covered Chinese avenues of approach. L Company added its small arms, automatic weapons, and hand grenades to the circle which kept the Chinese at bay. Unable to penetrate the ring, the Chinese withdrew and regrouped at midnight.

The second and third attacks followed the same pattern. Each lasted over an hour during the early morning of June 28th and each time the Chinese failed to break through the wall of defensive fires. After suffering casualties estimated at between 250 and 325 men, the Chinese broke off the fight. The 179th Infantry reported six men killed and sixty-one wounded during the three engagements.

Late in the evening of June 28th, the Chinese artillery and mortar fire on Old Baldy signaled the approach of another attack. Four Chinese squads reconnoitered the 179th positions at 2200 hours, exchanging automatic weapons and small arms fire. About an hour later the main assault began with a force estimated at two reinforced battalions moving in from the northeast and northwest behind a very heavy artillery and mortar barrage. This time the Chinese penetrated the perimeter and hand-to hand fighting broke out. Shortly after midnight a UNC flare plane began to illuminate the battle area and the defensive fires from the main line of resistance, coupled with the steady stream of small arms and automatic weapons fire from the three companies of the 179th on the hill, became more effective. By 0100 on June 29th, the Chinese disengaged to the north, having suffered losses estimated at close to 700 men. In return the Chinese had fired over 4,000 rounds of artillery and mortar fire and the 179th Infantry had suffered 43 casualties, including 8 killed in action.

As June ended, the 45th Division, despite the lack of combat experience of many of its troops, had acquitted itself well on the battlefield. In the fight for the outposts the division had withstood more than twenty Chinese counterattacks and inflicted an estimated 3,500 casualties on the enemy. It had also won a commendation from General Van Fleet. The Chinese made one more attempt to wrest control of Old Baldy from the 45th Division's possession on the night of July 3-4. Three separate attacks, the last in battalion strength, met the same fate as their predecessors as the concentration of defensive firepower first blunted and then forced the Chinese to desist in their assaults.

Second battle of Old Baldy - July 17-22, 1952

The Chinese had not attempted to take the hill again until the U.S. 2nd Division relieved the 45th Division during mid July. All of the Eighth Army's corps followed a policy of rotating their divisions periodically on the line and the 45th had spent over six months at the front. The Chinese took advantage of the relief as they mounted two attacks on the night of July 17-18 in strengths exceeding a reinforced battalion. Through quick reinforcement of the Old Baldy outpost and heavy close defensive fires, E and F Companies, 23rd Infantry Regiment, who were defending the hill managed to repel the first Chinese assault. But the second won a foothold on the slopes which the Chinese reinforced and then exploited. Chinese artillery and mortar fire became very intense; then the Chinese infantry followed up swiftly and seized the crest. Counterattacks by the 23d Regiment supported by air strikes and artillery and mortar fire, did not succeed in driving the Chinese from the newly won positions. By July 20 the 2nd Division elements had regained only a portion of the east finger of Old Baldy. The onset of the rainy season made operations exceedingly difficult to carry out during the rest of the month.

As the torrential downpours converted the Korean battleground into a morass in the last week of July, the U.N. Command counted its losses on Old Baldy during the month. Through July 21 the tally showed 39 killed, 234 wounded, and 84 missing for the UNC and an estimated 1,093 killed and wounded for the Chinese.

Third battle of Old Baldy - August 1-4, 1952

When the rain eased off at the end of July, the 23rd Infantry Regiment again sought to secure complete control of Old Baldy. Since the Chinese had an estimated two platoons on the crest, the 23d sent two reinforced companies up the slopes after artillery and mortar preparatory fires on the Chinese positions. Edging toward the Chinese defenses, the 2nd Division forces used small arms fire and hand grenades as they reached the trenches. After bitter hand-to-hand combat, the two companies finally gained the crest early on August 1 and dug in to prepare for the customary counterattack, Two hundred flares were distributed around the UNC positions and forty-two air sorties were flown during the day in support. That night the Chinese sent first mortar, then artillery fire at the crest, dropping an estimated 2,500 rounds on the 23d Regiment elements. But counterattacks were driven off.

Mines, bunkers, and additional wire helped to strengthen the UNC hold on Old Baldy on August 2, and extremely heavy and effective artillery fire broke up another enemy assault on August 4
Battle of Pork Chop Hill

The Battle of Pork Chop Hill refers to a pair of related Korean War engagements during the spring and summer of 1953. These actions, occurring as the conflict was drawing towards a negotiated armistice, were controversial in the United States because of heavy loss of life in battles for terrain of no apparent strategic or tactical value. The first battle was described in a book of the same name by S.L.A. Marshall, from which was made the film Pork Chop Hill.

The first battle ended with a United Nations victory as the Chinese broke contact after two days of battle and withdrew. The second battle involved significantly more troops on both sides and was hotly contested for five days before United Nations Command conceded the battle to the Chinese forces and withdrew behind the main battle line.


Pork Chop Hill was the nickname for a United Nations military outpost in the "Iron Triangle" sector of Korea along the 38th parallel. The hill, 255 meters in elevation, had first been seized in October 1951 by the U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment, again in May 1952 by Item Company of the U.S. 180th Infantry Regiment, then defended by the 21st Thai Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division (United States) in November, 1952. Since December 29, 1952 the outpost was part of the 7th Infantry Division's defensive sector. Pork Chop itself was one of a number of exposed hill outposts in front of the Main Line of Resistance (MLR), defended by a single company or platoon dug into sand-bagged bunkers connected by trenches.

Opposing the 7th Infantry Division were two divisions of the Communist Chinese Forces (People's Volunteer Army), the 141st Division of the 47th Army, and the 67th Division of the 23rd Army. These were veteran, well-trained units expert in night infantry assaults, patrolling, ambushes, and mountain warfare. Both armies (Corps-equivalent units) were part of the 13th Field Army commanded by General Deng Hua, who was also deputy commander of Chinese Volunteer Army forces in Korea.

The opposing forces in this sector were roughly equal in size, the 7th Division (Major General Arthur Trudeau, commanding) totaling 11 infantry battalions (including attached battalions from Colombia and Ethiopia), a battalion of armor, and 6 battalions of artillery, while the Chinese forces totaled 12 infantry, 10 artillery, and the equivalent of one tank battalion.

Both the United Nations Command and the Chinese had used military operations to gain leverage or make political statements relevant to the truce discussions since at least early 1952. The first battle on Pork Chop Hill occurred in proximity to Operation Little Switch, the exchange of ill and injured prisoners-of-war scheduled to begin April 20. The Chinese command authorized the April attack to demonstrate that reaching agreement on a contentious issue in negotiations did not signal any unwillingness to continue fighting if necessary.

The first battle (April 16-18)
Loss of the outpost

On March 23, 1953, a battalion of the Chinese 423rd regiment, 141st Division seized an outpost near Pork Chop Hill called Old Baldy in a surprise night attack that quickly overwhelmed Company B of the 3rd Colombian Battalion (Lt.Col. Alberto Ruiz-Novoa) in the process of being relieved. Two days of counterattacks by a battalion of the 7th's 32nd Infantry Regiment failed to retake the hill and the United Nations Command ordered it to be abandoned. This preliminary action exposed Pork Chop to attack from three sides, and for the next three weeks the hill was probed nightly by Chinese patrols.

On the night of April 16, Pork Chop was manned by Company E, 31st Infantry (1st Lt. Thomas V. Harrold). Shortly before midnight the hill was struck with a massive artillery barrage, followed by a sudden assault by a battalion of the Chinese 201st regiment. The hill was quickly overrun, although pockets of U.S. troops held out in isolated bunkers. Elsewhere in the sector other positions were also attacked, placing pressure on the entire 7th Division

31st Infantry counterattack

Company K (1st Lt. Joseph G. Clemons, Jr.) and Company L (1st Lt. Forrest J. Crittendon), 31st Infantry, in reserve behind the MLR, were ordered to counterattack and began their attack at 04:30 of April 17. By dawn they reached the main trenches on top of the hill but suffered almost 50% casualties, and half of Company L's troops had not been able to leave the trenches of an adjacent outpost, Hill 200. Lt. Clemons, in tactical command of the assault, requested reinforcement. 2nd Battalion 17th Infantry was already attached to the 31st Infantry and its Company G (1st Lt. Walter B. Russell) was immediately sent forward, linking up with Company K at 08:30. All three companies were subjected to almost continuous shelling by CCF artillery as they cleared bunkers and dug in again.

Through a series of miscommunications between command echelons, Division headquarters ordered Russell's company to withdraw at 15:00 after they too had suffered heavy losses, and did not realize the extent of casualties among the other two companies. By the time the situation was clarified the companies of the 31st Infantry were down to a combined 25 survivors. Maj. Gen. Trudeau, by then on scene, authorized the commander of the 31st Infantry, Col. William B. Kern, to send in a fresh company to relieve all elements on Hill 255 and placed him in tactical command with both the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 17th Infantry attached and at his direction.

17th Infantry counterattack

Kern sent forward Company F, 17th Infantry (Captain Monroe D. King), which started up the hill at 21:30 under heavy artillery fire but reached the trenches at 22:00, suffering 19 killed in the process. Kern at 23:00 then ordered Company E, 17th infantry (1st Lt. Gorman C. Smith), to move up to reinforce Company F. Smith, to avoid the bulk of the artillery fire, moved around the right flank of the hill and up the side facing the Chinese positions

Company K, 31st Infantry had incurred 125 casualties, including 18 killed, of its original 135 men. After twenty hours of steady combat the remaining seven members started off the hill singly just after midnight of April 17-18 and withdrew without further losses. Several of Company L's survivors remained with the relief troops to familiarize them with the layout of the hill defenses.

During the early morning of April 18, the Chinese 201st Regiment renewed its attack at 0130 and again inflicted heavy losses on the defenders, nearly overrunning Company F in battalion strength. The timely counterattack by Company E, 17th Infantry caught the Chinese by surprise on their flank and ended the organized assault. The 141st Division renewed attacks in company strength at 03:20 and 04:20 but did not gain further ground.

At dawn on April 18, an additional U.S. rifle company (Company A, 17th Infantry) climbed the hill to reinforce the 2nd battalion companies. Together the three companies spent the bulk of the day clearing the trenches and bunkers of all hiding Chinese and securing the hilltop. The battle ended that afternoon.

UN artillery had fired over 77,000 rounds in support of the three outposts attacked, including nearly 40,000 on Pork Chop Hill alone on April 18; the Chinese expended a similar amount.
Tactics and losses

Both the Chinese and US infantry assaulted the hill initially under cover of night. Each used a heavy preparatory artillery barrage to force the defenders to cover in bunkers and to screen the approach of the attacking troops. Chinese forces used rapid movement and infiltration tactics to close quickly on the trenches and surprise the defenders, while the US forces used grazing fire (small arms fire placed approximately 1-2 feet above the ground surface) to limit defensive small arms fire, then maneuvered systematically up the hillsides under shellfire. Neither side employed supporting fire from tanks nor armored personnel carriers (APC) to protect attacking troops.

Once inside the trench line, troops of both forces were forced to eliminate bunkers individually, using hand grenades, explosive charges, and occasionally flame throwers, resulting in heavy casualties to the attackers. For the UN forces, infiltration of cleared bunkers by bypassed Chinese was a problem throughout the battle and hand-to-hand combat was a frequent occurrence.

Evacuation of casualties was made hazardous by almost continuous artillery fires from both sides. The 7th Division made extensive use of tracked M-39 APC's to evacuate casualties and to protect troops involved in the resupply of water, rations, and ammunition, losing only one during the battle.[5] In addition the UN forces employed on-call, pre-registered defensive fires called flash fire to defend its outposts, in which artillery laid down an almost continuous box barrage in a horseshoe-shaped pattern around the outpost to cover all approaches from the Chinese side of the MLR.

U.S. losses were 104 dead, including 63 in the 31st Infantry, 31 in the 17th Infantry and 10 among engineers and artillery observers, and 373 wounded. Chinese losses were estimated at several hundred dead and a thousand wounded.

The second battle (July 6-11)
Rebuilding the defenses

The 7th Division rebuilt its defenses on Pork Chop Hill in May and June, 1953, during a lull in major combat. Final agreements for an armistice were being hammered out and the UN continued its defensive posture all along the MLR, anticipating a cease-fire in place.

Night surprise attack

On the night of July 6, using tactics identical to those in the April assault, the Chinese again attacked Pork Chop. The hill was now held by Company A, 17th Infantry, under the temporary command of 1st Lt. Richard T. Shea, Jr, its executive officer. Company B of the same regiment, in ready reserve behind the adjacent Hill 200, was immediately ordered to assist, but within an hour, Company A reported hand-to-hand combat in the trenches. A major battle was brewing and division headquarters ordered a third company to move up. The battle was fought in a persistent monsoon rain for the first three days, making both resupply and evacuation of casualties difficult. The battle is notable for its extensive use of armored personnel carriers in both these missions.

On the second night, the Chinese made a new push to take the hill, forcing the 7th Division to again reinforce. Parts of four companies defended Pork Chop under a storm of artillery fire from both sides. At dawn of July 8, the rain temporarily ended and the initial defenders were withdrawn. A fresh battalion, the 2nd Battalion of the 17th, counter-attacked and re-took the hill, setting up a night defensive perimeter.

7th Division counterattacks

On both July 9 and July 10, the two sides attacked and counter-attacked. A large part of both Chinese divisions were committed to the battle, and ultimately five battalions of the 17th and 32nd Infantry Regiments were engaged, making nine counter-attacks over four days. On the morning of July 11, the commander of the U.S. U.S. I Corps decided to abandon Pork Chop Hill to the Chinese and the 7th Division withdrew under fire.

Results and losses

Four of the thirteen U.S. company commanders were killed. Total U.S. casualties were 243 killed, 916 wounded, and nine captured. 163 of the dead were never recovered. Of the Republic of Korea troops ("KATUSA") attached to the 7th, approximately 15 were killed and 120 wounded. Chinese casualties were estimated at 1,500 dead and 4,000 wounded.[8]

Lieutenant Richard Thomas Shea and Cpl. Daniel D. Schoonover, a combat engineer, were both posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Less than three weeks after the battle, the armistice was signed and the conflict ended.
Battle of Bloody Ridge

The Battle of Bloody Ridge took place during the Korean War from August 18 to September 5, 1951. Located in hills north of the 38th parallel in the central Korean mountain range, it was fought between the communist North Korean forces of the KPA (Korean People's Army) and U.N. (United Nations) forces consisting of ROK (South Korean) units and the 2nd Infantry Division (United States) (U.S. Army). The hill known as Bloody Ridge is at 38°15′18″N, 128°0′48″E in Yanggu County, Gangwon Province, South Korea.

By the summer of 1951, the Korean War had reached a stalemate as peace negotiations began at Kaesong. The opposing armies faced each other across a line which ran (with many twists and turns along the way) from east to west, through the middle of the Korean peninsula, a few miles north of the 38th parallel. U.N. and communist forces jockeyed for position along this line, clashing in a number of relatively small, but intense and bloody battles.

Bloody Ridge began as an attempt by U.N. forces to seize a series of hills forming a ridge which they believed were being used as observation posts to call in artillery fire on a U.N. supply road. The 36th ROK Regiment made the initial attack. It succeeded in capturing most, but not all, of the ridge after a week of fierce fighting that at times was hand to hand. It was a short-lived triumph, for the following day the North Koreans recaptured the mountain in a fierce counterattack.

The next U.N. assault was made by the U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division. The battle raged for ten days, as the North Koreans repulsed one assault after another by the increasingly exhausted and depleted 9th Infantry. After repeatedly being driven back, it succeeded in capturing one of the hill objectives after two days of heavy fighting. The weather then turned to almost constant rain, greatly slowing the attacks and making operations almost impossible because of the difficulty in bringing supplies through "rivers of mud" and up steep, slippery slopes.

Fighting continued, however, as casualties mounted. The 2nd Division's 23rd Infantry Regiment joined the attack on the main ridge while the division's other infantry regiment, the 38th, occupied positions immediately behind the main ridge which threatened to cut off any North Korean retreat. The combination of frontal attacks, flanking movements and incessant bombardment by artillery, tanks and airstrikes ultimately decided the battle. Finally, on September 5th, the North Koreans abandoned the ridge after UN forces succeeded in outflanking it.

The American soldiers called the piece of terrain they had taken, Bloody Ridge, which indeed it was: 2,700 U.N. and perhaps as many as 15,000 communists were casualties, almost all of them killed or wounded, few prisoners being taken by either side.

After withdrawing from Bloody Ridge, the North Koreans set up new positions just 1,500 yards away on a seven-mile-long hill mass that was soon to earn the name Heartbreak Ridge.


The much higher communist casualties were due in large part, to two factors:

1. Discipline in the KPA was poor and constraining orders so strict to the point where subordinate leaders were often not allowed to withdraw under any conditions, in which case the entire unit would be blooded. Even when permission was granted for a withdrawal, it often came only after the large majority of troops in the unit had been killed.

2. In most battles, U.N. forces had an overwhelming advantage in artillery and air support; indeed, the communists had no air support whatsoever. An enormously destructive "rain of fire" could be brought by U.N. units against North Korean and Chinese forces which they could not answer in kind.

Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry was located in what was commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle" in Korea. This was an area approximately 60 miles north of Seoul and was the most direct route to the South Korean capital. Outpost Harry's elevation was around 1,280 feet high and positioned some 320 yards south of a larger landmass occupied by the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) called "Star Hill" and some 425 yards northeast of United Nations positions. A service road that wound from the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) along an intermittent stream led to the rear of the outpost where a medical aid station and a supply point were located. Harry was an outpost east of the Chorwon Valley with sister outposts to the West called Tom and Dick. OP Dick was about 100 yards in front of the Main Line of Resistance, and Tom was about 250-300 yards in front and below the MLR. The later was the floor of the valley. Harry, which was over 400 yards from the MLR, was also higher than the MLR, making supply much more difficult. The route to the outpost was under constant enemy observation and fire, and its height made it harder to pack supplies up the hill. Unlike Tom and Dick, which could get supporting fire from the MLR, Harry got less close supporting fire from the MLR because company 60mm mortars and the heavy machine guns did not have enough range. Harry relied more on artillery and heavy mortar companies.

The soldiers of the Greek Expeditionary Forces called it Outpost "Haros" the Greek name for Death. More than 88,000 rounds of Chinese artillery would pound Outpost Harry—a tiny Korean hilltop no bigger than Times Square. Defended each night by a single company of American or Greek soldiers, the Chinese had anticipated an easy capture. Over a period of eight days, vast waves of CPV forces would flood into Harry's trench lines--more than 13,000 soldiers in all. And yet each of the five UNC companies ordered to hold Outpost Harry, when its turn came, held it.

After eight days of intense, often hand to hand fighting, the CPV forces could not endure any more losses in their assault on Outpost Harry. Their failed attacks had, in eight days, cost them 4,200 casualties. Their entire 74th Division had been decimated. And for the first time in the annals of U.S. military history, five rifle companies together—four American and one Greek—would receive the prestigious Distinguished Unit Citation for the outstanding performance of their shared mission.

During this period most of the fighting would be conducted at night while the daylight hours were usually spent by the UNC forces evacuating the dead and wounded, replacing the defending company, sending up resupplies and repairing the fortified positions. The daylight hours were punctuated with artillery, mortar and sniper fire, making repairs and reinforcment a more dangerous task. During the 4 to 5 days prior to the initial attack on the outpost, CPV artillery and mortar fire increased from an average of 275 per day to 670 per day.

Preface and Layout

Outpost Harry was a strategic "military Hot Spot" and dearly desired by the Chinese. It's defense and preservation was viewed as critical because it blocked CPV observation down the Kumwha Valley and shielded that portion of the MLR from enemy direct fire. If the UN forces lost the outpost, the U.S. Eighth Army would have had to withdraw approximately 10 kilometers to the next defensible line. Furthermore, a CPV victory at Outpost Harry may have whet the appetite for more war and disheartened the American public to a point where it might have accepted an armistice term less favorable than was eventually was the case.

The position contained a communication trench line which ran from the supply point forward some 400 yards to the top. At that point, the trench line joined another trench that made a complete loop (circle) around the outpost with an additional finger that ran along the east ridge about 100 yards. The trench line was deep enough to walk around the perimeter unseen by the enemy. It was fortified with reinforced fighting bunkers, a command post and a forward observation bunker. It could accommodate approximately 150 infantrymen.

During the period of June 1-8, 1953, aerial reconnaissance indicated that the enemy CPV Forces were building for a major offensive. The enemy units identified were the 22nd 221st Regiments of the Chinese Communist 74th Division.

King Company of the 15th Infantry Regiment was selected and ordered to occupy and defend Outpost Harry as they were considered a more experienced battle tested unit. It was a "Hold at all Costs" order with no withdrawal. With the background of "Peace Talks" on going, The CPV goal at this time was to inflect heavy casualties and to gain possible concessions at the truce table. King Company occupied Outpost Harry on the morning of June 6, 1953 through light enemy mortar fire. Upon reaching the summit and the outpost's fighting positions, King Company personnel along with the assistance of the 10th Combat Engineers engaged in improving the fortifications. The trench line was deepened and expanded, bunkers reinforced, 55 gallons of napalm were installed and wired for firing, wire was strung, and communications improved.
June 10-11, 1953

Early on June 10th, K Company, commanded by Capt. Martin A. Markley, had been briefed on an emminent CPV attack, and he in turn briefed his men. Ammo and communications were checked, as were final protective fires.

During the night of the first attack, the Chinese outnumbered Harry's defenders by 30 to 1. "All total, there was a reinforced CPV regiment of approximately 3,600 enemy trying to kill us," said Captain Martin Markley, commander of K Company, 15th Infantry Regiment. Despite an intense barrage of defensive firepower and the detonation of napalm, the invading CPV forces stormed the slopes of the outpost and soon penetrated the trenches. When K company got under cover in bunkers, friendly Variable Time (VT) artillery was called in to stop the CPV attack. The artillery rounds exploded in the air rather than on impact, and this, plus hand-to-hand combat, finally drove the CPV off of Harry that night. By morning, all but a dozen GIs had been killed or severely wounded. K Company was so depleted that they were immediately reinforced by a reserve platoon and then replaced by another company of the 3rd Battalion. In addition to a composite reserve committed by the 3rd battalion commander (Colonel Russell F. Akers Jr.), Companies "E" and "C" 15th Infantry were committed to reinforce. One platoon of tanks from Heavy Tank Company, 15th Infantry, and one platoon of infantry were committed to the valley east of Outpost HARRY. as a diversionary force. This tank-infantry team proved to be of great value in channelizing the enemy attack.

M/Sgt. Ola L. Mize was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Outpost Harry that night.

In defense of Outpost Harry that night, Company C exceeded the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion's record for the number of rounds fired in a single engagement: 6,082 rounds.

June 11-12, 1953

Baker Company of the 15th and Baker Company of the 5th RCT defended Harry. The CPV began with another massive artillery and mortar barrage, continuing through most of the night. The CPV infantry crept in close through the artillery fire and had gained the trenches on the rear of the outpost were bitter hand to hand fighting ensued.[5] Company "B", 5th Regimental Combat Team, was used to reinforce the defenders, while the CPV attempted to reinforce the initial successful assault through the night. By daybreak, at approximately 0545 hours, the CPV again called off their assault and withdrew.

June 12-13, 1953

Able Company of the 5th RCT and Love Company of the 15th Infantry Regiment defended Harry. They were supported by a detachment from the 10th Combat Engineer Battalion that got trapped on the outpost while on a mine laying detail.[6] On the night of 12 June at 2200 hours, CPV artillery and mortar fire preceded an attack on the outpost which was broken up by UNC defensive fires. The CPV were in the trench for a short time but were forced to withdraw. Fighting ceased at 2247. However at 0208 the CPV attacked from the north, northeast, and northwest of the outpost.[7] Bitter hand to hand fighting ensued as the CPV gained the trench on the northern slope of the outpost. Company "L", 15th Infantry, reinforced and by 0450 hours the CPV were driven from the trenches and forced to withdraw. A platoon of tanks from the 64th Tank Battalion plus one platoon of infantry were dispatched to the valley east of outpost Harry and operated successfully as a diversionary force. All action ceased with the exception of UNC counter battery and counter mortar fire.

June 13-14, 1953

Charlie Company of the 5th RCT took responsibility for Harry on June 13th. On the night of 13-14 June, at approximately 0255, CPV artillery and mortar fire preceded a screening action against the outpost from the east and west for the purpose of protecting recovery of their dead. This screening force was broken up by UNC defensive fires. Action became sporadic, with light CPV artillery and mortar fire falling on the outpost and MLR. By 0440 the CPV withdrew and all action ceased.

June 14-15, 1953
Company "G", 15th infantry had their turn at defending Outpost Harry. During the night of 14-15 June, at about 0125 the Chinese moving through friendly artillery and defensive fires, gained the trenches on the rear of the outpost, and intense hand to hand fighting followed. At 0222 hours, UNC forces held the outpost with the CPV reinforcing in the bitter hand to hand action. Company "E", 15th Infantry was committed to reinforce. One platoon from Heavy Tank Company and one platoon of Infantry were again dispatched as diversionary force. At 0345 the CPV withdrew and action ceased.
June 15-16, 1953

Company "A", 15th Infantry was committed to the defense of the outpost, and it turned out to be a quiet night on the outpost. The following morning the regimental commander placed the Greek Expeditionary Forces Battalion in the area of the outpost Harry sector in order that his US battalions, all of which had suffered heavy causalities, could refit and reorganize.

June 16-18, 1953

During the night of 16-17 June there was no significant action, permitting much needed engineer work on the outpost to be accomplished by Company "P", Greek Expeditionary Force Battalion and elements of Company "B", 10th Combat Engineer Battalion.

On the night of 17-18 June, the Chinese returned at about 0052 hours, moving through their own and UNC artillery and mortar fire to attack Outpost Harry from the northeast and northwest. The CPV were repelled and forced to withdraw, but stayed in the area.[8] At 0240 the CPV attacked from the north under intense artillery and mortar fire. The CPV gained the trenches of the outpost on the northern slope at 0313. Bitter hand to hand fighting ensued with the CPV making numerous attempts to reinforce through the protective artillery ring. Company "N", GEF Battalion was committed to reinforce. One platoon of tanks from Heavy Tank Company, 15th Infantry Regiment, and one platoon of Greek Infantry were dispatched to the valley east of Outpost Harry as a diversionary force. By 0402 hours the CPV were forced out of the trenches on the outpost, and all action ceased with the CPV withdrawing, having fired 22,000 rounds in support of this attack.


The CPV forces employed against Outpost Harry during the period 10-18 June were tabulated by U.S. Intelligence Sections to be substantially as shown in the following table:

10-11 June - A reinforced CPV regiment (Approx. 3,600 CPV)

11-12 June - A CPV regiment (approx. 2,850 CPV)

12-13 June - A reinforced CPV regiment

13-14 June - An estimated 100 CPV

14-15 June - An estimated 120 CPV

15-16 June - Negative

16-17 June - Negative

17-18 June - A CPV regiment.

During this period the entire 74th CPV Division was utilized against this position and at the end of the engagement was considered combat ineffective. CPV rounds fired in support of their attack during the period 10-18 June amounted to 88,810 rounds over 81mm in size: UNC mortar and artillery units in conjunction with friendly tank fires expended 368,185 rounds over 81mm in size."

From June 10 to the 18th, the casualty figures were:

15th Infantry Regiment - 68 KIA, 343 WIA, 35 MIA; KATUSA - 8 KIA, 51 WIA, 7 MIA;

Greek Expeditionary Force Battalion - 15 KIA, 36 WIA, 1 MIA.

Attached and supporting units 5th RCT - 13 KIA, 67 WIA, 1 MIA;

10th Engr. Bn. - 5 KIA, 23 WIA; 39th FA - 5 KIA, 13 WIA.

3rd Infantry Division, July 3, 1951
Advancing in the Iron Triangle Sobang Hills.


2nd Division troops on Bloody Ridge, September 1951
North Korean troops had fought bitterly.


United Nations troops fighting on the outskirts of Seoul, the capital of Korea.
20 September 1950.


Cpl. Thomas E. Bullis of Troy, N.Y., gunner, and Pfc. Charles R. Gilman of Peroria, Ill., assistant gunner, fire their 57-mm recoilless rifle at a Chinese Communist pillbox during action against the Communist forces at the bottom of Hill860, near Kaoch/Eang-ni, 24 April 1951.


Hit in the back during a grenade duel, Corporal Dominick F. Zegarelli, (Utica, N.Y.) Company L, 7th Regimental Combat Team, U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, waits for evacuation, while other members of his platoon rest. 3 July 1951.


Cpl. Sam Ayala of Niles, Calif., Co. L, 7th RCT, U.S.3rd Infantry Division, waits for medical evacuation from Hill 717, Cpl. Ayala was wounded while engaged in a bitter grenade battle with deeply entrenched Chinese Communists.


Company "M", 7th RCT, U.S. 3rd Infantry Division machine gunners, watch for the movements of Communists forces, as artillery lands on Hill 717, one of the objectives of "Operation Doughnut".
3 July 1951.


Returning from an assault on Hill 717, men of Company "L", 7th RCT, 3rd Infantry Division, help a wounded buddy onto a strecher for evacuation to an aid station.
3 July 1951.


Sgt. Douglas D. Tompkins of Jud, North Dakota, Tank Company, 5th RCT, 24th U.S. Infantry Division, fires a .50 caliber machine gun at Communist-held positions during an assault against the Chinese Communist forces along the east central front, 14 July 1951.


Men of Battery C, 936th Field Artillery Battalion, U.S. Eighth Army, fire the 100,001st and 100,002d shell at Chinese Communist position near Choriwon, 10 October 1951.


Powder smoke and dust billow as a recoilless rifle team of Co. D, 7th infantry Regiment, 3rd U.S. Infantry Division, fire their weapon at Chinese Communist positition on Hill 200 near Qnmong-Myon, 9 November 1951.


Infantrymen of the Heavy Mortar Co., 1st Platoon, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th U.S. Infantry Division, fire the 4.2-inch Heavy mortar on Communist hill positions in the Mung Dung-ni Valley.
10 August 1952.


Members of the 81-mm Mortar Platoon, Co. D, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Eighth Army, blast Communist positions in Punchbowl, 12 August 1952.


First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez charges over the sea-wall at Red Beach, and soon after sacrificed his life for his comrades.

Lt. Lopez was awarded the Medal of Honor.


Lieutenant Ralph Barnes of Arlington, Va., platoon leader, 1st Platoon, Co. C, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, throws a hand grenade at Chinese Communist positions, as UN troops launch an offensive attack against the Communist near Uijong-Bu, 23 March 1951.


Troops with the 7th Division Infantry, 31st Battalion, Company L near "Heartbreak Ridge".


A grief stricken American infantryman whose buddy has been killed in action is comforted by another soldier. In the background a corpsman methodically fills out casualty tags, Haktong-ni area, August 28, 1950.
Thanks Adler, sorry forgot that earlier....here's some more.


Defense of the Pusan Perimeter, 1950
PFC Harold R. Bates and PFC Richard N. Martin rest atop the third objective that U.S. Marines seized overlooking the Naktong River, South Korea, 19 August 1950.


A casualty receives plasma from a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman at a medical aid station somewhere near the Naktong River Front, during the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, 17 August 1950.


Corsairs Re-activated at San Diego
Approximately 30 F4Us were recently de-mothballed at the Naval Air Station, San Diego. The fleet Navy fighters had rested in the preservative 'cans' for over two years.
After a brief testing period the Corsairs will be ready for operation.
"Each humidity-controlled, sealed 'can' housed four Corsairs.


USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
Crewmen use flight deck tractors with power brooms to sweep snow from the carrier's flight deck, during operations off Korea, circa early 1951.
Photo is dated 8 May 1951, but Valley Forge ended her second Korean War deployment in late March of that year.
Plane parked in the foreground is a F4U-4 "Corsair" fighter. Those on the forward flight deck are an AD "Skyraider" attack plane and a HO3S helicopter.


Grumman F9F-3 "Panther",
of Fighter Squadron 52 (VF-52)
Taxies forward on USS Valley Forge (CV-45) to be catapulted for strikes on targets along the east coast of Korea, 19 July 1950.
Note details of the ship's island, including scoreboard at left.


USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
Flight deck tractors tow Grumman F9F "Panther" fighters forward on the carrier's flight deck, in preparation for catapulting them off to attack North Korean targets, July 1950.


USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
Flight deck crewmen wheel carts of rockets past a Vought F4U-4B fighter, while arming planes for strikes against North Korean targets in July 1950.


USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
A Vought F4U-4B fighter is fueled and armed with 5-inch rockets, prior to strikes against targets on the Korean east coast, 19 July 1950.


Captain David Booker, USMC.
Mans his aerial reconnaissance plane on flight deck of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with the Seventh Fleet.
If the view was taken at about that time, the carrier would be USS Valley Forge (CV-45), then the only 7th Fleet carrier, which was engaged in early Korean War operations.
Capt. Booker's plane is a Vought F4U-5P "Corsair". Note its camera hatch low on the fuselage behind the cockpit.


Vought F4U-4B "Corsair" Fighters,
of Fighter Squadrons VF-113 VF-114
Prepare for launching aboard USS Philippine Sea (CV-47), during strikes on North Korean targets, circa 19 October 1950.
Note small bombs, with fuse extensions, on the planes' wings.


Weapons Company, in line with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, trying to contact the temporarily cut off Fox Company in a glancing engagement to permit the 5th and 7th Marines to withdraw from the Yudam-ni area. Nov. 27, 1950.
Yudam-ni, at the western extremity of the Chosin Reservoir, was the scene of early combat in the campaign, as Chinese forces attacked the two Marine regiments there. The Marines subsequently had to fight their way back to Hagaru along roads surrounded by the enemy.


Two light machine gunners cover men of the 187th RCT as they go up a ridge on Hill 451, north of Inje, Korea, while F-80's strafe the village.
1 June 1951.


Showing the entrance to his bunker at the edge of crater caused by an enemy mortar shell is Corporal George C. Brown, Boston, Massachusetts, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st U.S. Cavalry Division.
17 October 1951.


CPL George D. Smedley of Mt. Vemon, Ind (L) and SGT Thomas P. Montana of Yuma, Ariz, light machine gun crew members of Co C, 8th Cav Regt, 1st Cav Div, watch for Communist-led North Koreans troops on the 38th parallel line, northwest of Kaesong.


PFC Walter Smith, Corrigan, Tex; PFC Robert McMahan, Springfield, Tenn; and CPL Hubert Hightower, Rome, Ga (L-R), all of the 5th Cavalry Regt, examine a tank captured from the Communist led North Korean forces at Waegwan.


Men and equipment of the 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion await orders to board the LST's at the Pusan Docks.
Battle of Chosin Reservoir

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was a battle in the Korean War, in which 30,000 United Nations troops (nicknamed the "Frozen Chosen", or "The Chosin Few") under the command of American General Douglas MacArthur faced approximately 60,000 Chinese volunteers. Shortly after the People's Republic of China entered the conflict, large numbers of Chinese soldiers swept across the Yalu River, encircling the United Nations (UN) troops in the northeastern part of North Korea at the Chosin Reservoir. A brutal battle in freezing weather followed. Although they inflicted enormous casualties on the Chinese forces, the UN troops were forced to evacuate North Korea after they withdrew from the reservoir to the port of Hungnam.


By mid-October 1950, the Korean War looked as if it was nearly over to many UN leaders. Most of North Korea had been captured by the American-led UN forces. However, on November 25, 1950, communist China entered the war and huge numbers of Chinese soldiers poured across the border into Korea. The UN command, under General Douglas MacArthur, was slow to appreciate the implications of this new reality. MacArthur ordered his ground units, the U.S. Eighth Army in the west and the X Corps in the east, to continue their offensive to the Yalu River, the border with China and to cut the Chinese supply route extending into the neighboring U.S. 8th Army sector.

The X Corps — commanded by controversial Major General Ned Almond, U.S. Army — was widely spread out over northeastern Korea, its units far apart and out of supporting distance from each other. The X Corps troops at Chosin, mainly the U.S. 1st Marine Division, elements of the U.S. 7th Infantry Division, and 41 Independent Commando Royal Marines were, by late November, surrounded by units of the Ninth Army Group of the People's Liberation Army (referred hereafter as Chinese Communist Forces, or CCF). The Chinese launched heavy attacks that halted the UN offensive. MacArthur and Almond ordered Major General O.P. Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division and associated forces in the Chosin area to fight his way out of the trap. Starting on November 26, 1950, the UN troops began a fighting withdrawal to the south, towards Hungnam.

Keeping his units concentrated and moving deliberately, Smith made an aggressive assault to break out of the reservoir. When asked if the Marines were retreating, Smith explained that their fighting withdrawal through Chinese lines did not constitute a retreat. His explanation was abbreviated into the famous misquote, "Retreat? Hell, we're attacking in a different direction!" (recalling the famous quote from Captain Lloyd Williams at Belleau Wood during the First World War, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!").
The battles of the Chosin Campaign, which had a decisive impact on the future course of the war, were fought in the ten day period between November 27 and December 6 , 1950. Four different actions were fought; the successful defense of Hagaru, the successful defense of Yudam-ni, the successful effort of the 5th and 7th Marines to break through from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri, and the fight of RCT 31, East of Chosin.

Strength of Opposing Forces

While the Chinese commanding general, Sung Shi-lun, had 12 divisions in his IX Army Group available for the Chosin operations, the actual battle contacts and Chinese prisoner statements indicate that only eight of the 12 divisions, or two-thirds of the IX Army Group strength, were committed to battle. It must be remembered that most of these Chinese divisions were not at full strength. The 1st Marine Division had an effective strength of 25,473 men at the time. But the division did not have all its support strength in the Chosin area. Altogether, the equivalent of about two army regiments from the 7th and 3rd infantry divisions and the 41st Royal Marine Commandos were engaged, together with the 1st Marine Division, in the Chosin combat operations, adding another 8,000 men, counting supporting units. The opposing ground forces, then, totaled about 55,000-60,000 light infantry against about 30,000 American and British infantry, who had powerful artillery, tank, and air support, with logistical support. The Chinese IX Army Group was essentially a light infantry force without motorized transport, artillery, air support, or tanks. Its largest weapons were mortars. It had no resupply of ammunition or food after it entered battle. When one considers the volume of firepower available to the American forces and their capability of resupply of ammunition and food, as contrasted to Chinese deficiencies in these areas, one must reject the popular notion that the Chinese had overwhelming force.

East of the Reservoir

On the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, a 3,000-man composite U.S. Army task force from the 7th Infantry Division, RCT 31, was isolated by the 80th CCF Division reinforced by a regiment of the 81st CCF Division. On the second day the CCF commander committed the remainder of 81st and held the 94th Division in reserve for his main effort down the east side of the reservoir (these units originally were en route to finish off the garrison at Hagaru-ri). Greatly outnumbered and worn down by incessant attacks, RCT 31 was virtually destroyed. Survivors from this unit reached Marine lines at Hagaru-ri on December 2, 1950. Some survivors of RCT 31 and other army units including an army tank company and combat engineers, joined Smith's forces and participated in the breakout.

Nine members of RCT 31 were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest award for valor.

Task Force Drysdale

In mid-November 1950, the roughly 300 men of 41 Independent Commando, Royal Marines Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas B. Drysdale, were attached to the U.S. 1st Marine Division. This marked the second time that U.S. Marines and Royal Marines had served together. (The first time was during the Boxer Rebellion.)

41 Commando had been at Koto-ri with Colonel Chesty Puller's 1st Marine Regiment when the Chinese attacked. On the morning of November 29, Major General O.P. Smith, Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, ordered Puller to send a task force to open up the road between Koto-ri and Hagaru-ri, where the majority of the division was. The breakthrough force was composed of Drysdale's 41 Royal Commando, Captain Carl Sitter's G Company, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines (G/3/1), B Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, and various Headquarters and Services Marines. All totaled, the task force was around 900 men and 140 vehicles.

The task force struck out of Koto-ri at 0930 hours on November 29 and by 1630 hours, had advanced only half way to its objective, due to stiff enemy resistance—halfway to Hagaru-ri the Chinese ambushed the task force and cut it to pieces. The units of the Task Force had become bogged down, separated and were not in radio contact in an area later named "Hell Fire Valley" by Lieutenant Colonel Drysdale. After being reinforced by tanks from D Company, 1st Tank Battalion, Drysdale contacted Smith at Hagaru-ri and was told to "Press on at all costs." Drysdale responded by stating, "Very well, then: we'll give them a show." He passed word that they were going to run the gauntlet to Hagaru-ri.
Later that evening, most of the men from 41 Commando, Sitter's Marines, and the tanks from D Company arrived at Hagaru-ri, with a wounded Drysdale entering the division command post to announce "41 Commando present for duty." In the confusion along the road, roughly 400 members of Task Force Drysdale were still left stranded and out of radio contact in Hell Fire Valley and completely surrounded by vastly numerically superior Chinese forces. For his leadership and valor, Captain Sitter was awarded the Medal of Honor, one of eleven Chosin Marines so honored.

The still-stranded forces were composed of about 60 Royal Marines, most of B Company 31st Infantry Regiment, and the assorted Headquarters and Services Marines, strung out in four pockets along roughly two-thirds of a mile. Most of these men were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. A few were able to pass through Chinese lines and make it back to Koto-ri. During the night, army Lieutenant Alfred J. Anderson of B Company, 1/31 Infantry, regrouped those of his company that he could find into a defensive perimeter. Twice, he closed with enemy soldiers and killed them at arm's length, deflecting their weapons with one arm as he used his pistol. Early on the morning of November 30, Anderson received orders to withdraw those troops under his control. He led them back safely to Koto-ri.

Of the 900 men of Task Force Drysdale, approximately 300 arrived at Hagaru-ri, 300 were killed or wounded and about 135 were taken prisoner, with the rest making it back to Koto-ri. Seventy-five of the 141 vehicles were also destroyed. Some considered the mission poorly conceived and doomed from the start. Major General Smith was not so quick to write it off however, saying that it was at least a partial success because it delivered over 300 seasoned infantrymen and a tank company to the beleaguered defenses at Hagaru-ri.

Final phases of the battle

In their withdrawal, U.S. troops were either attacking—conducting numerous assaults to clear Chinese roadblocks and overlooking hill positions — or under furious Chinese attack themselves. The sub-zero temperatures inflicted even more casualties than the Chinese (who also suffered greatly from the extreme cold). U.S. forces enjoyed total air supremacy, with Navy, Marine, and Air Force fighter-bombers flying hundreds of sorties a day against the encircling Chinese. Over 4,000 wounded were flown out and 500 replacements flown in during the operation, contributing considerably to its success. The Marines and soldiers were able to destroy or effectively disable all seven Chinese divisions that tried to block their escape from the reservoir. Despite the effort of many Marines, whose plight attracted world-wide attention and was seized on by the western media as a "moral victory" in the midst of defeat, the strategic situation was now highly unfavorable for UN forces and it was decided to withdraw the entire X Corps from North Korea. The Marines, the rest of X Corps, and thousands of civilian refugees were soon evacuated by ship from the port of Hungnam, which was then destroyed to deny its use to the communists.



The UN forces in northeast Korea quickly withdrew to form a defensive perimeter around the port city of Hungnam, where a major evacuation was being carried out in late December 1950. All together, 193 shiploads of men and material were evacuated from Hungnam Harbor, and about 105,000 soldiers, 98,000 civilians, 17,500 vehicles, and 350,000 tons of supplies were shipped to Pusan in orderly fashion. [7]

While the Chinese were able to expel the UN forces from the reservoir, U.S. forces inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese as they fought for their own survival. After their departure from North Korea, the Marines were returned to the South, where they continued to fight as part of UN forces until the armistice in July 1953.

To this day, the U.S. Marines consider the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir to be one of the proudest parts of their own history despite the heavy losses. The Marines mauled the Chinese divisions they faced so badly that they had to be withdrawn from the front, and marched out in an orderly fashion and intact. However, often overlooked is that the U.S. Army's RCT 31 accomplished at least part of its mission. It successfully guarded the right flank of the 1st Marine Division, protecting it from Chinese attack for four days. If not for the presence of the task force, the Chinese 80th and 81st Divisions might have captured the key Marine base and air-strip at Hagaru-ri before the Marines had concentrated sufficient units to defend it. This would have blocked the only escape route of the Marines and other army units, potentially leading to a significantly different outcome. Likewise, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army considered the battle an honor, although they were not prepared for the horrible casualties they incurred. This campaign, with the simultaneous victory against U.S. forces to the west, was the first time in a century a Chinese army was able to defeat a Western army in a major battle, despite the heavy losses.


A column of troops and armor of the 1st Marine Division move through communist Chinese lines during their successful breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. The Marines were besieged when the Chinese entered the Korean War Nov. 27, 1950, by sending 200,000 shock troops against Allied forces.
My American Grandfather who landed on Omaha Beach in WW2 also fought in the Korean War as well. I wish he was still alive today so that I could talk to him about his experiences.

U.S. Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, circa late September 1950.
Note M-1 rifles and Browning Automatic Rifles carried by the Marines, dead Koreans in the street, and M-4 "Sherman" tanks in the distance.


Deck Launch -- Visible rings of vapor encircle a Corsair fighter as it turns up prior to being launched from the USS Boxer for a strike against communist targets in Korea. Hovering to the stern of the aircraft carrier, the every-present helicopter plane guard stands by to assist if any emergency arises.
Planes are Vought F4U-4s. Helicopter is a Sikorski HO3S.


An Attack Squadron 65 (VA-65) AD-2 "Skyraider" taxies forward on the flight deck in May 1951.


Grumman F9F Panther Is fueled by crewmen on the flight deck of USS Boxer (CV-21)


Aviation Ordnanceman Airmen J.V. Lykins and D.F. Jenkins move two truck loads of bombs onto the bomb elevator ready for the six-deck journey to the flight deck to be loaded on waiting aircraft. Over 100 tons of ammunition are loaded and flown from USS Princeton each operational day.
The inscription over the elevator door reads: "Maximum Load 5500 lbs".


Members of the carrier's Ordnance Department pose with decorated 2000-pound bombs, 9 March 1951.
Messages painted on the bombs are: "Greetings from PhilCee"; "Happy Easter"; and "Listen! To This One it will Kill you". Among the planes parked in the background are F4U-4Bs of Fighter Squadron 113 (VF-113).


250-pound bombs being loaded under the wings of a Douglas AD Skyraider of Attack Squadron 65, during operations on the 21 May 1951. A cart of 5-inch rockets and a second cart of 250-pound bombs are also present.


Ordnancemen attach 250-pound bombs to the wing of a Vought F4U-4B Corsair, during operations on 21 May 1951. Note use of the bomb rack and plane's flap hinge as foot stands. Plane in the right background is an Attack Squadron 65 (VA-65) AD-2 Skyraider (Bureau Number 122318), with Landing Signal Officer stripes on its tail.


Ordnancemen loading rockets beneath the port wing of a Fighter Squadron 64 (VF-64) F4U-4B Corsair, during operations on 21 May 1951. Note different types of rocket warheads, and details of carts used to transport the rockets.


Vought F4U-4 Corsair (Bureau No. 81712), of Fighter Squadron 791 (VF-791) makes vapor rings with its propeller as it takes off from USS Boxer (CV-21) for a Korean War air strike on 6 July 1951. Note small bombs under the plane's wings and flight deck distance markings. The "Corsair" is just passing the 500-foot point.


Crewmen participate in a snowball fight, while clearing snow from the carrier's flight deck during operations early 1951. Photo is dated 8 May 1951, but Valley Forge ended her second Korean War deployment in late March of that year. Planes parked on deck are F4U-4 "Corsair" fighters. That at left, with rockets on its wing, is Bureau # 81150.


Seated in the after cockpit of a Douglas AD-4N Skyraider attack plane, on board USS Philippine Sea (CV-47), during the filming of motion picture footage used in John Ford's "This is Korea", on 27 January 1951. Note: camera; flight gear and inflatable life vest worn by LCdr. Armistead; and paper bag containing a strong admonition encouraging its use by those afflicted with airsickness.
Battle of Pusan Perimeter

The Battle of Pusan Perimeter was fought in August and September of 1950 between United Nations Command forces combined with South Korean forces and the forces of North Korea. The U.N. and Republic of Korea forces held Pusan until the Inchon landing, then launched a counter-attack, defeating the North.

July 1950

After the initial defeats of the ROK and U.S. forces at Seoul, Osan and Taejon, the remaining ROK and U.S. forces began consolidating and reorganizing what was left of their units and equipment around the southern port city of Pusan.

The 24th Division would soon share the defense of South Korea with the rebuilt Republic of Korea Army (ROK or ROKA) and two newly arrived U.S. Army divisions, the 25th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. On July 24, the ROK Army reorganized itself into two corps and five divisions. The ROK I Corps controlled the 8th Infantry Division and Capital Divisions, while the ROK II Corps controlled the 1st Division and 6th Infantry Division. A reconstituted ROK 3rd Division was placed under direct ROK Army control. The ROK II Corps headquarters was at Hamch'ang with its 1st and 6th Divisions on line from west to east, and the I Corps headquarters was at Sangju with the 8th and Capital Divisions on line from west to east. The 3rd Division operated on the east coast of South Korea. Large numbers of recruits and replacements had entered the ROK Army, which had regained its prewar strength of about 95,000. The U.S. 25th Division, with its three regiments—24th, 27th, and 35th—commanded by Maj. Gen. William B. Kean, arrived during July 10-15, 1950 at Pusan. General Walker ordered the 25th to bolster ROK defenses of the central mountain corridors. The 1st Cavalry Division, with its three regiments—5th, 7th, and 8th—sailed from Japan and landed at P'ohang-dong north of Pusan during July 15-22. The unit assumed responsibility for blocking the enemy along the main Taejon-Taegu corridor. In late July both the 25th Division and the 1st Cavalry Division withdrew steadily in the face of aggressive North Korean attacks. On July 29, General Walker, with the support of General MacArthur, issued what the press called a "stand or die" order to the Eighth Army. Walker emphasized that the retreating must stop. The Eighth Army had been trading space for time and was running out of space.

One of the major problems of the retreat was the volume of refugees moving through Eighth Army lines. Their numbers were greater during July and August 1950 than at any other time in the war. During the middle two weeks of July about 380,000 refugees crossed into ROK-held territory. The North Koreans often exploited the situation by launching attacks that began with herding groups of refugees across minefields and then following up with tanks and infantry. The North Koreans also infiltrated U.S. Army lines by wearing the traditional white civilian clothing and joining groups of refugees, thus enabling them to commit a variety of surprise attacks on American soldiers. The commanders of the 25th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions attempted unsuccessfully to control the volume of refugees and enemy infiltration by searching displaced civilians and limiting the times and routes available for their movements. In late July General Walker, with the cooperation of ROK authorities, set explicit rules for the organized removal of refugees to the rear by the ROK National Police. By the end of July the ROK government had established fifty-eight refugee camps, most of them in the Taegu-Pusan area, to care for the homeless. But even with these efforts, refugees continued to hamper the movement of U.S. and ROK troops throughout the battlefield.

As the Eighth Army neared a natural defensive position along the Naktong River, the North Koreans accelerated their efforts to cut off elements of that army. After the fall of Seoul in late June the North Korean 6th Division had crossed the Han River and rapidly moved south over the western coastal roadnet. Eighth Army intelligence lost track of the 6th. The only UN forces situated at the time southwest of the Taejon-Taegu-Pusan highway were a few hundred ROK 7th Division survivors along with some scattered ROK marines and local police. On July 21, General Walker learned that a North Korean unit, presumed to be the North Korean 4th Division, was operating in the southwest area. Walker ordered the 24th Division, despite its deficiencies in manpower and equipment after the loss of Taejon, to serve as a blocking force in the area from Chinju in deep south central Korea northward to Kumch'on. Two battalions of the 29th Infantry, then stationed on Okinawa, and the ROK 17th Regiment would reinforce the 24th Division. On July 23, the North Korean 4th Division moved south from Taejon with the intent of supporting the 6th Division in an envelopment of the United Nations' left flank and driving to Pusan. The 4th pushed as far as the Anui-Koch'ang area, about fifty miles southwest of Taegu, by the end of July. During July 25–28 the two battalions of the 29th were driven back by elements of the 6th at Hadong, located about twenty-five miles west of Chinju. On July 31 the Eighth Army finally became aware of the 6th Division's presence after the 6th took Chinju and forced one battalion of the 29th and the 19th Infantry of the 24th Division to withdraw to the east. Eighth Army rushed the 27th Infantry of the 25th Division, which had been in reserve, to reinforce American units in the Chinju-Masan corridor. The 24th and 25th Divisions, aided by the ROK 17th Regiment, finally managed to slow the progress of the North Korean 4th and 6th Divisions at what would become the southernmost sector of the Pusan Perimeter. By August 3, U.S. and ROK units had averted the immediate threat of a North Korean drive all the way to Pusan.

August 1950

On 1 August the Eighth Army issued an operational directive to all UN ground forces in Korea for their planned withdrawal east of the Naktong River. UN units would then establish main defensive positions behind what was to be called the Pusan Perimeter. The intent was to draw the line on retreating and hold off the NKPA while the U.S. Army could build up its forces and wage a counteroffensive. The Pusan Perimeter assumed by U.S. and ROK forces on August 4 involved a rectangular area about 100 miles from north to south and 50 miles from east to west. The Naktong River formed the western boundary except for the southernmost 15 miles where the Naktong turned eastward after its confluence with the Nam River. The ocean formed the eastern and southern boundaries, while the northern boundary was an irregular line that ran through the mountains from above Waegwan to Yongdok. From the southwest to the northeast the UN line was held by the U.S. 25th and 24th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Division, and then by the ROK 1st, 6th, 8th, Capital, and 3rd Divisions. From south to northeast the North Korean units positioned opposite the UN units were the 83d Motorized Regiment of the 105th Armored Division and then the 6th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 15th, 1st, 13th, 8th, 12th, and 5th Divisions and the 766th Independent Infantry Regiment. The 5th Regimental Combat Team from Hawaii and the phased arrival of the 2nd Infantry Division from the United States augmented U.S. Army forces. A third major reinforcement arrived in Korea on August 2, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, about 4,700 men. UN combat forces at this point actually outnumbered the North Koreans, 92,000 to 70,000.

The North Koreans had four possible avenues of advance leading to Pusan that could result in the defeat of U.S. and ROK forces, and in August they tried them all simultaneously. These approaches went through Masan south of the confluence of the Nam and Naktong Rivers, through the Naktong Bulge to the rail and road lines at Miryang, through Kyongju and down the east coast corridor, and through Taegu. During the first week of August General Walker decided to launch the first American counterattack of the war in the Chinju-Masan corridor. One of his purposes was to break up a suspected massing of enemy troops near the Taegu area by forcing the diversion of some North Korean units southward. On August 6 the Eighth Army issued the operational directive for the attack by Task Force Kean, named for the 25th Division commander. Task Force Kean consisted of the 25th Division, less the 27th Infantry and a field artillery battalion, with the 5th RCT and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade attached. The Army plan of attack required the force to move west from positions then held near Masan, seize the Chinju Pass, and secure the line as far as the Nam River. Task Force Kean launched its strike on August 7 but ran head-on into one being delivered simultaneously by the North Korean 6th Division. After a week of heavy fighting, neither Kean's troops nor their opponents had made any appreciable progress. Even so, the Eighth Army had launched its first offensive in Korea and successfully halted an assault by an enemy division.

Seven air miles north of the point where the Naktong River turns east and the Nam River enters it, the Naktong curves westward opposite Yongsan in a wide semicircular loop. This loop became known to the American troops as the Naktong Bulge during the bitter fighting there in August and September. On August 6 the North Korean 4th Division crossed the Naktong at Ohang with the intent of driving to Yongsan located about ten miles to the east. The 24th Division defended that sector and the 24th commander, Major General John H. Church, who had succeeded General Dean as division commander, placed the defense of the Naktong Bulge under Task Force Hill. Task Force Hill consisted of the 9th Infantry of the 2d Infantry Division along with the 34th and 19th Infantries and a battalion of the 21st Infantry of the 24th Division. Despite the efforts of Task Force Hill, by 11 August the 4th Division had penetrated to the vicinity of Yongsan. General Walker then added to the fray the 23d Infantry of the 2d Division, the 27th Infantry of the 25th Division, and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.

General Church led the coordinated attack of Army and Marine Corps troops against the North Koreans that began on August 17. By the eighteenth the American forces had decisively defeated the 4th Division, which had lost half its original strength of about 7,000 men.

Located about twenty miles south of P'ohang-dong on the east coast, Kyongju was an important rail and highway center situated within the Taegu–P'ohang-dong–Pusan triangle inside the Pusan Perimeter. The capture of P'ohang-dong and the nearby Yonil Airfield, used by the Far East Air Force, would open a natural and essentially undefended corridor for the NKPA to move directly south through Kyongju to Pusan. General Walker had only lightly fortified the east coast corridor because the enemy threat was more immediate on the western perimeter, and he doubted that the North Koreans could mount a major successful drive through the trackless mountains. In early August the enemy almost proved Walker wrong when three North Korean divisions—the 5th, 8th, and 12th—and the 766th Independent Infantry Regiment mounted strong attacks against the ROK defenders. By 12 August the North Koreans had pressed to P'ohang-dong and also threatened Yonil Airfield. The North Korean 5th Division cut off the ROK 3d Division above P'ohang-dong, and the 3d Division had to be evacuated by sea to positions farther south. General Walker reinforced the ROK units in the area with elements of the U.S. 2d Infantry Division. By 17 August ROK units and the 2d Division had managed to check the enemy drive at P'ohang-dong. A primary factor in stopping the North Koreans was logistics, as they had outrun their supply line during the difficult trek southward through the mountains.


The natural corridor of the Naktong Valley from Sangju to Taegu presented another principal axis of attack for the NKPA. The sizable NKPA forces assembled in an arc around Taegu in early August from south to north consisted of the 10th, 3d, 15th, 13th, and 1st Divisions and elements of the 105th Armored Division. Opposite the North Korean divisions were the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division and the 1st and 6th Divisions of the ROK II Corps. The North Koreans crossed the Naktong River in several places within the arc around Taegu during the second week of August. When several enemy artillery shells landed in Taegu on August 18, President Syngman Rhee ordered movement of the Korean provincial government, then in Taegu, to Pusan. The North Korean 1st and 13th Divisions posed the primary threat as they pressed toward Taegu by overland routes from the north and northwest. General Walker moved up the 23d and 27th Infantries, both fresh from defensive action in the Naktong Bulge, to reinforce the ROK 1st Division, which confronted the North Korean 1st and 3d Divisions in its sector. Although the North Korean 1st Division pushed to within nine miles of Taegu, the combined efforts of the ROK 1st Division and the U.S. 23d and 27th Infantries frustrated enemy efforts to penetrate to Taegu.

Even though the North Korean People's Army had seriously threatened the United States and ROK Armies within the Pusan Perimeter during August 1950, the defenders both successfully resisted the enemy attacks and continued the buildup of forces for a counteroffensive. The Far East Air Force had established air supremacy over the North Koreans early in the war and continued to influence the outcome of battles by multiple sorties in close support of ground troops, 4,635 in July and 7,397 in August. By late August there were more than 500 American medium tanks within the Pusan Perimeter. The tanks in tank battalions were equally divided between M26 Pershings and M4A3 Shermans, except for one battalion that had the newer M46 Pattons. On September 1, the United Nations Command had a strength of 180,000 in Korea: 92,000 were South Koreans and the balance were Americans and the 1,600-man British 27th Infantry Brigade. In August the North Koreans continued the plan and tactics begun at the Han River in early July with a frontal holding attack, envelopment of the flank, and infiltration to the rear. When the Eighth Army stabilized the line at the Pusan Perimeter, these tactics no longer worked and success could come only by frontal attack, penetration, and immediate exploitation. Generals MacArthur and Walker countered with classical principles of defense—interior lines of communications, superior artillery firepower, and a strong air force. By September 1, the North Koreans had assembled a 98,000-man army for a massive offensive against the Pusan Perimeter. However, they experienced substantial problems: a third of their ranks manned by forcibly conscripted and untrained South Koreans, a major shortage of small arms, and only enough rations for one or sometimes two meals a day.

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