August Build-up and September Portents

The impact of an army, like the total of mechanical coefficients, is equal to the mass multiplied by the velocity ... when you are about to give battle concentrate all your strength, neglect nothing; a battalion often decides the day.


The Far East Air Forces in August

The Far East Air Forces probably exercised a greater relative influence in August 1950 in determining the outcome of the Korean battles than in any other month of the war. As the number of tactical air control parties increased in late July and during August, the standard practice of the Fifth Air Force was to place one with each U.S. Army regiment and division headquarters and one with each ROK division and corps headquarters. Fighter aircraft in August normally left their Japanese bases at Itazuke and Ashiya on a daily schedule of two planes every fifteen minutes. They reported to the tactical air control center at Taegu where they received specific missions. After receiving them the planes reported to the proper division TACP and then to a regimental TACP for their target assignment. By 23 August, the Fifth Air Force operated twenty-nine T-6 Mosquitoes, all using the Taegu airstrip. The Mosquitoes operated over six stations from dawn to dusk, each plane on station for a 2-hour period before being relieved by another. [1] The pilots of these planes were tactical co-ordinators. They located and controlled close support missions when TACP's did not have visual control.

At the end of the month, eight fighter squadrons were engaged in combat operations in Korea. They were about all that could be supported at the Kyushu bases. In July, FEAF flew 4,635 sorties in close support of ground troops in Korea; in August, 7,397 sorties. An average of 40 sorties daily supported each U.S. division in the August Pusan Perimeter battles. A colorful pilot from Ohio, Maj. Dean E. Hess, who had a record of 63 combat missions in Europe in World War II, had been assigned to train South Korean pilots. He was known to many as "the one man Air Force of the South Korean Army" and by his call sign "MacIntosh One." Hess was grounded by official order near the end of August

[1] Hq, X Corps, Analysis of the Air-Ground Operation. System, 28 Jun-8 

Sep 50. A tactical air control party is described above, p. 95.


after he had flown 95 combat missions in less than two months. [2]

Aviation engineer units available to the Far East Air Forces in July had been badly understrength and deficient in technical training. This slowed the construction of six planned airfields in Korea and, together with the ground reverses, prevented a deployment of fighter planes to bases there. [3]

On 4 August FEAF began B-29 interdiction attacks against all key bridges north of the 37th Parallel in Korea, and on 15 August some light bombers and fighter-bombers joined in the interdiction campaign. This campaign sought the destruction of thirty-two rail and highway bridges on the three main transportation routes across Korea: (1) the line from Sinanju south to P'yongyang and thence northeast to Wonsan on the east coast; (2) the line just below the 38th Parallel from Munsan-ni through Seoul to Ch'unch'on to Chumunjin-up on the east coast; (3) the line from Seoul south to Choch'iwon and hence east to Wonju to Samch'ok on the east coast. The interdiction campaign marked nine rail yards, including those at Seoul, P'yongyang, and Wonsan, for attack, and the ports of Inch'on and Wonsan to be mined. This interdiction program, if effectively executed, would slow and perhaps critically disrupt the movement of enemy supplies along the main routes south to the battlefront. [4]

The Air Force B-29's on 7 August bombed and largely destroyed the P'yongyang Army Arsenal and the P'yongyang railroad yards. On 7, 9, and 10 August they bombed and completely destroyed the large Chosen petroleum refinery at Wonsan. This plant, with its estimated capacity of 250,000 tons, annually produced approximately 93 percent of the North Korean petroleum products. Throughout the month the Air Force bombed the chemical complex in the Hungnam area, the largest in Asia, dropping 1,761 tons of bombs there in the period between 30 July and 19 September. It bombed the Najin docks only 17 miles south of the Siberian border and 10 air miles from Vladivostok. (Najin was an important port of entry for vessels carrying supplies from Vladivostok and it was also a rail center.) The bombers struck the metal-working industry at Songjin with 326 tons of bombs on 28 August, and three days later they heavily damaged the aluminum and magnesium plants at Chinnamp'o with 284 tons of bombs. [5]

The supremacy of the Fifth Air Force in the skies over Korea forced the North Koreans in the first month of the war to resort to night movement of supplies to the battle area. To counter this,

[2] USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 14, 46; 25th Div WD, 21 Aug 50; New York 

Times, August 29, 1950. Hess was an ordained minister in the Campbellite 

Church of the Disciples of Christ. See Newsweek, August 1, 1955, p. 28, 

for Hess' subsequent service in Korea. 

[3] USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 18, 20. 

[4] "Air War in Korea," op. cit., IV, No. 2, 19-39; Col Raymond S. 

Sleeper, "Korean Targets for Medium Bombardment," Air University 

Quarterly Review, IV, No. 3 (Spring, 1951), 21-22. 

[5] Sleeper, "Korean Targets for Medium Bombardment," op. cit., pp. 24-

26; Air Intelligence Digest, September 1950; Hq X Corps, A General 

Review of U.S. Tactical Air Support in Korea, 28 Jun-8 Sep 50, p. 61; 

New York Times, August 16, 1950.


[Caption] FLAMING ROCKET penetrating a loaded boxcar (bottom foreground) and napalm tank (right) exploding at the moment of impact.

General Stratemeyer ordered nightly visual reconnaissance of the enemy supply routes, beginning on 6 August. On the 8th, Stratemeyer ordered Partridge to increase the night sorties to fifty; by 24 August, Fifth Air Force B-26's alone averaged thirty-five sorties nightly. Late in August the Air Force began flare missions over North Korea. B-29's would release parachute flares at 10,000 feet that ignited at 6,000 feet, whereupon co-operating B-26 bombers attacked any enemy movement discovered in the illuminated area. These M-26 parachute flares from World War II stock functioned poorly, many of them proving to be duds. [6]

Since capturing Seoul, the North Koreans had built two pontoon bridges over the Han at that point, one north and one south of the rail and highway bridges. They had also started a new railroad bridge north of the old triple bridge group. The steel cantilever railroad bridge on the west still stood, defying all the efforts of the Far East Air Forces to bring it down. For almost four weeks the Air Force bombed this bridge daily with 1-, 2-, and 4-thousand-pound general purpose bombs with fuze settings, intended to damage both the superstructure and the abutments. On 19 August, nine B-29's of the 19th Group dropped 54 tons of 1,000-pound bombs on the bridge, but it still stood. The same day, Navy carrier-based planes attacked the bridge, scoring eight direct hits, and brought it down. The next day when Air Force planes returned to the bridge they found that three spans had dropped into the river.'

Attacks against the Han River pontoon bridges at Seoul do not seem to have been successful until FEAF on 27 August ordered the Bomber Command to lay delayed action bombs alongside the bridges, set to detonate at night. This method of attack seems to have caused such heavy casualties among the North Korean labor force trying to keep the pontoons in repair that the enemy finally abandoned the effort. These bridges re-

[6] Sleeper, "Korean Targets for Medium Bombardment," op. cit., p. 66; 

USAF Hist Study 71, p. 45. 

[7] GHQ FEC G-3, Opn Rpts 57, 20 Aug, and 62, 25 Aug 50; Ibid., Sitrep, 

25 Aug 50; USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 41-44; Sleeper, "Korean Targets for 

Medium Bombardment," op. cit., p. 65. The Bomber Command made eighty-six 

sorties with 64, tons of demolition bombs against this bridge. 


[Caption] EXPLODING PHOSPHORUS BOMBS dropped by B-29's over a North Korean barracks create an unusual pattern.

mained unfinished when the American forces recaptured Seoul. [8]

While it is clear that air power wrought great destruction of enemy equipment and troops during this period of the war, it is not possible to state accurately just how great it really was. Pilot claims are the basis of most estimates of air damage and destruction. Experience has shown that these are subject to many kinds of error. As an example, pilots often mistakenly claimed the destruction of enemy equipment if it remained immobile after attack. It is often impossible for a pilot of a high-speed aircraft to determine if his target is live or not, and three or four different pilots may claim as a "kill" a vehicle already knocked out by ground action. One study revealed a surprisingly great discrepancy between pilot claims and a ground study of destroyed enemy equipment. Pilots claimed to have destroyed ten times as many tanks with rockets as with napalm in the first three months of the Korean War, but a ground survey of destroyed enemy tanks after the Eighth Army breakout from the Pusan Perimeter showed three times as many tanks destroyed with napalm as with rockets. This gives a discrepancy factor of thirty to one in relation to pilot claims. Napalm seldom destroyed a tank by the burst of flame itself. But it did set off chain events that often led to the complete destruction of the tank. The splashing napalm on the bogie wheels set the rubber tires on fire, it heated ammunition to the point where it detonated inside the tank, or it set fuel on fire, and sometimes it splashed into the air intake vents and started fires inside the tank. [9]

Ground Build-up

The Far East Command's "Operation Rebuild" by August had assumed the proportions of a gigantic production of ordnance materiel. Before the end of

[8] USAF Hist Study 7,, pp. 44-45; Operations Research Office, The 

Employment of Armor in Korea, ORO-R-1 (FEC), vol. 1, pp. 212-13. 

[9] ORO, Close Air Support Operation in Korea, ORO-R-3 (FEC), pp. 37-38, 

59, 344-45. Experiments by Eighth Army disclosed that in a napalm burst 

of two 110-gallon tanks, the intense flame lasted for only approximately 

twelve seconds and was entirely burned out in twenty seconds. The burst 

covered an area of about 15,000 square feet; it was considered effective 

in an area fifty yards square. 


1950 it had expanded to employ 19,908 people in eight Japanese shops. In August, 1950 2 1/2-ton trucks alone were repaired. During the first three months of the Korean War practically all ammunition the U.N. and South Korean forces used came from rebuild stocks in Japan.

The daily rail and water Red Ball Express from Yokohama to Sasebo to Pusan, beginning on 23 July, operated with increased efficiency in August and demonstrated that it could deliver promptly to Korea any supplies available in Japan. On 5 August, for instance, it delivered 308 measurement tons; on 9 August, 403 tons; on 22 August, 574 tons; and on 25 August, 949 tons. The success of the Red Ball Express cut down the amount of airlift tonnage. This fell from 85 tons on 31 July to 49 tons on 6 August. The express eliminated the need for nearly all airlift of supplies to Korea from Japan. It delivered supplies to Korea in an average time of 60-70 hours, while the airlift delivery varied from 12 hours to 5 days. The Red Ball delivery was not only far cheaper, it was more consistent and reliable. [10]

The drop in air delivery to Korea caused General Partridge, commanding the Far East Air Forces, to complain on 10 August that the Army was not fully using the airlift's 200-ton daily capacity. That day, Eighth Army ordered curtailment of delivery by the Red Ball Express and increased use of the airlift to its maximum capacity. The reason given for this action was a sudden apprehension that the port of Pusan could not process promptly the flow of water-borne supplies. The absurdity of the logistical situation was illustrated the next day, 11 August, when, upon General Partridge's suggestion, two 2 1/2-ton trucks were airlifted in a C-119 from Tachikawa Air Base in Japan to Taegu. The Air Force planned to airlift two trucks daily in this manner. As a result of this development, Eighth Army on 12 August ordered that, effective 15 August, the Red Ball Express be discontinued except on Tuesday and Friday of each week when it would carry cargo difficult for the planes to handle. Under this arrangement airlift tonnage greatly increased. On 16 August, transport planes carried 324 tons of cargo and 595 passengers; on 19 August, 160 tons of cargo and 381 passengers; on 28 August, 398 tons of cargo and 343 passengers; and, on 29 August, 326 tons of cargo and 347 passengers. [11]

After the Russian-built T34 tank appeared on the Korean battlefield, the Department of the Army acted as quickly as possible to correct the imbalance in armor. It alerted three medium tank battalions for immediate movement to Korea. These battalions were the 6th (M46), the 70th (M26 and M4A3), and the 73d (M26). Two of them were the school troop battalions of the Armored School at Fort Knox and of the Infantry School at Fort Benning; the third was the organic battalion of the 1st Armored Division. The Department of the Army notified General MacArthur on 10 July that it planned to ship these battalions

[10] GHQ FEC Sitreps, 8, 11, 23, 27 Aug 50; EUSAK WD, 8 Aug 50. 

[11] EUSAK WD, G-4 Jnl, 10 Aug 50 (Rear, Yokohama); Ibid., G-4 Sec, 11-

12 Aug 50; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 18 Aug 50; GHQ FEC G-3, Opn Rpts 57, 20 Aug, 

66, 29 Aug, and 67, 30 Aug 50.


to the Far East as the quickest way it could devise of getting medium tanks and trained crews to the battlefield. Ships carrying these three tank battalions sailed from San Francisco on 23 July and arrived at Pusan on 7 August. The tank battalions unloaded the next day. The 6th Medium Tank Battalion served as Eighth Army reserve near Taegu in August; the 70th joined the 1st Cavalry Division on 12 August; and the 73d on army orders sent its companies to support various ground operations around the Pusan Perimeter-A Company to Ulsan guarding the eastern main supply route, B Company to Task Force Bradley at Kyongju and Kigye, and C Company to the 27th Infantry in the Bowling Alley north of Taegu. For further reinforcement of Eighth Army, the SS Luxembourg Victory departed San Francisco on 28 July with eighty medium tanks in its cargo. Still more armor reinforcements arrived on 16 August, when the 72d Medium Tank Battalion, organic to the 2d Infantry Division, landed at Pusan. The 2d Division also had two regimental tank companies. [12]

During August, therefore, 6 U.S. medium tank battalions landed in Korea, 5 of them in the first eight days of the month. There were, in addition, 4 regimental tank companies and about 30 light tanks for reconnaissance purposes. The tanks in the battalions were about equally divided between M26 Pershings and M4A3 Shermans, except for 1 battalion which had M46 Pattons. The tank battalions averaged 69 tanks. Through 22 August, Eighth Army had lost 20 medium tanks in action. [13] By the third week of August there were more than 500 U.S. medium tanks within the Pusan Perimeter. At the beginning of September American tanks outnumbered the enemy's on the Pusan Perimeter battlefield by at least five to one.

The Korean battle situation in August 1950 caused the Department of the Army to decide to increase its strength there by moving the 3d Infantry Division from the United States. Anticipating future offensive operations in Korea, General MacArthur on 19 August requested troops for two corps headquarters and asked that these two corps be designated I and IX Corps. [14]

Losses in the American divisions fighting in Korea had been so great in the first two months that special steps had to be taken to obtain replacements. On 19 August to help meet this demand, Eighth Army Rear in Japan ordered what it called "Operation Flushout." This required that all units in Japan reassign part of their troops as replacements for use in Korea. By 6 September, 229 officers and 2,201 enlisted men had been reassigned to Korea under this plan. Altogether, during August, 11,115 officer and enlisted replacements arrived in Ko-

[12] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. 

III, p. 29; 6th Med Tk Bn Opn Jnl, 23 Jul, 7-8 Aug 50: GHQ FEC Sitrep, 

Jul 50. 

[13] Arty School, Ft. Sill, Employment of Armor in Korea, The First 

Year, vol. 1, pp. 51-52; GHQ FEC G-3, Opn Rpt 64, 27 Aug 50; ORO, The 

Employment of Armor in Korea, ORO-R-I (FEC), vol. I, p. 167. The tank 

units in Korea in August were: 1st Marine Tank Battalion; U.S. Army 6th, 

70th, 72d, 73d, and 88th Tank Battalions; Regimental tank company with 

the 5th RCT, three regimental tank companies with the 2d Infantry 

Division; and the light tanks of the reconnaissance companies of the 2d, 

24th, and 25th Infantry, and the 1st Cavalry Divisions. 

[14] Schnabel FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in Korean War, ch. III, 

pp. 24, 33.


rea from Japan and the United States. [15] The United Nations Command had a supported strength in Korea on 1 September 1950 of nearly 180,000 men, according to figures available at the time. The major organizations reported their personnel strengths as follows:

Total 179,929
U.S. Eighth Army 78,762
2d Infantry Division 17,498
24th Infantry Division 14,739
25th Infantry Division 15,007
1st Cavalry Division 14,703
ROK Army 91,696
U.S. 1st Provisional Marine Brigade 4,290
British 27th Infantry Brigade 1,578
U.S. Fifth Air Force 3,603

Available for aerial action over Korea and naval action in the waters around it there must be counted an additional 33,651 men in the Far East Air Forces, 330 men of the Royal Australian Air Force, and 36,389 men in the U.S. Naval Forces, Far East. [16]

In early September a distinguished soldier joined the Eighth Army staff. The Department of the Army sent Maj. Gen. Leven C. Allen to Korea to serve as General Walker's chief of staff. General Allen in World War II had been General Omar N. Bradley's army group chief of staff in the European Theater of Operations. He entered on duty at Eighth Army Headquarters in Taegu on 4 September. Colonel Landrum, highly regarded by General Walker, remained as deputy chief of staff. [17]

The Korean War was more than two months old before the first United Nations troops, other than those of the United States, arrived in Korea. Since the Republic of Korea was not a member of the United Nations, the ROK Army was considered an allied force.

The British War Office on 20 August announced that it was dispatching to Korea at once from Hong Kong an infantry force of two battalions. These were regular troops and comprised the 27th Infantry Brigade headquarters, the 1st Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment. Both regimental organizations dated from the American Revolution-the Middlesex Battalion from 1775, the Argylls from 1776. Since that time they had seen service in many parts of the world, including Wellington's Peninsular Campaign, India, and South Africa. Brigadier Basil A. Coad commanded the force. The British troops sailed from Hong Kong for Pusan, 1,300 miles to the north, on 25 August with bagpipes playing "Auld Lang Syne" and "The Campbells Are Coming." Five ships, including the cruiser Ceylon and the carrier Unicorn, carried the British to Pusan where they docked on 29 August. En route at sea, the rumor had spread among the troops that the North Koreans were only five miles from Pusan. Instead of the anticipated sound of gunfire the British soldiers found relative quiet in the port city. Debarking at once, the 27th In-

[15] Japan Logistical Comd, Hist Sec, Logistical Problems and Their 

Solutions, 25 Aug-31 Aug 50, p. 6 (15 Feb 52); GHQ FEC, Ann Narr Hist 

Rpt, 1 Jan-31 Oct 50, p. 32. 

[16] EUSAK WD and PIR 50, 31 Aug 50: Ibid., Sep 50 Summ; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 

1 Sep 50. A postwar tabulation, ROK and UN Ground Forces Strength in 

Korea, 31 July 1950-31 July 1953, prepared by COA, 7 Oct 54 (copy in 

OCMH), shows a strength of 90,092 for Eighth Army, 126,580 for the ROK 

Army, and 4,468 for the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. 

[17] EUSAK WD, 4 Sep 50, sec 23, GO 52.


fantry Brigade, on Eighth Army orders, moved by train that night to an assembly area near Kyongsan, ten miles southeast of Taegu. [18]

On 24 August, General MacArthur established the Japan Logistical Command (JLC) as a major organization of the Far East Command. It relieved Eighth Army Rear of all responsibilities concerning posts, camps, and stations in Japan and assumed responsibility as well for the logistical support of all U.N. forces in Korea, except those specifically delegated to other commands. Other organizational changes came on 27 August when General MacArthur designated the Far East Air Forces and the U.S. Naval Forces, Far East, officially as part of the United Nations Command, thus clarifying his relationship to them as Commander in Chief of the United Nations Command. This action served as a precedent for subsequent attachments of other U.N. air and naval forces to the United Nations Command. [19]

The movement of refugees through the front lines and their removal from the battle area was a constant source of worry to the military authorities in August. Between 12 and 19 August, the 25th Division helped the ROK police screen and remove more than 50,000 refugees from its battlefront area between Chindong-ni and the Nam River. Altogether, the 25th Division evacuated 120,335 refugees from its sector during August. In mid-August, the 24th Division estimated there were 100,000 refugees in its southern sector seeking an opportunity to cross the Naktong River. On 24 August, about 300,000 refugees assembled in collecting points near Yongsan and Changnyong, began moving under ROK police control to areas away from the front lines. They were warned not to stray from their assigned routes of travel lest they be mistaken for guerrillas and shot. The 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK divisions eastward had similar experiences with refugees. In all cases, the ROK police, working in collaboration with the local army commanders, screened the refugees and moved them away from the combat area as quickly as possible. [20]

Occasionally, guerrillas would attack trains in rear areas of the Pusan Perimeter, usually in the Yongch'on-Kyongju area in the east or along the lower Naktong in the Samnangjin area. These attacks generally resulted in only a few persons wounded and minor damage to rail equipment. The most successful guerrilla attack behind the lines of the Pusan Perimeter occurred on 11 August against a VHF radio relay station on Hill 915, eight miles south of Taegu. A guerrilla force, estimated at 100 men, at 0515 attacked the 70 ROK police guarding the station and its American operators. They drove off the ROK police and set fire to the buildings. American casualties were 2 killed, 2 wounded, and 3 missing. When a ROK police force re-

[18] EUSAK WD, 29 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Sec, Troop Control, 29 Aug 50: 

Ibid., POR 139, 28 Aug 50; Maj Gen B. A. Coad, "The Land Campaign in 

Korea," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (February, 

1952), vol. XCVII, No. 585 (lecture given 29 Oct 51); New York Times, 

August 26, 1950; New York Herald Tribune, August 30, 1950, Bigart 

dispatch from Pusan. 

[19] GHQ FEC, Ann Narr Hist Rpt, 1 Jan-21 Oct 50, ch. II. 

[20] 25th Div WD, 11-19, 31 Aug 50; 2d Div Public Info Off file, Aug 50. 


occupied the area later in the day the guerrillas had disappeared. [21]

How to use South Korean manpower to the greatest advantage became one of the most important problems early in the conduct of the war. An immediate need was for more troops to oppose and stop the advancing North Koreans. A longer range need was to build up the manpower of the allied forces to the point where they could drive the enemy back across the 38th Parallel. The program adopted was threefold: (1) fill the five ROK divisions to full strength with replacements; (2) activate new ROK divisions; and (3) attach large numbers of South Korean recruits to American units (a novel expedient).

As part of its projected expansion program the ROK Army opened training schools and centers for officers and replacements. On 14 July it opened the 1st Replacement Training Center at Taegu. This center at first operated on a 10-day schedule to receive and send out 1,000 men daily. The 2d Replacement Training Center at Pusan opened on 20 August. Its capacity was 500 daily, half that of the Taegu center. On 15 August, the ROK Army activated the Ground General School at Tongnae, near Pusan, which received its first class on 23 August. This school was principally a center for training infantry second lieutenant replacements. Its normal capacity was 250 candidates a week. After the pressing needs of the Pusan Perimeter battles had passed, all these schools lengthened their courses of training. [22]

On 10 August, General MacArthur, having received the necessary authority from the Department of the Army, authorized General Walker to increase the strength of the ROK Army to any practicable number. [23] Walker on 18 August requested authority to activate and equip five new ROK divisions at the rate of one a month beginning in September. The divisions were to have a strength of 10,500 men. General MacArthur denied General Walker this authority because of other needs for the available equipment, but he did concur in the recommendation to activate new divisions and service units and so reported to the Department of the Army. On 19 August the strength of the ROK tactical troops was 61,152; service troops, 23,672; total strength of the ROK Army, 84,824 men. The reported strength of ROK tactical organizations was as follows: [24]

Total 76,842
I ROK Corps Headquarters 1,275
Capital Division 16,376
8th Division 9,106
II ROK Corps Headquarters 499
1st Division 10,482
6th Division 9,300
ROK's Headquarters 2,159
3d Division 7,154
P'ohang Task Force 575
Task Force Kim 4,025
Special type troops 14,641
Training Center and Headquarters Company 1,250

The pay scale of the ROK Army in won per month was as follows, with the

[21] EUSAK WD, Aug 50, 25 Aug; Ibid., Sig Sec and G-3 Sec, 11 Aug 50; 

Ibid., Aug 50, 11 Aug, p. 59.

[22] 0RO, Close Air Support Operations in Korea, ORO-R-3 (FEC), pp. 27-

28, 42. 

[23] Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. 

IV, pp. 29. 33; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 10 Aug 50. 

[24] EUSAK WD, G-4, 19 Aug 50; Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support and 

Participation in the Korean War, ch. IV, pp. 31-33; ORO, Utilization of 

Indigenous Manpower in Korea, ORO-R-4 (FEC), Table XXII, p. 65. 


exchange rate of 4,000 won to one U.S. dollar:

Pvt 3,000
Pfc 3,600
Cpl 4,500
Sgt 5,400
SSgt 6,000
MSgt 24,900
WO 29,700
2d Lt 30,900
1st Lt 33,300
Capt 35,700
Maj 41,700
Lt Col 46,500
Col 51,300
Gen 60,000

Of the five planned new divisions, the ROK Army intended to reactivate first the ROK 7th Division and second the ROK 11th Division. General MacArthur warned that the new divisions could be equipped only from stocks delivered from the United States. The ROK Army did not wait upon the planned schedule, but was in the process of reactivating the ROK 7th Division at the end of August, forming at least one battalion in each of the 3d, 5th, and 8th Regiments. Task Force Min as an organization disappeared from the ROK Army Order of Battle and became instead the 71st and 2d Battalions of the 5th Regiment, ROK 7th Division. [25]

The attachment by 10 September of a U.S. battalion of 105-mm. howitzers to each of the six ROK divisions then in action considerably increased their combat effectiveness. But even with this new artillery, it must be noted that the ROK divisions had only approximately one-fourth the artillery support of that of the American divisions in Eighth Army. [20] It should not have been surprising that sometimes the ROK divisions did not perform as satisfactorily as the U.S. divisions.

A proper ration for the ROK soldier finally evolved after experimentation and testing, and was adopted in September. It provided 3,165 calories a day for an active 130-pound man. The ration included canned fish, field biscuit, barley, rice, kelp, and tea. Supplemental items were furnished from American stocks. This diet gave promise of improving the physical stamina of the ROK soldier. [27]

Korean Augmentation to the United States Army

Concurrent with the steps taken in August to rebuild the ROK Army, the Far East Command planned to incorporate 30,000 to 40,000 ROK recruits in the four American divisions in Korea and the one still in Japan but scheduled to go to Korea. This was admittedly a drastic expedient to meet the replacement requirement in the depleted American ground forces. As early as 10 August, Eighth Army began planning for the Korean augmentation, but it was not until 15 August that General MacArthur ordered it-General Walker was to increase the strength of each company and battery of United States troops by 100 Koreans. The Koreans legally would be part of the ROK Army and would be

[25] GHQ FEC G-3, Opn Rpts 61, 24 Aug, and 65, 28 Aug 50; Schnabel, FEC, 

GHQ Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. IV, pp. 32-33. 

[26] EUSAK WD, 11 Sep 50, Arty Rpt, sec 5. Artillery was assigned to the 

ROK divisions as follows: 10th FA Bn to Capital Div; 17th FA Bn to 1st 

Div; 11th FA Bn to 3d Div; 16th FA Bn to 6th Div; 18th FA Bn to 7th Div; 

50th FA Bn to 8th Div. 

[27] EUSAK WD, sec 17, Quartermaster Rpt, 13 Sep 50.


paid and administered by the South Korean Government. They would receive U.S. rations and special service items. The Far East Command initially expected that each ROK recruit would pair with a United States soldier. [28]

Before the augmentation program began there had been a few cases in which American unit commanders had used volunteer South Koreans unofficially to strengthen their forces. One of the first of these officers, if not the first, was Colonel Clainos, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. About the first of August, just after Eighth Army had retired behind the Naktong River, four Korean officers and 133 men from the South Korean police at Taegu voluntarily joined Clainos' battalion on the unofficial basis that they would receive arms and food to the best of Colonel Clainos' ability. A Lieutenant Chung, a Tokyo-trained Korean wearing a Japanese samurai sword, marched his unit to the 1st Battalion. Colonel Clainos attached Lieutenant Chung to his staff and the other three officers to A, B and C Companies, respectively. He then attached two Korean policemen to each rifle squad in the companies. Nine days after these Koreans joined the 1st Battalion they took part in the battle at Triangulation Hill, after the North Korean crossing of the Naktong in the 1st Cavalry Division sector. Two of them were killed in this action, and seven wounded. Of the wounded, all refused evacuation except one who could not walk. [29]

The U.S. 7th Infantry Division in Japan was far understrength, having contributed key personnel to the 24th, 25th, and 1st Cavalry Divisions in succession when they mounted out for Korea. In an effort to rebuild this division, the first Korean augmentation recruits were assigned to it rather than to the divisions in Korea. The first three platoons of 313 recruits left Pusan by ship the morning of 16 August and arrived in Japan the afternoon of the 18th. Once started, the shipments of recruits left Pusan at the rate of nearly 2,000 daily. The final shipment arrived at Yokohama on the 24th and debarked the next day, making a total of 8,625 Korean officers and men for the division. The South Korean Government at first obtained many of these recruits directly from the streets of Pusan and Taegu. In the contingents shipped to Japan, schoolboys still had their schoolbooks; one recruit who had left home to obtain medicine for his sick wife still had the medicine with him. [30]

On 20 August, the American divisions in Korea received their first augmentation recruits-the 24th and 25th Divisions, 250 each; the 2d and 1st Cavalry Divisions, 249 each. For the next week each of the divisions received a daily average of 250 Korean recruits. On the 29th and 30th, the 1st Cavalry Division got an average of 740, and the 24th Division, 950 recruits daily. Near the end of August the plan changed so that every fourth day each division would receive 500 men until it had a total of 8,300 Korean recruits. Except for the first

[28] EUSAK WD, 10 and 20 Aug 50: Ibid., Off Asst CofS, G-1, 15 Aug 50; 

GHQ FEC Sitreps, 10 and 19 Aug 50. 

[29] Ltr, Clainos to author, n.d., but recd May 54. 

[30] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 19 Aug 50: Ibid., 20 Aug 50; Ibid., G-1 Sec Rpt, 

24 Aug 50; ORO, Close Air Support Operations in Korea, ORO-R-4 (FEC), 

p. 54.


[Caption] SOUTH KOREAN RECRUIT with an American soldier.

groups, the recruits received five days' training at the Kup'o-ri Training Center near Pusan, which was opened 20 August. [31]

Even though it initially had been the intention of the Far East Command to pair Korean augmentation recruits with American soldiers in a "buddy system," this did not work out uniformly in practice in the Eighth Army. The 1st Cavalry and the 2d Infantry Divisions used the buddy system, with the American responsible for the training of the recruit in use of weapons, drill, personal hygiene, and personal conduct. Two regiments of the 25th Division used the system, while the third placed the recruits in separate platoons commanded by American officers and noncommissioned officers. General Church directed the 24th Division to place all its augmentation recruits in separate squads and platoons commanded by selected Korean officers and noncommissioned officers. These Korean squads and platoons were attached to American units. [32]

Capt. Robert K. Sawyer who, as a 2d lieutenant, commanded a platoon of these new augmentation recruits in the Reconnaissance Company, 25th Division, has given a fair appraisal of the typical Korean recruit in the United States Army in August and September 1950:

When a fresh batch arrived our First Sergeant ran them through a brief schooling on methods of attack, and they were ready for us. Recon Company's ROK contingent ate with us (our menu plus a huge, steaming plate of rice), but otherwise was a force apart.

About sixty ROK's were assigned to each Recon platoon, under the command of an American Lieutenant, as support for the Recon platoon leader. In other words, each Recon platoon had two U.S. officers; one for the Americans, the other for the ROK's. I had the latter job for a few weeks. On some occasions I controlled forces consisting of nearly one hundred ROK's, plus ten or twelve GI's scattered throughout for control. At other times I had a fifty-fifty combination. Sometimes the Americans predominated.

It is difficult for me to evaluate the Koreans who augmented our ranks. All in all, however, I was not impressed by my charges and was happy to see the last of them. Mere recruits, they simply had not had time to become soldiers, and I used them for little more than carrying ammunition and rations. On the occasions I had to use them for fighting I spread my GI's

[31] 25th Div WD, 20 Aug 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 20 Aug 50; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 

21 Aug 50; ORO, Close Air Support Operations in Korea, ORO-R-4 (FEC), 

Table XVII, pt. 1, pp. 52, 54-56, 60-62; Lt Ed. E. Balforth, "Getting 

Our ROK's," U.S. Combat Forces Journal (February, 1951), p. 23. 

[32] EUSAK WD, Memo from Asst CofS G-1, 5 Sep 50, sub: Korean 

Augmentation; 19th Inf WD, 29 Aug 50; 35th Inf WD, 20 Aug 50; 24th Div 

WD, G-1 Hist Rpt, 3-4 Sep 50; 25th Div WD, 4 Sep 50.


around and prayed that nothing of consequence would happen.

My ROK's were always hungry, and never did understand that the cardboard box of C rations was meant for one day's subsistence. Often, an hour after doling out the one-box-per-man I have heard my interpreter ask me for more 'chop-chop.' The Koreans had already eaten their entire day's supply! Invariably they fell asleep when on guard, requiring constant checking by the Americans. And to make matters worse, most Koreans I have observed love to greet the morning sun with a song. This habit did not always fit into our security plan.

In one action I had spread my ROK's in a half circle position, with GI's posted here and there along the line for control. Late in the morning one lone sniper fired at us, and immediately my ROK's went to pieces. Hysterical, they lay on the ground with faces pressed into the earth, weapons pointed in the general direction of the enemy, firing madly, wasting ammunition, completely out of hand. There was only one way to straighten out the situation, so my GI's and I went from ROK to ROK, kicking them and dragging them bodily to where they could see. We eventually succeeded in quieting them down, and when the enemy attacked us later in the day my ROK's held pretty well. [33]

The buddy system of using the Korean augmentation recruits gradually broke down and was abandoned. Most American soldiers did not like the system. Most units found they could employ the recruits, organized in ROK squads and platoons with American officers and noncommissioned officers in charge, to best advantage as security guards, in scouting and patrolling, and in performing various labor details. They were particularly useful in heavy weapons companies where the hand-carrying of machine guns, mortars, and recoilless rifles and their ammunition over the rugged terrain was a grueling job. They also performed valuable work in digging and camouflaging defensive positions. [34]

There also began in August the extensive use of Korean civilians with A-frames as cargo carriers up the mountains to the front lines. This method of transport proved both cheaper and more efficient than using pack animals. American units obtained the civilian carriers through arrangements with the ROK Army. Soon the American divisions were using Korean labor for nearly all unskilled work, at an average of about 500 laborers and carriers to a division.

The U.S. divisions in Korea never received the number of Korean augmentation recruits planned for them. In September the divisions began to take steps to halt further assignments. In the middle of the month, the 24th Division requested Eighth Army not to assign to it any more such troops until the division asked for them. As one observer wrote, "The Koreans haven't had time to learn our Army technique. An American doughboy hated to have his life dependent on whether his Oriental buddy knew enough to give him covering fire at the right moment." [35] The language barrier, the difference in loyalties, the

[33] Sawyer, Notes on Korea, Aug-Nov 50, prepared for author in 1952. 

[34] 25th Div WD, 31 Aug 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 29 Aug 50 Maj Norman F. J. 

Allen, Korean Army Troops, U.S.A. (KATUSA), student MS, Advanced Inf 

Course. Class 2, Inf School, Ft. Benning, Gal, 1952-53. This is an 

interesting case study of augmentation in one rifle company. The Korean 

carrier received a wage of 500 won daily (12 1/2 cents) and a rice 


[35] Hal Boyle, "The AP Reports on the Buddy System," U.S. Combat Forces 

Journal (February, 1951), p. 23; 24th Div WD, G-1 Stf Sec Summ, 26 Aug 

-28 Sep 50.


lack of training in the recruits, and their relative combat ineffectiveness all put great strain on the attempt to integrate the Koreans. It was not strange that as fast as American units obtained American replacements they dispensed with their Korean replacements. By winter, the buddy system had been quietly dropped.

Eighth Army Realignment and Extension Eastward

The last of the 2d Division's regiments, the 38th, known as "The Rock of the Marne" and commanded by Col. George B. Peploe, landed at Pusan on 19 August. The next day, 20 August, Eighth Army issued an operational directive ordering the 2d Infantry Division to relieve the 24th Division as soon as the 38th Regiment closed on Miryang. The 2d Division completed relief of the 24th Division in its Naktong River positions on 24 August and Keiser, 2d Division commander, assumed responsibility for the sector at 1800 that date.

The strength of the 24th Division on 25 August was approximately 10,600 men. It needed about 8,000 replacements as well as quantities of arms, equipment, and vehicles to bring it up to war strength. The 19th Infantry and the 11th Field Artillery Battalion were attached to the 2d Division as a reserve force; the 21st Infantry became Eighth Army reserve; the rest of the division assembled in the vicinity of Kyongsan, twelve miles southeast of Taegu. [36]

General Walker, after discussing the matter with General Church on 26 August, ordered the 34th Infantry reduced to paper status and its personnel and remaining equipment transferred to the 19th and 21st Regiments. At the same time, Eighth Army also reduced to paper status the 63d Field Artillery Battalion, which had been in support of the 34th Infantry, and transferred its troops and equipment to the newly activated C Batteries of the 11th, 13th, and 52d Field Artillery Battalions. The effective dates for the transfer were 26 August for the artillery and 31 August for the infantry. The troops of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, were transferred to the 19th Infantry as its newly activated 3d Battalion and the men of the 3d Battalion, 34th Infantry, were transferred to the 21st Infantry as its newly activated 2d Battalion. Out of the nearly 2,000 men who originally entered Korea with the 34th Infantry on 3 July, there were 184 left in the regiment at the end of August-the rest either had been killed, wounded, or were missing in action. Colonel Beauchamp was reassigned to the command of his old regiment, the 32d Infantry of the 7th Division. [37]

Simultaneously with this action, General Walker transferred the 5th Regimental Combat Team to the 24th Division as its third regiment. The 5th Regimental Combat Team at this time numbered about 3,500 men. The 6th Medium Tank Battalion with about 650 men also was to be attached to the 24th

[36] 24th Div WD, 20-26 Aug 50; 2d Div POR 64. 24 Aug 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 

Sec, 24 Aug 50. 

[37] EUSAK WD, GO 37, 26 Aug 50; Ibid., GO 37, 28 Aug 50; 34th Inf WD, 

26 Aug 50; 24th Div WD. G-4 Opn Highlights, 26 Aug-29 Sep 50; 24th Div 

WD, 31 Aug 50; 19th Inf WD, Pers Summ 26 Aug-28 Sep 50; 34th Inf WD, 

Summ, 22 Jul-26 Aug 50; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 1 Aug 52. The 

34th Infantry from 5 July to 23 August had suffered 1,714 casualties-98 

KIA, 569 WIA, 773 MIA, and 274 nonbattle casualties. 


Division. The division still needed approximately 4,000 replacements. [38]

The 27th and 35th Regiments of the 25th Division had received their third battalions early in August with the transfer to them of the two battalions of the 29th Infantry. The 1st Cavalry Division on 26 August received the third battalions for its regiments in organizations sent from the United States. It also received 3 provisional artillery batteries to provide the third firing battery for 3 battalions of artillery. At the end of August, therefore, the 4 U.S. divisions in Korea had finally built up their regiments to the normal 3 battalions. [39]

In Eighth Army a confused order of battle had prevailed generally throughout August. Battle conditions frequently had compelled the army to separate battalions and regiments from their parent organizations and send them posthaste to distant points of the Pusan Perimeter to bolster a threatened sector. All divisions except the 1st Cavalry at various times were broken up by this process. At the end of August, Eighth Army made an effort to unscramble the disorder. It ordered the 23d Infantry on 28 August to leave the Taegu front and return to 2d Division control at Miryang; it ordered the 27th Infantry on 30 August to rejoin the 25th Division at Masan; and it ordered the 5th Regimental Combat Team north from the Masan area to join the 24th Division. [40]

The course of battle in the ROK eastern sector of the Perimeter and the enemy advance down the Sangju-Taegu road during August caused General Walker near the end of the month to decide on a shift of the boundary eastward between the American and ROK troops. He considered the existing boundary near the Sangju-Taegu road a source of military weakness. On 26; August he ordered a new boundary line slanting southeast from a point two miles north of the Walled City of Ka-san to a point east of and below Taegu. This placed the Sangju-Taegu road and the former zone of the ROK 1st Division in the American zone. The 1st Cavalry Division was to move eastward into the ROK 1st Division zone, and the U.S. 2d Division at the same time was to extend its zone northward into the 1st Cavalry zone. The shift of units was to take place as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 August. [41]

Pursuant to the army directive, General Gay on 28 August ordered the 7th Cavalry Regiment to occupy the left (west) part of the ROK 1st Division sector and the 8th Cavalry Regiment to occupy the right (east) part. This shift placed the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments in mountainous terrain north of Taegu. The supply of these units now became much more difficult than it had been along the Naktong. On 29 August, the 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry, relieved

[38] 24th Div WD, 29 Aug 50; Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52. 

Given his choice, General Church chose to have the 5th RCT as his third 

regiment rather than rebuild the 34th Infantry with replacements. 

[39] EUSAK WD, 26 Aug 50; 5th and 8th Cav Regts WD, 26 Aug 50; 7th Cav 

WD, 27 Aug 50; EUSAK GO 182, 29 Aug 50. The 3d Bn, 7th Regt, 3d Inf Div, 

from Fort Devens, Mass., became the 3d Bn, 8th Cav; the 2d Bn, 30th Inf 

Regt, 3d Div, from Fort Benning became the 3d Bn, 7th Cav, and a 

battalion from Camp Carson became the 3d Bn, 5th Cav Regt. 

[40] EUSAK WD, 30 Aug 50: GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 65, 28 Aug 50. 

[41] EUSAK WD, Opn Dir, 26 Aug 50. For a description of the Walled City 

of Ka-san, see pages 422-23, below.


the 7th Cavalry Regiment in the southern part of the division sector, and the 7th Cavalry in turn relieved the ROK 13th Regiment and part of the 12th. When the newly arrived 3d Battalion of the 5th Cavalry assumed responsibility on 30 August for the generally quiet 14,000-yard sector of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, the result was a 32,000-yard front for the 5th Cavalry. The 8th Cavalry Regiment then moved to the sectors of the ROK 11th and part of the 12th Regiments. The 1st Cavalry Division completed the relief of the ROK 1st Division at 1300 on 30 August, whereupon the ROK division moved to its new sector just eastward of the new boundary. The contemplated shift of the 2d Division zone of responsibility northward proved impracticable because the area could be supplied only over the road net from Taegu, and Eighth Army reestablished the old boundary between the two divisions, effective 30 August. To defend this old 7th Cavalry sector, Eighth Army attached the 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry, to the 1st Cavalry Division. [42]

On 30 August the 714th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion arrived in Korea and became responsible for operating the approximately 500 miles of rail lines within the Pusan Perimeter. [43] The rail lines usually carried supplies from Pusan to a division railhead. From there they were trucked forward to regiment and battalion.

August was a month of heavy casualties for Eighth Army. Battle casualties in its four divisions were for the 24th Division, 1,941; 25th Division, 1,800; 1st Cavalry Division, 1,503; and the 9th Regiment of the 2d Division, 827. Nonbattle casualties were high in all units, many of them caused by heat exhaustion; the 9th Regiment alone had 419 nonbattle casualties. Loss among officers was very heavy. [44]

During the same period, battle losses had been far greater in the ROK Army than in United States forces, but nonbattle casualties were fewer. On some days ROK battle losses were wholly disproportionate to American. As extreme examples, on 6 August American battle losses were 74, the ROK 1,328; on 21 August the American battle losses were 49, the ROK, 2,229. [45]

As is customary in most army and theater zones of military action, Eighth Army had prepared plans to meet all eventualities anticipated as probable. In early August, General MacArthur outlined to General Walker a defense line closer to Pusan than the Naktong River line. He wanted this line prepared for occupancy in the event Eighth Army could not stop the North Koreans at the Naktong. On 11 August, General Walker verbally instructed Brig. Gen. Garrison H. Davidson, an Engineer officer, to lay out this secondary defense line. Davidson, after looking over the ground, recommended to General Walker that because of better defensive terrain the line should be somewhat farther back toward Pusan than General MacArthur had indicated. General Walker replied that the

[42] 1st Cav Div WD, 28-29 Aug 50; EUSAK POR 144, 29 Aug and POR 147, 30 

Aug 50; 5th Cav WD, 27 Aug 50. 

[43] Mossman and Middleton, Logistical Problems and Their Solutions, p. 


[44] 25th Div WD, 26 and 31 Aug 50; 1st Cav Div WD, Aug 50 Summ; 2d Div 

WD, G-1 Sec, 9 Jul-Aug 50; Ltr, Asst CofS to CG 2d Div; 24th Div WD, AG 

Sec, 1-26 Aug 50, 23 Aug. 

[45] GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpts 39-67, 2-30 Aug 50.


line would be constructed where General MacArthur had indicated it should go. General Davidson began laying out the line with very few resources. He received some help from Brig. Gen. Crump Garvin and the 2d Logistical Command at Pusan and from the 2d and 25th Divisions. This line, known as the Davidson Line, began on the east coast at Sodong-ni, approximately eight miles north of Ulsan, and extended generally west along high ground to a point northeast of Miryang, then curved down the ridge east of Muan-ni, turned south across the Naktong River and anchored on the high ground northeast of Masan. General Walker would not approve Davidson's recommendation to remove all houses from in front of the line to clear a field of fire. Davidson succeeded in laying a trace of the line on the ground, cleared fields of fire except for houses, ordered material for fortifications, and was able to have a few positions dug before he reported to the 24th Division as assistant division commander on the first of September. [46 ]

While General Walker had many capable staff officers at his Eighth Army headquarters at this time, perhaps none was more valuable to him than Col. John A. Dabney, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, who had joined the Army in Korea during July. Dabney was quiet and unassuming, possessed of a good mind, sound professional knowledge, persistent in his search of facts, and blessed with a fine judgment in evaluating combat information. He showed common sense throughout the critical Naktong battles of the Perimeter, and was a trusted and valued adviser to General Walker and his chief of staff.

At the beginning of September the United Nations had a large numerical superiority of men in the line divisions and in army reserve. In the skies over the battlefield and in the coastal waters guarding the Perimeter flanks, United Nations aerial and naval might was virtually uncontested. Approximately 600 American medium tanks mounting 90-mm. and 76-mm. guns were in the battle area on 1 September, as contrasted with probably not more than 100 North Korean Russian-built medium T34 tanks mounting 85-mm. guns. Eighth Army also had overwhelming superiority in artillery and mortar fire.

The Eighth Army intelligence officer on 30 August estimated that the twelve known enemy rifle divisions had an effective strength of 82,590 men, with combat effectiveness varying between 27 percent for the 13th and 15th Divisions to 96 percent for the 7th and 100 percent for the 2d Division. His estimate gave the North Korean divisions a loss of 26,820 men in August against a gain of only .1,770 replacements. [47] This estimate, as noted below, was not entirely correct.

The North Korean Plan

In their action against the Perimeter in August the plan and tactics of the North Koreans showed no departure from those that had characterized their

[46] Interv, author with Maj Gen Garrison H. Davidson. 28 Jan 54; Ltr, 

Dabney to author, 19 Jan 54. 

[47] EUSAK WD and PIR 49, 30 Aug 50; Ibid., Sep 50 Summ. On 1 September 

the United Nations held 1,753 North Korean prisoners-1,372 captured by 

ROK forces, 381 by Eighth Army. 


advance south of the Han River in July. Their divisions simply followed the American and ROK forces on all avenues leading south and closed with them as soon as possible. Enemy action followed the familiar pattern of frontal holding attack, envelopment of the flank, and infiltration to the rear. These tactics had paid high dividends during July when the North Koreans were numerically superior to the forces opposing them and when there was no continuous and connected defense line across the width of Korea. When Eighth Army and the ROK Army withdrew into the Pusan Perimeter in early August and there stabilized a line in relatively connected although thinly held defense positions, these tactics failed for the first time in the war to accomplish their desired result.

The battle line on both flanks rested on the sea. U.N. naval forces secured these flanks. Flanking operations and a tactical decision by grand maneuver were now impossible. Success could come to the North Korean command now in only one way-by frontal attack and penetration of the Perimeter defense followed by immediate exploitation.

Generals MacArthur and Walker applied classical principles of defense in the Pusan Perimeter battles-interior lines of communications for movement of supplies and reinforcements, superior artillery fire power to break the offensive spirit of enemy soldiers and reduce their numbers, and a strong air force which is ideally suited for operational defense because it can intervene quickly in adding its fire power to turn the tide of battle.

The North Korean Army strength during August fell below the combined strength of the U.S. Eighth and the

ROK Armies. It is certain also that its combat effectiveness at the first of September was considerably below what it had been a month earlier. While its numbers may have been as large, its trained troops, tanks, and heavy weapons were fewer. Many of the recruits that filled the North Korean divisions in September had no small arms.

The North Korea People's Army had shown a remarkable ability to maintain transport to its front lines over long lines of communications despite heavy and constant air attacks. This accomplishment is one of the outstanding feats of the North Korean war effort in the Pusan Perimeter period. The United Nations air effort failed to halt military rail transport. Ammunition and motor fuel, which took precedence over all other types of supply, continued to arrive at the front, though in diminished quantity. There was still a considerable resupply of heavy weapons, such as tanks, artillery, and mortars, at the front in early September, although a steady decline in artillery can be traced from the middle of August. There was a sufficient supply of small arms ammunition, but a shortage of small arms themselves became apparent by mid-August and continued to worsen with each passing week. Rear areas were able to fill only about one third of the requisitions from the front for small arms in mid-August and resupply ceased entirely about the middle of September. New trucks were almost impossible to obtain. There was no resupply of clothing. At best there were rations for only one or two meals a day. Most units had to live at least partially off the country. By 1 September the food situation was so bad in the North Korean Army at the front


that most of the soldiers showed a loss of stamina with resulting impaired combat effectiveness. [48]

The North Koreans directed the Pusan Perimeter battles from their Front Headquarters in Kumch'on. Marshal Choe Yong Gun, the North Korean Minister of Defense, was Deputy Commander of the North Korean Armed Forces. He had formerly been associated with the Chinese Communist 8th Route Army. In command of the Front Headquarters during August and September was General Kim Chaek. His chief of staff was Lt. Gen. Kang Kon until the latter was killed near Andong by a land mine explosion on 8 September.

The II Corps from its headquarters at Mun'gyong directed the action from north of Taegu eastward to the coast. Lt. Gen. Kim Mu Chong, a graduate of the Whampoa Military Academy under Chiang Kai-shek and a Communist veteran of the Chinese wars, commanded the II Corps. He had accompanied Mao Tse Tung on the "Long March" and reportedly was the only one of thirty Koreans to survive that march.

The I Corps, which had captured Seoul in the early days of the war, had direct charge under the Front Headquarters for the western half of the enemy arc around the Perimeter, from Waegwan south to the Korea Strait. Lt. Gen. Kim Ung, a spectacular soldier, commanded the I Corps. Kim had gone from Korea to the Whampoa Military Academy and eventually served with the Communist 8th Route Army in North China where reportedly he became a brigade or division commander. He was generally considered the ablest of the North Korean field commanders. He was energetic and harsh, feared rather than loved by his subordinates. His I Corps headquarters was at Chon-ju. [49]

With time running against it, the North Korean High Command prepared a massive co-ordinated offensive all around the Pusan Perimeter for the first of September. As the North Korea People's Army prepared for its great effort, it brought 13 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, 2 armored brigades, and miscellaneous security forces into the line. On the I Corps front, reaching from opposite Taegu southward along the Naktong River, in line from north to south, were the 10th, 2d, 4th, 9th, 7th, and 6th Infantry Divisions. Elements of the 105th Armored Division and the newly arrived 16th Armored Brigade supported these troops. The 16th Armored Brigade, really a regiment, had forty-three new T34 tanks when it left P'yongyang in August to take part in the September offensive. Back of the 6th Division was the 104th Security Brigade. Deployed along the II Corps front from northwest of Taegu eastward to the coast and in line from west to east were the 3d, 13th, 1st, 8th, 15th, 12th, and 5th Infantry Divisions. Elements of the 105th Armored Division and the newly arrived 17th Armored Brigade supported this corps. The 17th Armored Brigade, also actually

[48] DA Intel Rev, Dec 50, 175, pp. 36-38, ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 3, 

Rpt 895, p. 214, Maj Kim Song Won, CO 19th Regt, 13th Div. 

[49] GHQ FEC, History of the North Korean Army, pp. 41, 84, 91-94 98; 

ATIS Enemy Docs, Issue 9, p. 66, ltr, Kim Man Hwa to Col Lee Hak Ku, 

CofS N.K. 13th Div, 8 Sep 50; New York Times, August 25 and September 

11, 1950. 


a regiment, had forty new tanks when it left P'yongyang. Most, if not all, of the tanks in the two brigades apparently arrived in P'yongyang on or about 23 August, coming from the Russians by way of Manchuria. Trained crews were immediately assigned to the tanks. The two armored brigades each had two battalions; each battalion was composed of four tank companies. The two new armored brigades moved to the front by rail at night. [50]

Other than the 17th Armored Brigade, the II Corps had no new units along the northern and eastern front for the September offensive. In the I Corps sector were two new and previously uncommitted infantry formations to strengthen the assault forces there. The 9th Infantry Division, formed around the old 3d Border Constabulary, arrived in the Hyopch'on area from Seoul (less its 3d Regiment which remained at Inch'on) on or about 25 August. The 7th Infantry Division, in the Chinju-Masan area, had not been committed except for two battalions that fought briefly against ROK marines at T'ongyong. [51]

The North Korean force assembled at the front on 1 September for the assault against the Pusan Perimeter numbered about 98,000 men. Perhaps a third were raw recruits, most of them forcibly conscripted in South Korea and hastened to the front with little or no training and with few weapons. It is believed that the major organizations had personnel strength approximately as follows: [52]

Total 97,850
1st Infantry Division 5,000
2d Infantry Division 6,000
3d Infantry Division 7,000
4th Infantry Division 5,500
5th Infantry Division 7,000
6th Infantry Division 10,000
7th Infantry Division 9,000
8th Infantry Division 6,500
9th Infantry Division 9,350
10th Infantry Division 7,500
12th Infantry Division 5,000
13th Infantry Division 9,000
15th Infantry Division 7,000
104th Security Brigade 2,000
105th Armored Division 1,000
16th Armored Brigade 500
17th Armored Brigade 500

Planning for the massive attack was under way for at least the last ten days of August since the N.K. Army operational order for the I Corps attack was issued on or about 20 August. The enemy plan indicated five major groupings of assault units and objectives:

1. 6th and 7th Divisions to break through the U.S. 25th Division to Masan in the south.

2. 9th, 4th, 2d, and 10th Divisions to break through the U.S. 2d Division to Miryang and the Pusan-Taegu railroad and highway by way of Changnyong and Yongsan.

3. 3d, 13th, and 1st Divisions to break through the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK 1st Division to Taegu.

[50] GHQ FEC, History of the North Korean Army; ATIS Res Supp Interrog

Rpts, issues for the N.K. divisions previously cited; ORO, Employment of

Armor in Korea, ORO-R-1 (FEC), vol. 1, p. 165, app. F (Apr 51); EUSAK

WD, 9 Sep 50, PW Rpts, ad Lt Won Hong Ki and Sgt Choi Soong Moon; Ibid.,

PIR 55, 5 Sep 50.

[51] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 8th Div), p. 49;

Ibid., Issue 99 (N. K. 7th Div), p. 35.


[52] These figures are based on information derived from enemy material: 

ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issues 3, 4, 94, 96, 99, 100, 104 (N.K. 

1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th Divs); GHQ 

FEC, History of the North Korean Army. 


4. 8th and 15th Divisions to break through the ROK 8th and 6th Divisions to Hayang and Yongch'on in the lateral corridor east of Taegu.

5. 12th and 5th Divisions to break through the ROK Capital and 3d Divisions to P'ohang-dong, Yonil Airfield, and the Kyongju corridor to Pusan.

Assault groupings 1 and 2 of I Corps were to begin their co-ordinated attacks at 2330, 31 August; assault groupings 3, 4, and 5 of II Corps were to attack at 1800, 2 September. [53]

[53] GHQ FEC, History of the North Korean Army, pp. 57, 65, 73; ATIS Res 

Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div) pp. 40-42; Ibid., Issue 3 

(N.K. 15th Div), p. 44; ATIS Enemy Docs, Issue 9, p. 65, notebooks 

belonging to Col Lee Hak Ku, CofS 13th Div, gives summary of order from 

Mu Chong, CG N.K. II Corps; Ibid., p. 69, ltr from Choe Fam, CO 21st Regt, 13th Div, to Col Lee Hak Ku, 2 Sep 50.

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