Tactics are based on weapon-power . . . strategy is based on movement . . . movement depends on supply.

J. F. C. FULLER, The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant

The Inch'on landing put the United States X Corps in the enemy's rear. Concurrently, Eighth Army was to launch a general attack all along its front to fix and hold the enemy's main combat strength and prevent movement of units from the Pusan Perimeter to reinforce the threatened area in his rear. This attack would also strive to break the enemy cordon that had for six weeks held Eighth Army within a shrinking Pusan Perimeter. If Eighth Army succeeded in breaking the cordon it was to drive north to effect a juncture with X Corps in the Seoul area. The battle line in the south was 180 air miles at its closest point from the landing area in the enemy's rear, and much farther by the winding mountain roads. This was the distance that at first separated the anvil from the hammer which was to pound to bits the enemy caught between them.

Most Eighth Army staff officers were none too hopeful that the army could break out with the forces available. And to increase their concern, in September critical shortages began to appear in Eighth Army's supplies, including artillery ammunition. Even for the breakout effort Eighth Army had to establish a limit of fifty rounds a day for primary attack and twenty-five rounds for secondary attack. Fortunately, the Aripa arrived in the Far East with a cargo of 105-mm. howitzer shells in time for their use in the offensive. But, despite some misgivings, General Walker and his chief of staff, General Allen, believed that if the Inch'on landing succeeded Eighth Army could assume the offensive and break through the enemy forces encircling it. [1]

The Eighth Army Plan

The Eighth Army published its attack plan on 6 September and the next day General Allen sent it to Tokyo for approval. Eighth Army revised the plan on 11 September, and on the 16th made it an operations directive. It set the hour for attack by United Nations and ROK forces in the Perimeter at 0900, 16 September, one day after the Inch'on landing. The U.S. Eighth and the ROK Armies were to attack "from present

[1] Interv, author with Lt Col Paul F. Smith, 7 Oct 52 Ltr, Maj Gen 

Leven C. Allen to author, 10 Jan 54; Brig Gen Edwin K. Wright, FEC, Memo 

for Record, 4 Sep 50; Interv, author with Stebbins (EUSAK G-4 Sep 50), 4 

Dec 53: Interv, author with Maj Gen George L. Eberle, 12 Jan 54. 


bridgehead with main effort directed along the Taegu-Kumch'on-Taejon-Suwon axis," to destroy the enemy forces "on line of advance," and to effect a "junction with X Corps." [2]

The operations directive required the newly formed United States I Corps in the center of the Perimeter line to strive for the main breakthrough. The following reasons dictated this concept: (1) the distance to the link-up area with X Corps was shorter than that from elsewhere around the Perimeter, (2) the road net was better and had easier grades, (3) the road net offered the armor better opportunity to exploit a breakthrough, and (4) supply to advancing columns would be easier. The plan called for the 5th Regimental Combat Team and the 1st Cavalry Division to seize a bridgehead over the Naktong River near Waegwan. The 24th Division would then cross the river and drive on Kumch'on-Taejon, followed by the 1st Cavalry Division which would patrol its rear and lines of communications. While this breakthrough attempt was in progress, the 25th and 2d Infantry Divisions in the south on the army left flank and the ROK II and I Corps on the east and right flank were to attack and fix the enemy troops in their zones and to exploit any local breakthrough. The ROK 17th Regiment was to move to Pusan for water movement to Inch'on to join X Corps.

Supplementing the 5th Regimental Combat Team's mission of establishing a bridgehead across the Naktong, the U.S. 2d and 24th Divisions were to strive for crossings of the river below Waegwan and the ROK 1st Division above it. Execution of this plan was certain to run into difficulties because the Engineer troops and bridging equipment available to General Walker were not adequate for several quick crossings. Eighth Army had equipment for only two pontoon treadway bridges across the Naktong.

To help replace the Marine Air squadrons taken from the Eighth Army front for the X Corps operation at Inch'on, General Stratemeyer obtained the transfer from the 20th Air Force on Okinawa to Itazuke, Japan, of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing and the 16th and 25th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons.

The situation at the Pusan Perimeter did not afford General Walker an opportunity to concentrate a large force for the breakout effort in the center. The enemy held the initiative and his attacks pinned down all divisions under Eighth Army command except one, the U.S. 24th Infantry Division, which Walker was able to move piecemeal from the east to the center only on the eve of the projected attack. The problem was to change suddenly from a precarious defense to the offensive without reinforcement or opportunity to create a striking force. In theater perspective, Eighth Army would make a holding attack while the X Corps made the envelopment. A prompt link-up with the X Corps along the Taejon-Suwon axis was a prerequisite for cutting off a large force of North Koreans in the southwestern part of the peninsula.

Eighth Army anticipated that the news of the Inch'on landing would have a demoralizing effect on the North Koreans in front of it and an opposite effect on the spirit of its own troops. For this rea-

[2] EUSAK Opn Plan 10, 6 Sep 50, and Revision, 11 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 

Plans Sec, 7 Sep 50; Ibid., 15-16 Sep 50; I Corps WD, G-3 Sec, 2 

Aug-30 Sep 50.


son, General Walker had requested that the Eighth Army attack not begin until the day after the Inch'on landing. While the news of the successful landing spread to Eighth Army troops at once on the 15th, apparently it was not allowed to reach the enemy troops in front of Eighth Army until several days later.

The corridors of advance in the event of a breakout from the Perimeter necessarily would be the same that the North Korean Army had used in its drive south. Enemy forces blocked every road leading out of the Perimeter. The axis of the main effort required the use of the highway from the Naktong opposite Waegwan to Kumch'on and across the Sobaek Range to Taejon. A second corridor, the valley of the Naktong northward to the Sangju area, could be used if events warranted it. The Taegu-Tabu-dong-Sangju road traversed this corridor, with crossings of the Naktong River possible at Sonsan and Naktong-ni. From Sangju the line of advance could turn west toward the Kum River above Taejon or bypass Taejon for a more direct route to the Suwon-Seoul area.

Eastward in the mountainous central sector, the ROK's would find the best route of advance by way of Andong and Wonju. On the east coast they had no alternative to a drive straight up the coastal road toward Yongdok and Wonsan.

An important step taken by the Far East Command in preparation for the offensive was the establishment of corps organization within Eighth Army. Up to this time Eighth Army had controlled directly the four infantry divisions and other attached ground forces of regimental and brigade size. Beginning in August, preparations were made to provide Eighth Army with two corps.

On 2 August, I Corps was activated at Fort Bragg, N.C., with General Coulter in command. Eleven days later General Coulter and a command group arrived in Korea and began studies preparatory to a breakout effort from the Perimeter. The main body of the corps staff arrived in Korea on 6 September, but it still had no troops assigned to it. [3]

The IX Corps was activated on 10 August at Fort Sheridan, Ill., with Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn in command. General Milburn and a small group of staff officers departed Fort Sheridan on 5 September by air for Korea. The main body of the corps staff, however, did not reach Korea until the end of September and the first part of October. Both I and IX Corps had previously been part of Eighth Army in Japan, the I Corps with the 24th and 25th Divisions with headquarters in Kyoto, and the IX Corps with the 1st Cavalry and the 7th Divisions with headquarters in Sendai. [4]

General Walker had decided to group the main breakout forces under I Corps. He gave long and serious thought to the question of a commander for the corps. Walker eventually shifted General Milburn on 11 September from IX Corps to I Corps and General Coulter from I Corps to IX Corps. Milburn assumed command of I Corps that day at Taegu and Coulter assumed command of IX Corps the next day at Miryang. I Corps

[3] I Corps WD, Hist Narr, 2 Aug-30 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, Aug 50 Summ. 

[4] IX Corps WD, Hist Narr, 23-30 Sep 50. It is interesting to note that 

I and IX Corps had been deactivated in Japan only a few months before, 

in the early part of 1950, in line with maintaining the framework of 

four divisions and remaining within reduced army personnel ceilings. 


became operational at 1200, 13 September, with the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division, the 5th Regimental Combat Team (-), and the ROK 1st Division attached. On 15 and 16 September the 5th Regimental Combat Team and the 24th Division moved to the Taegu area, and by the evening of 16 September I Corps comprised the U.S. 24th and 1st Cavalry Divisions, the 5th Regimental Combat Team, the British 17th Infantry Brigade, the ROK 1st Division, and supporting troops. [5]

During the first week of the Eighth Army offensive the IX Corps was not operational. It became so at 1400, 23 September, on Eighth Army orders which attached to it the U.S. 25th and 2d Infantry Divisions and their supporting units. Until 23 September, therefore, these two divisions operated directly under Eighth Army command. [6]

IX Corps was not made operational at the same time as I Corps principally because of a critical lack of communications personnel and equipment. The Signal battalion and the communications equipment intended for this corps had been diverted to X Corps. Even after IX Corps became operational the lack of proper communications facilities hampered its operations. [7]

The Enemy Strength

On the eve of Eighth Army's attack, the intelligence annex to the army order presented an elaborate estimate of the enemy's strength, order of battle, and capabilities. This gave the North Koreans 13 infantry divisions on line supported by 1 armored division and 2 armored brigades, with the N.K. I Corps on the southern half of the front having 6 infantry divisions with armored support-a strength of 47,417 men, and the II Corps on the northern and eastern half of the front having 7 infantry divisions with armored support-a strength of 54,000 men. This made a total of 101,417 enemy soldiers around the Perimeter. Eighth Army intelligence estimated enemy organizations at an average of 75 percent strength in troops and equipment. [8]

The Eighth Army estimate credited the enemy with sufficient strength to be able to divert three divisions from the Pusan Perimeter to the Seoul area without endangering his ability to defend effectively his positions around the Perimeter. The estimate stated, "Currently the enemy is on the offensive and retains this capability in all general sectors of the Perimeter. It is not expected that this capability will decline in the immediate future."

With respect to both enemy troop strength and equipment the Eighth Army estimate was far too high. Although it is not possible to state precisely the strength of the North Korean units facing Eighth Army in mid-September and the state of their equipment, an examination of prisoner of war inter-

[5] Landrum, Notes for author, recd 8 Mar 54; EUSAK Special Ord 49, 11 

Sep 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 13 and 16 Sep 50; I Corps WD, G-3 Sec, 12-19 

Sep 50; EUSAK POR 195, 15 Sep 50; 24th Div WD, 15-16 Sep 50. The 3d 

Battalion of the 19th Regiment, 24th Division, remained at Samnangjin on 

the lower Naktong as a left flank guard force. 

[6] IX Corps WD, Hist Summ, 23-30 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, POR 217, 22 Sep 50 

(POR erroneously dated 2000O1).


[7] Landrum, Notes for author, recd 8 Mar 54. 

[8] EUSAK WD, 16 Sep 50, app. 1 to an. A (Intel) to Opn Plan 10 (as of 

10 Sep 50). 


rogations and captured documents reveals that it was far less than Eighth Army thought it was. The Chief of Staff, N.K. 13th Division, Col. Lee Hak Ku, gave the strength of that division as 2,300 men (not counting 2,000 untrained and unarmed replacements not considered as a part of the division) instead of the 8,000 carried in the Eighth Army estimate. The N.K. 15th Division, practically annihilated by this time, numbered no more than a few hundred scattered and disorganized men instead of the 7,000 men in the Eighth Army estimate. Also, the N.K. 5th Division was down to about 5,000 men instead of 6,500, and the N.K. 7th Division was down to about 4,000 men instead of the 7,600 accorded it by the Eighth Army estimate. The N.K. 1st, 2d, and 3d Divisions almost certainly did not begin to approach the strength of 7,000-8,000 men each in mid-September accorded to them in the estimate. [9]

Enemy losses were exceedingly heavy in the first half of September. No one can accurately say just what they were. Perhaps the condition of the North Korean Army can best be glimpsed from a captured enemy daily battle report, dated 14 September, and apparently for a battalion of the N.K. 7th Division. The report shows that the enemy battalion on 14 September had 6 officers, 34 noncommissioned officers, and 111 privates for a total of 151 men. There were 82 individual weapons in the unit: 3 pistols, 9 carbines, 57 rifles, and 13 automatic rifles. There was an average of somewhat more than 1 grenade for every 2 men-a total of 92 grenades. The unit still had 6 light machine guns but less than 300 rounds of ammunition for each. [10]

A fair estimate of enemy strength facing Eighth Army at the Perimeter in mid-September would be about 70,000 men. Enemy equipment, far below the Eighth Army 75 percent estimate of a few days earlier, particularly in heavy weapons and tanks, was probably no more than 50 percent of the original equipment.

Morale in the North Korean Army was at a low point. No more than 30 percent of the original troops of the divisions remained. These veterans tried to impose discipline on the recruits, most of whom were from South Korea and had no desire to fight for the North Koreans. It was common practice in the North Korean Army at this time for the veterans to shoot anyone who showed reluctance to go forward when ordered or who tried to desert. Food was scarce, and undernourishment was the most frequently mentioned cause of low morale by prisoners. Even so, there had been few desertions up to this time because the men were afraid the U.N. forces would kill them if they surrendered and that their own officers would shoot them if they made the attempt. [11]

[9] ATIS Interrog Rpts. Issue 9 (N.K. Forces), Rpt 1468, pp. 158ff, Col 

Lee Hak Ku; Ibid., Issue 7, Rpt 1253, p. 112, Sr Lt Lee Kwan Hyon; ATIS 

Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 3 (N.K. 15 Div), p. 44; Ibid., Issue 96 

(N.K. 5th Div), pp. 43-44; Ibid., Issue 99 (N.K. 7th Div), p. 38; Ibid., 

Issue 4 (N.K. 105th Armored Div), p. 39; Ibid., Issue 100 (N.K. 9th 

Div), p. 52: ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 22 (N.K. Forces), p. 4; EUSAK WD, 

30 Sep 50, G-2 Sec, interrog of Maj Lee Yon Gun, Asst Regt CO, 45th 

Regt, 15th Div. 

[10] 35th Inf WD, PW Interrog Team Rpt by Lt Herada, 151500 Sep 50. 

[11] U.N. forces had captured and interned at the Eighth Army enclosure 

3,380 N.K. prisoners by 15 September. The ROK Army had captured 2,254 of 

them; Eighth Army, 1,126. See EUSAK WD Incl 16, Provost Marshal Rpt, 15 

Sep 50.


United Nations, Perimeter Strength

Standing opposite approximately 70,000 North Korean soldiers at the Pusan Perimeter in mid-September were 140,000 men in the combat units of the U.S. Eighth and ROK Armies. These comprised four U.S. divisions with an average of 15,000 men each for a total of more than 60,000 men, to which more than 9,000 attached South Korean recruits must be added, and six ROK divisions averaging about 10,000 men each with a total of approximately 60,000 men. The three corps headquarters added at least another 10,000 men, and if the two army headquarters were counted the total would be more than 150,000 men. The major U.N. units had an assigned strength at this time as follows: [12]

U.S. Eighth Army 84,478
U.S. I Corps
(plus attached Koreans, 1,110)
U.S. 1st Cavalry Division
(plus attached Koreans, 2,338)
U.S. 24th Division
(plus attached Koreans, 2,786)
U.S. 2d Division
(plus attached Koreans, 1,821)
U.S. 25th Division
(plus attached Koreans, 2,447)
British 27th Infantry Brigade 1,693
ROK Army 72,730

Since it marked a turning point in the Korean War, the middle of September 1950 is a good time to sum up the cost in American casualties thus far. From the beginning of the war to 15 September 1950, American battle casualties totaled 19,165 men. Of this number, 4,280 men were killed in action, 12,377 were wounded, of whom 319 died of wounds, 401 were reported captured, and 2,107 were reported missing in action. The first fifteen days of September brought higher casualties than any other 15-day period in the war, before or afterward, indicating the severity of the fighting at that time. [13]

The assigned strength of the U.S. divisions belied the number of men in the rifle companies, the men who actually did the fighting. Some of the rifle companies at this time were down to fifty or fewer effectives-little more than 95 percent strength. The Korean augmentation recruits, virtually untrained and not yet satisfactorily integrated were of little combat value at this time.

While perhaps 60,000 of the 70,000 ROK Army soldiers were in the line, most of the ROK divisions, like those of the North Korean Army, had sunk to a low level of combat effectiveness because of the high casualty rate among the trained commissioned and noncommissioned officers and the large percentage of recruits among the rank and file. After taking these factors into account, however, any realistic analysis of the strength of the two opposing forces must

[12] GHQ FEC Sitrep, 16 Sep 50; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt, 16 Sep 50. U.S. Air 

Force strength in Korea was 4,726 men. The total U.N. supported strength 

in Korea was 221,469 men, of which about 120,000 were in the ROK Army, 

83,000 assigned, and 30,000-odd in training. See EUSAK POR 65, G-4 Sec, 

15 Sep 50. NAVFE strength was 52,011 men. 

[13] Battle Casualties of the Army, 31 May 52, DA TAGO.


give a considerable numerical superiority to the United Nations Command. [14]

In the matter of supporting armor, artillery, and heavy weapons and the availability of ammunition for these weapons, the United Nations Command had an even greater superiority than in troops, despite the rationing of ammunition for most artillery and heavy weapons. Weapon fire power superiority was probably about six to one over the North Koreans. In the air the Far East Air Forces had no rival over the battleground, and on the flanks at sea the United Nations naval forces held unchallenged control. [15]

The 38th Infantry Crosses the Naktong

The morning of 16 September dawned over southern Korea with murky skies and heavy rain. The weather was so bad the Air Force canceled a B-29 saturation bombing scheduled against the enemy positions in the Waegwan area.

The general attack set for 0900 did not swing into motion everywhere around the Perimeter at the appointed hour for the simple reason that at many places the North Koreans were attacking and United Nations troops defending. In most sectors an observer would have found the morning of 16 September little different from that of the 15th or the 14th or the 13th. It was the same old Perimeter situation-attack and counterattack. The battle for the hills had merely gone on into another day. Only in a few places were significant gains made on the first day of the offensive. (Map 17) The 15th Regiment of the ROK 1st Division advanced to the right of the North Korean strongpoint at the Walled City north of Taegu in a penetration of the enemy line. Southward, the U.S. 2d Division after hard fighting broke through five miles to the hills overlooking the Naktong River. [16]

The most spectacular success of the first day occurred in the 2d Division zone. There, west of Yongsan and Changnyong, the 2d Division launched a 3-regiment attack with the 9th Infantry on the left, the 23d Infantry in the center, and the 38th Infantry on the right. Its first mission was to drive the enemy 4th, 9th, and 2d Divisions back across the Naktong. The attack on the left failed as the enemy continued to hold Hill 201 against all attacks of the 9th Infantry. In the center, a vicious enemy predawn attack penetrated the perimeter of C Company, 23d Infantry, and caused twenty-five casualties, which included all company officers and the platoon leader of the attached heavy weapons platoon.

On the 15th, the 3d Battalion had returned to regimental control from attachment to the 1st Cavalry Division, and because it had not been involved in the preceding two weeks of heavy fighting, Colonel Freeman assigned it the main attack effort in the 23d Infantry zone. After the early morning attack on

[14] Lt. Gen. Chung Il Kwon commanded the ROK Army. The six ROK 

divisions were the following: 1st Division-11th, 12th, 15th Regiments; 

3d Division-22d, 23d, 26th Regiments; 6th Division-2d, 7th, 19th 

Regiments; 7th Division-3d, 5th, 8th Regiments; 8th Division-10th, 16th, 

21st Regiments; and Capital Division-1st, 17th, 18th Regiments. See 

EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 12 Sep 50. 

[15] EUSAK WD, Arty Rpt, 11 Sep 50. 

[16] EUSAK POR 198, 16 Sep 50; I Corps WD, 16 Sep 50; 2d Inf WD, Sep 50; 

38th Inf WD, 16 Sep 50. 


(Map 17: BREAKING THE CORDON, 16-22 September 1950)


the 16th was repulsed, Lt. Col. R. G. Sherrard ordered his 3d Battalion to move out at 1000 in attack, with C Company of the 72d Tank Company in support. Enemy resistance was stubborn and effective until about midafternoon when the North Koreans began to vacate their positions and flee toward the Naktong. To take advantage of such a break in the fighting, a special task force comprised of B Battery, 82d Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, and the 23d Regimental Tank Company had been formed for the purpose of advancing rapidly to cut off the North Korean soldiers. From about 1600 until dark this task force with its heavy volume of automatic fire cut down large numbers of fleeing enemy along the river. The weather had cleared in the afternoon and numerous air strikes added to the near annihilation of part of the routed army. [17]

The 38th Infantry on the right kept pace with the 23d Infantry in the center. Four F-51's napalmed, rocketed, and strafed just ahead of the 38th Infantry, contributing heavily to the 2d Battalion's capture of Hill 208 overlooking the Naktong River. Fighter planes operating in the afternoon caught and strafed large groups of enemy withdrawing toward the river west of Changnyong. That night the enemy's 2d Division command post withdrew across the river, followed by the 4th, 6th, and 17th Rifle Regiments and the division artillery regiment. Their crossings continued into the next day. [18]

On the 17th, air attacks took a heavy toll of enemy soldiers trying to escape across the Naktong in front of the 2d Division. During the day, fighter planes dropped 260 110-gallon tanks of napalm on the enemy in this sector and strafed many groups west of Changnyong. The fleeing enemy troops abandoned large quantities of equipment and weapons. In pursuit the 23d Infantry captured 13 artillery pieces, 6 antitank guns, and 4 mortars; the 38th Infantry captured 6 artillery pieces, 12 antitank guns, 1 SP gun, and 9 mortars. General Allen, Eighth Army chief of staff, in a telephone conversation with General Hickey in Tokyo that evening said, "Things down here [Pusan Perimeter] are ripe for something to break. We have not had a single counterattack all day. [19]

During the morning of 18 September patrols of the 2d and 3d Battalions, 38th Infantry, crossed the Naktong near Pugong-ni, due west of Changnyong, and

[17] Maj Gen Paul L. Freeman, Jr., MS review comments, 30 Oct 57: 

Highlights of the Combat Activities of the 23d Inf Regt from 5 Aug 50 to 

30 Sep 50; 23d Inf WD, Narr Summ, Sep 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entry 151, 

160207 Sep 50. Task Force Haynes, which had defended the Changnyong area 

since 1 September, was dissolved on 15 September. 

[18] 2d Div WD, G-3 Sec, Sep 50; 23d Inf WD, Narr Summ, Sep 50; Ibid., 

G-3 Jnl, entry 151, 160207 Sep 50; EUSAK PIR 66, 16 Sep 50; 38th Inf 

Comd Rpt, Sep-Oct 50; FEAF Opns Hist, vol. I, 25 Jun-31 Oct 50, p. 168; 

ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 2d Div), p. 38; ATIS 

Interrog Rpts, Issue 7 (N.K. Forces), Rpts 1208, 1233, 1242, pp. 19, 69, 

82 and 131. The senior medical officer of the 17th Regiment, captured on 

the 17th, estimated that each of the three regiments of the 2d Division 

had only approximately 700 men left. See EUSAK WD, 21 Sep 50, ADVATIS 

Interrog Rpt of Sr Lt Lee Kwan Hyon. 

[19] FEAF Opns Hist, vol. I, 25 Jun-31 Oct 50, p. 170; "Air War in 

Korea," Air University Quarterly Review IV, (Spring, 1951), No. 3, 70; 

23d Inf Comd Rpt, Jnl entry 175, 17 Sep 50, and Pers Rpt 13, 17 Sep 50; 

38th Inf Comd Rpt, Sep-Oct 50, p. 8; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 

106 (N.K. Arty), p. 51; Fonecon, Allen with Hickey, GHQ FEC CofS, 17 Sep 

50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Air, 17 Sep 50. 


found the high ground on the west side of the river clear of enemy troops. Colonel Peploe, regimental commander, thereupon ordered Lt. Col. James H. Skeldon, 2d Battalion commander, to send two squads across the river in two-man rubber boats, with a platoon to follow, to secure a bridgehead. Peploe requested authority to cross the river in force at once. At 1320 Col. Gerald G. Epley, 2d Division chief of staff, authorized him to move one battalion across the river.

Before 1600, E and F Companies and part of G Company had crossed the 100-yard-wide and 12-foot-deep current. Two hours later the leading elements secured Hill 308 a mile west of the Naktong, dominating the Ch'ogye road, against only light resistance. This quick crossing clearly had surprised the enemy. From Hill 308 the troops observed an estimated enemy battalion 1,000 yards farther west. That evening Colonel Skeldon requested air cover over the bridgehead area half an hour after first light the next morning.

During the day, the 38th Infantry captured 132 prisoners; 32 of them were female nurses, 8 were officers-1 a major. Near the crossing site on the east bank buried in the sand and hidden in culverts, it found large quantities of supplies and equipment, including more than 125 tons of ammunition, and new rifles still packed in cosmoline. [20]

The 38th Infantry's crossing of the Naktong by the 2d Battalion on 18 September was the first permanent crossing of the river by any unit of Eighth Army in the breakout, and it was the most important event of the day. The crossing was two days ahead of division schedule.

On the 19th the 3d Battalion, 38th Infantry, crossed the river, together with some tanks, artillery, and heavy mortars. The 3d Battalion was to protect the bridgehead while the 2d Battalion pushed forward against the enemy. In order to support the two battalions now west of the river it was necessary to get vehicles and heavy equipment across to that side. The two destroyed spans of the Changnyong-Ch'ogye highway bridge across the Naktong could not be repaired quickly, so the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion prepared to construct a floating bridge downstream from the crossing site.

By the end of the third day of the attack, 18 September, the U.S. 2d Division had regained control of the ground in its sector east of the Naktong River except the Hill 201 area in the south and Hill 409 along its northern boundary. Elements of the N.K. 9th Division had successfully defended Hill 201 against repeated air strikes, artillery barrages, and attacks of the 9th Infantry. At its northern boundary Eighth Army, for the moment, made no effort to capture massive Hill 409. There, air strikes, artillery barrages, and patrol action of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry, merely attempted to contain and neutralize this enemy force of the 10th Division. Behind the 2d Division lines there were many enemy groups, totaling several hundred soldiers, cut off and operating as far as twenty miles east of the river. During the 18th, a 22-man patrol of the 23d Infantry came to grief in trying to

[20] Interv, author with Peploe, 12 Aug 51; 2d Div POR 132, 18 Sep 50; 

2d Div WD, 18 Sep 50 and CofS Log entries 121 and 124, 18 Sep 50; 38th 

Inf Comd Rpt. Sep-Oct 50, pp. 9-10; 2d Div WD, G-3 Jnl, Msg 74, 181625 

Sep 50; EUSAK WD, 18 Sep 50 and G-3 Jnl, Msg 181745: 2d Div WD, G-2 Jnl, 

entry 2107, 181525 Sep 50, and PIR 25, 18 Sep 50. 


[Caption] THE BATTLE FOR HILL 201. This photograph, taken on 18 September, shows 9th Infantry soldiers helping a wounded man to the rear.

cross the Naktong, partly because of the river's depth. Enemy fire from the west bank killed three, wounded another, and drove the rest of the patrol back to the east side. [21]

The 5th Regimental Combat Team Captures Waegwan

The 5th Regimental Combat Team was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division on 14 September. It went into an assembly area west of Taegu along the east bank of the Naktong River six miles below Waegwan and prepared for action. On 16 September it moved out from its assembly area to begin an operation that was to prove of great importance to the Eighth Army breakout. Numbering 2,599 men, the regiment was 1,194 short of full strength. The three battalions were nearly equal, varying between 586 and 595 men in strength. On the 16th only the 2d Battalion engaged the enemy as it attacked north along the Naktong River road toward Waegwan. But by the end of the second day the 3d Battalion had joined in the battle and the 1st Battalion was deployed to enter it. [22]

[21] 2d Div POR 132, 18 Sep 50; 2d Div WD, G-3 Sec, 18 Sep 50; 2d Div 

PIR 24, 17 Dec 50; see Capt. Russell A. Gugeler, Small Unit Actions in 

Korea, ch. V, "Patrol Crossing of the Naktong, I&R Platoon, 23d 

Infantry, 18 September 1950," gives details of this incident. MS in 

OCMH. For an account of a typical rear area action, see Capt. Edward C. 

Williamson, Attack of the 38th Ordnance Medical Maintenance Company by a 

Guerrilla Band, 20 September 1950. MS in OCMH. 

[22} 24th Div WD, G-1 Hist Rpt, 26 Aug-28 Sep 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 14-16 

Sep 50. The earliest 5th RCT document found in the official records is 

the Personnel Report for 17 September and is included in the 24th 

Division records.


The next day, 19 September, as the 38th Infantry crossed the Naktong, the 5th Regimental Combat Team began its full regimental attack against Hill 268, southeast of Waegwan.

An estimated 1,200 soldiers of the N.K. 3d Division, supported by tanks, defended this southern approach to Waegwan. The hills there constituted the left flank of the enemy II Corps. If the North Koreans lost this ground their advanced positions in the 5th Cavalry zone eastward along the Taegu highway would become untenable. The tactical importance of Hill 268 and related positions was made the greater by reason of the gap in the enemy line to the south. At the lower side of this gap the British 27th Infantry Brigade held vital blocking positions just above strong forces of the N.K. 10th Division.

In hard fighting all day the 5th Regimental Combat Team gained Hill 268, except for its northeast slope. By night the 3d Battalion was on the hill, the 1st Battalion had turned northwest from it toward another enemy position, and the 2d Battalion had captured Hill 121, only a mile south of Waegwan along the river road. Air strikes, destructive and demoralizing to the enemy, had paced the regimental advance all the way. In this important action along the east bank of the Naktong, the 5th Cavalry and part of the 7th Cavalry protected the 5th Regimental Combat Team's right flank and fought very heavy battles co-ordinated with the combat team on the adjoining hills east of Waegwan. [23] At 1800 that evening, 18 September, the 5th Regimental Combat Team and the 6th Medium Tank Battalion reverted to 24th Division control.

The next morning the battle for Hill 268 continued. More than 200 enemy soldiers in log-covered bunkers still fought the 3d Battalion. Three flights of F-51's napalmed, rocketed, and strafed these positions just before noon. This strike enabled the infantry to overrun the enemy bunkers. Among the North Korean dead was a regimental commander. About 250 enemy soldiers died on the hill. Westward to the river, other enemy troops bitterly resisted the 2d and 1st Battalions, losing about 300 men in this battle. But Colonel Throckmorton's troops pressed forward. The 2d Battalion entered Waegwan at 1415. Fifteen minutes later it joined forces there with the 1st Battalion. After surprising an enemy group laying a mine field in front of it, the 2d Battalion penetrated deeper into Waegwan and had passed through the town by 1530. [24]

On 19 September the N.K. 3d Division defenses around Waegwan broke apart and the division began a panic-stricken retreat across the river. At 0900 aerial observers reported an estimated 1,500 enemy troops crossing to the west side of the Naktong just north of Waegwan, and in the afternoon they reported roads north of Waegwan jammed with enemy groups of sizes varying from 10 to 300 men pouring out of the town. By mid-afternoon observers reported enemy soldiers in every draw and pass north of Waegwan. During the day the 5th Regimental Combat Team captured 22 45-mm. antitank guns, 10 82-mm. mor-

[23] 5th RCT WD, 18 Sep 50. 

[24] 5th RCT WD, 19 Sep 50; Ibid., Unit Rpt 38, 19 Sep 50; 24th Div Opn 

Instr 44, 17 Sep 50; 24th Div WD, G-1 Sec, 19 Sep 50; Throckmorton, MS 

review comments, recd 16 Apr 54.


tars, 6 heavy machine guns, and approximately 250 rifles and burp guns. [25]

On 20 September the 5th Regimental Combat Team captured the last of its objectives east of the Naktong River when its 2d Battalion in the afternoon seized important Hill 303 north of Waegwan. In securing its objectives, the 5th Regimental Combat Team suffered numerous casualties during the day-18 men killed, 111 wounded, and 3 missing in action. At 1945 that evening the 1st Battalion started crossing the river a mile above the Waegwan railroad bridge. By midnight it had completed the crossing and advanced a mile westward. The 2d Battalion followed the 1st Battalion across the river and dug in on the west side before midnight. During the day the 3d Battalion captured Hill 300, four miles north of Waegan. The following afternoon, 21 September, after the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, relieved it on position, the 3d Battalion crossed the Naktong. The 5th Regimental Combat Team found large stores of enemy ammunition and rifles on the west side of the river. [26]

The 5th Regimental Combat Team in five days had crushed the entire right flank and part of the center of the N.K. 3d Division. This rendered untenable the enemy division's advanced positions on the road to Taegu where it was locked in heavy fighting with the 5th Cavalry Regiment.

From 18 to 21 September, close air support reached its highest peak in the Korean campaign. Fighters and bombers returned several times a day from Japanese bases to napalm, bomb, rocket, and strafe enemy strongpoints of resistance and to cut down fleeing enemy troops caught in the open. [27]

The 24th Division Deploys West of the Naktong

The Eighth Army and I Corps plans for the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter called for the 24th Division to make the first crossings of the Naktong River. Accordingly, General Church on 17 September received orders to force a crossing in the vicinity of the Hasan-dong ferry due west of Taegu. The 5th Regimental Combat Team had just cleared the ground northward and secured the crossing site against enemy action from the east side of the river. The 21st Infantry was to cross the river after dark on 18 September in 3d Engineer Combat Battalion assault boats. Once landed on the other side, the regiment was to attack north along the west bank of the Naktong to a point opposite Waegwan where it would strike the main highway to Kumch'on. The 24th Reconnaissance Company and the 9th Infantry Regiment were to cross at the same time a little farther south and block the roads leading from Songju, an enemy concentration point, some six miles west of the river. The unexpected crossing of the Naktong during the day by the 2d Battalion, 38th Infantry, farther south

[25] 24th Div WD, 19 Sep 50; 5th RCT WD, 19 Sep 50 and Unit Rpt 38, 19 

Sep 50; EUSAK PIR 69, 19 Sep 50; ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 13 (N.K. 

Forces) Rpt 1880, p. 189. MSgt Son Tok Hui, 105th Armored Division. 

[26] 5th RCT WD, 20-21 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 20 Sep 50; 

Throckmorton, MS review comments, recd 16 Apr 54. 

[27] EUSAK WD, Sep 50 Summ, p. 30; "Air War in Korea," Air University 

Quarterly Review, IV, No. IV (Fall, 1950), 19-39


did not alter the Eighth Army plan for the breakout. [28]

In moving up to the Naktong, the 24th Division had to cross one of its tributaries, the Kumho River, that arched around Taegu. On the morning of the 18th, Colonel Stephens, the 21st Infantry regimental commander, discovered that the I Corps engineers had not bridged the Kumho as planned. The division thereupon hurried its own Engineer troops to the stream and they began sandbagging the underwater bridge that the 5th Regimental Combat Team had already used so that large vehicles could cross. A makeshift ferry constructed from assault boats moved jeeps across the Kumho. Constant repair work on the underwater sandbag bridge was necessary to keep it usable. By nightfall there was a line of vehicles backed up for five miles east of the Kumho, making it clear that the regiment would not be in position to cross the Naktong that evening after dark as planned. As midnight came and the hours passed, General Church began to fear that daylight would arrive before the regiment could start crossing and the troops consequently would be exposed to possibly heavy casualties. He repeatedly urged on Stephens the necessity of crossing the Naktong before daylight. During the night supporting artillery fired two preparations against the opposing terrain. [29]

Despite night-long efforts to break the traffic jam and get the assault boats, troops, and equipment across the Kumho and up to the crossing site, it was 0530, 19 September, before the first wave of assault boats pushed off into the Naktong. Six miles below Waegwan and just south of the village of Kumnan-dong on the west side, Hill 174 and its long southern finger ridge dominated the crossing site. In the murky fog of dawn there was no indication of the enemy on the opposite bank. The first wave landed and started inland. Almost at once enemy machine gun fire from both flanks caught the troops in a crossfire. And now enemy mortar and artillery fire began falling on both sides of the river. The heaviest fire, as expected, came from Hill 174, and its long southern finger ridge.

For a while it was doubtful that the crossing would succeed. The 1st Battalion, continuing its crossing under fire, suffered approximately 120 casualties in getting across the river. At 0700 an air strike hit Hill 174. On the west side the 1st Battalion reorganized and, supported by air napalm and strafing strikes, attacked and captured Hill 174 by noon. That afternoon the 3d Battalion crossed the river and captured the next hill northward. During the night and the following morning the 2d Battalion crossed the Naktong. The 1st Battalion on 20 September advanced north to Hill 170, the high ground on the west side of the river opposite Waegwan, while the 3d Battalion occupied the higher hill a mile northwestward. [30]

Meanwhile, two miles south of the 21st Infantry crossing site, the 2d Battalion,

[28] 24th Div WD, 17 Sep 50 and an. B, overlay accompanying 24th Div Opn 

Instr 44, 17 Sep 50. 

[29] 24th Div WD, 18-19 Sep 50; 21st Inf WD, 18-19 Sep 50, and Summ, 26 

Aug-28 Sep 50; Throckmorton, MS review comments, recd 16 Apr 54; Col 

Emerson C. Itschner, "The Naktong Crossings in Korea," The Military 

Engineer, XLIII, No. 292 (March-April, 1951), 96ff; Interv, author with 

Alkire (21st Inf) 1 Aug 51. 

[30] 24th Div WD, 19 Sep 50; 21st Inf Unit Rpts 73-74, 18-20 Sep 50; 3d 

Engr C Bn WD, Narr Summ, Sep 50.


19th Infantry, began crossing the Naktong at 1600 on the afternoon of the 19th and was on the west side by evening. Enemy mortar and artillery fire inflicted about fifty casualties while the battalion was still east of the river. Beach operations were hazardous. Once across the river, however, the battalion encountered only light enemy resistance.

In the 24th Division crossing operation the engineers' role was a difficult and dangerous one, as their casualties show. The 3d Engineer Combat Battalion lost 10 Americans and 5 attached Koreans killed, 37 Americans and 10 Koreans wounded, and 5 Koreans missing in action. [31]

On 20 September the 19th Infantry consolidated its hold on the high ground west of the river along the Songju road. The 24th Reconnaissance Company, having crossed the river during the night, passed through the 19th Infantry and started westward on the Songju road. During the day I Corps attached the British 27th Infantry Brigade to the 24th Division and it prepared to cross the Naktong and take part in the division attack. Relieved in its position by the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the British 27th Brigade moved north to the 19th Infantry crossing site and shortly after noon started crossing single file over a rickety footbridge that Engineer troops had thrown across the river. An enemy gun shelled the crossing site sporadically but accurately all day, causing some British casualties and hampering the ferrying of supplies for the 19th Regiment. Despite special efforts, observers could not locate this gun because it remained silent while aircraft were overhead. [32]

Thus, on 20 September, all three regiments of the 24th Division and the attached British 27th Brigade were across the Naktong River. The 5th Regimental Combat Team held the high ground north of the Waegwan-Kumch'on highway, the 21st Infantry that to the south of it, the 19th was below the 21st ready to move up behind and support it, and the 24th Reconnaissance Company was probing the Songju road west of the Naktong with the British brigade preparing to advance west on that axis. The division was ready to attack west along the main Taegu-Kumch'on-Taejon-Seoul highway.

With the 24th Division combat elements west of the river, it was necessary to get the division transport, artillery, tanks, and service units across to support the advance. The permanent bridges at Waegwan, destroyed in early August by the 1st Cavalry Division, had not been repaired by the North Koreans except for ladders at the fallen spans to permit foot traffic across the river. A bridge capable of carrying heavy equipment had to be thrown across the Naktong at once. Starting on 20 September and working continuously for thirty-six hours, the 11th Engineer Combat Battalion and the 55th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company completed at 1000, 22 September, an M2 pontoon float treadway bridge

[31] 24th Div WD, 19 Sep 50; 3d Engr C Bn WD. Narr Summ, Sep 50. 

[32] 21st Inf Unit Rpts, 19-20 Sep 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53; 2d 

Bn, 7th Cav Jnl, 20 Sep 50; 24th Div WD, 21-22 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, 22 Sep 

50; 11th Inf WD, 19-21 Sep 50 and Summ, 19-21 Sep; Maj. Gen. B. A. Coad, 

"The Land Campaign in Korea," op. cit., p. 4; Eric Linklater, Our Men in 

Korea, The Commonwealth Part in the Campaign, First Official Account 

(London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1952), p. 18.


[Caption] CROSSING THE KUMHO RIVER via underwater bridge and makeshift ferry.

across the 700-foot-wide and 8-foot-deep stream at Waegwan. Traffic began moving across it immediately. Most 24th Division vehicles were on the west side of the Naktong by midnight. Many carried signs with slogans such as "One side, Bud-Seoul Bound," and "We Remember Taejon." [33]

In the action of 20-21 September near Waegwan the North Koreans lost heavily in tanks, as well as in other equipment and troops on both sides of the Naktong. In these two days the 24th Division counted 29 destroyed enemy tanks, but many of them undoubtedly had been destroyed earlier in August and September. According to enemy sources, the 203d Regiment of the 105th Armored Division retreated to the west side of the Naktong with only 9 tanks, and the 107th Regiment with only 14. Nevertheless, the enemy covered his retreat toward Kumch'on with tanks, self-propelled guns, antitank guns, and small groups of supporting riflemen. [34]

Except for the muddle in bridging the Kumho River and the resulting delayed crossing of the Naktong by the 21st Infantry Regiment, the 5-day operation of the 24th Division beginning on 18 Sep-

[33] 24th Div WD, 21-22 Sep 50; 61st FA Bn WD, 20 Sep 50; I Corps WD, 

Engr Sec, 22 Sep 50; 3d Engr C Bn WD, Narr Summ, Sep 50; Itschner, "The 

Naktong River Crossings in Korea," op. cit. 

[34] 24th Div WD, 20-22 Sep 50; 5th RCT WD, 21 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 

Air, 22 Sep 50; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 22 Sep 50; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, 

Issue 4 (105th Armored Div), pp. 39-40; Ibid., Issue 14 (N.K. Forces), 

p. 4, Rpt 1901, Lt Lee Kim Chun.


[Caption] PONTOON TREADWAY BRIDGE across the Naktong, built in thirty-six hours.

tember left little to be desired. On the 22d the division was concentrated and poised west of the river ready to follow up its success. Its immediate objective was to drive twenty miles northwest to Kumch'on, headquarters of the North Korean field forces.

The Indianhead Division Attacks West

Below the 24th Division, the 2d Division waited for the 9th Infantry to capture Hill 201. On the 19th, the 1st and 2d Battalions, 23d Infantry, were put into the fight to help reduce the enemy stronghold. While the 1st Battalion helped the 9th Infantry at Hill 201, the 2d Battalion attacked across the 9th Infantry zone against Hill 174, a related enemy defense position. In this action Sgt. George E. Vonton led a platoon of tanks from the regimental tank company to the very top of Hill 201 in an outstanding feat which was an important factor in driving the enemy from the heights. That evening this stubbornly held enemy hill on the 2d Division left flank was in 8th Infantry hands and the way was open for the 2d Division crossing of the Naktong.

In predawn darkness, 20 September, the 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry, without opposition slipped across the river in assault boats at the Sangp'o ferry site, just south of where the Sinban River enters the Naktong from the west. The battalion achieved a surprise so complete that its leading element, L Company, captured a North Korean lieutenant colonel and his staff asleep. From a map cap-


tured at this time, American troops learned the locations of the N.K. 2d, 4th, and 9th Divisions in the Sinban-ni area. By noon the 3d Battalion had captured Hill 227, the critical terrain dominating the crossing site on the west side. [35]

In the afternoon, the 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, crossed the river. Its objective was Hill 207, a mile upstream from the crossing site and dominating the road which crossed the Naktong there. In moving toward this objective, the lead company soon encountered the Sinban River which, strangely enough, no one in the company knew was there. After several hours of delay in attempting to find a method of crossing it, the troops finally crossed in Dukw's and, in a night attack, moved up the hill which they found undefended. [36]

Meanwhile, the 3d Battalion had dug in on Hill 227. That night it rained hard and, under cover of the storm, a company of North Koreans crept up near the crest. The next morning (21 September) while L Company men were eating breakfast the enemy soldiers charged over the hill shooting and throwing grenades. They drove one platoon from its position and inflicted twenty-six casualties. Counterattacks regained the position by noon. [37]

While this action was taking place on the hill south of it, the 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry, with a platoon of tanks from the 72d Tank Battalion, attacked up the road toward Sinban-ni, a known enemy headquarters command post five miles west of the river. The advance against strong enemy opposition was weakened by ineffective co-ordination between tanks and infantry. The great volume of fire from supporting twin-40 and quad-50 self-propelled AA gun vehicles was of greatest help, however, in enabling the troops to make a two-and-a-half mile advance which bypassed several enemy groups.

The next morning an enemy dawn attack drove B Company from its position and inflicted many casualties. Capt. Art Stelle, the company commander, was killed. During the day an estimated two battalions of enemy troops in heavy fighting held the 23d Infantry in check in front of Sinban-ni. The 2d Battalion of the regiment crossed the Naktong and moved up to join the 1st Battalion in the battle north of the road. South of it the 3d Battalion faced lighter resistance. The next day, 23 September, the 23d Regiment gained Sinban-ni, and was ready then to join the 38th Infantry in a converging movement on Hyopch'on. [38]

On the next road northward above the 23d Infantry, six miles away, the 38th Infantry had hard fighting against strong enemy delaying forces as it attacked toward Ch'ogye and Hyopch'on. An air strike with napalm and fragmentation bombs helped its 2d Battalion on 21 September break North Korean resistance

[35] 23d Inf Comd Rpt. Narr, Sep 50, p. 12; Ibid., Jnl entry 183, 19 Sep 

50, and entries 192 and 197, 20 Sep 50; 2d Div WD, G-3 Sec, Sep-Oct 50, 

p. 18 and PIR 27, 20 Sep 50; EUSAK WD POR 206, 19 Sep 50; Freeman, MS 

review comments, 30 Oct 57: Combat Activities of the 23d Infantry. 

[36] 23d Inf WD, entries 199-202, 20 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 20 Sep 

50; Glasgow, Platoon Leader in Korea, pp. 207-24. 

[37] Interv, author with Radow (M Co, 23d Inf, Sep 50), 16 Aug 50; 23d 

Inf WD, entries 206-10, 20 Sep 50. 

[38] 23d Inf WD, 20-22 Sep 50, entries 206-210, 214-222, and 226; 23d 

Inf POR 26, 20-21 Sep 50; and an. I, Overlay; Glasgow, Platoon Leader in 

Korea, pp. 234-62. Glasgow, a platoon leader in B Company and critically 

wounded in the fight, indicates that part of the company behaved poorly 

in the enemy dawn attack.



on Hill 239, the critical terrain overlooking Ch'ogye. The next day the battalion entered the town in the early afternoon. Before midnight the 1st Battalion turned over its task of containing elements of the N.K. 10th Division on Hill 409 east of the Naktong to the 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry, and started across the river to join its regiment. [39]

Although it had only 176 feet of bridging material, the 2d Division, by resorting to various expedients, completed a bridge in the afternoon of 22 September across the 400-foot-wide stream at the Sadung ferry site, and was ready to start moving supplies to the west side of the river in support of its advanced units.

Encirclement Above Taegu

In the arc above Taegu and on the right of the 5th Regimental Combat Team, the 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK 1st Division had dueled for days

[39] 38th Inf Comd Rpt, Sep-Oct 50, pp. 10-12; 2d Div PIR 18, 21 Sep 50; 

2d Div WD, G-3 Sec, Sep-Oct 50, p. 20; Ibid., G-4 Sec; EUSAK WD, G-3 

Jnl, entry 1456, 22 Sep 50. An enemy sketch captured on the 21st near 

Ch'ogye showed accurately every position the 1st Battalion, 38th 

Infantry, had occupied east of the Naktong.



with the N.K. 3d, 1st, and 13th Divisions in attack and counterattack. The intensity of the fighting there in relation to other parts of the Perimeter is apparent in the casualties. Of 373 casualties evacuated to Pusan on 16 September, for instance, nearly 200 came from the Taegu area. The fighting centered, as it had for the past month, on two corridors of approach to Taegu: (1) the Waegwan-Taegu highway and railroad, where the 5th Cavalry Regiment blocked the advanced elements of the N.K. 3d Division five miles southeast of Waegwan and eight miles northwest of Taegu, and (2) the Tabu-dong road through the mountains north of Taegu where other elements of the 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK 1st Division had been striving to hold off the N.K 13th and 1st Divisions for nearly a month. There the enemy was still on hills overlooking the Taegu bowl and only six miles north of the city.

General Gay's plan for the 1st Cavalry Division in the Eighth Army breakout effort was (1) to protect the right flank of the 5th Regimental Combat Team as it drove on Waegwan by having the 5th Cavalry Regiment attack and hold the


enemy troops in its zone east of the Waegwan-Taegu highway; (2) to maintain pressure by the 8th Cavalry Regiment on the enemy in the Ch'ilgok area north of Taegu, and be prepared on order to make a maximum effort to drive north to Tabu-dong; and (3) the 7th Cavalry Regiment on order to shift, by successive battalion movements, from the division right flank to the left flank and make a rapid encirclement of the enemy over a trail and secondary road between Waegwan and Tabu-dong. If the plan worked, the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments would meet at Tabu-dong and enclose a large number of enemy troops in the Waegwan-Taegu-Tabu-dong triangle. General Gay started shifting forces from right to left on 16 September by moving the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, to Hill 188 in the 5th Cavalry area. [40]

North of Taegu on the Tabu-dong road enemy units of the N.K. 13th Division fought the 8th Cavalry Regiment to a standstill during the first three days of the Eighth Army offensive. Neither side was able to improve its position materially. The enemy attacked the 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry, repeatedly on Hill 570, the dominating height east of the mountain corridor, ten miles north of Taegu. West of the road, the 3d Battalion made limited gains in high hills closer to Taegu. The North Koreans on either side of the Tabu-dong road had some formidable defenses, with a large number of mortars and small field pieces dug in on the forward slopes of the hills. Until unit commanders could dispose their forces so that they could combine fire and movement, they had to go slow or sacrifice the lives of their men.

General Walker was displeased at the slow progress of the 8th Cavalry Regiment. On the 18th he expressed himself on this matter to General Gay, as did also General Milburn, commander of I Corps. Both men believed the regiment was not pushing hard. The next day the division attached the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, and Colonel Holmes, the division chief of staff, told Colonel Palmer that he must take Tabu-dong during the day. But the enemy 13th Division frustrated the 8th Cavalry's attempt to reach Tabu-dong. Enemy artillery, mortar, and automatic weapons crossfire from the Walled City area of Ka-san east of the road and the high ground of Hill 351 west of it turned back the regiment with heavy casualties. On 20 September the 70th Tank Battalion lost seven tanks in this fight. [41]

But on the right of the 1st Cavalry Division, the ROK 1st Division made impressive gains. General Paik's right-hand regiment, the 12th, found a gap in the enemy's positions in the high mountains and, plunging through it, reached a point on the Tabu-dong-Kunwi road ten miles northeast of Tabu-dong, and approximately thirteen miles beyond the most advanced units of the 1st Cavalry Division. There the ROK troops were in the

[40] Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53; 2d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 16 Sep 50. 

[41] 8th Cav Regt WD, 16-20 Sep 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 16-20 Sep 50; Ibid., 

PIR 181, 20 Sep 50; I Corps WD, 16-20 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 18 Sep 

50, situation overlay 0630, 18 Sep 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53; 

Col Harold K. Johnson, MS review comments for author, Aug 54. Department 

of the Army General Order 38, 16 April 1952, awarded the Distinguished 

Unit Citation to the 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and attached 

units for defense of Hill 570.


rear of the main body of the N.K. 1st and 13th Divisions and in a position to cut off one of their main lines of retreat. The U.S. 10th AAA Group accompanied the ROK 12th Regiment in its penetration and the artillerymen spoke glowingly of "the wonderful protection" given them, saying, "The 10th AAA Group was never safer than when it had a company of the 12th Regiment acting as its bodyguard. Everywhere the Group moved, Company 10 of the 12th Regiment moved too." This penetration caused the N.K. 1st Division on 19 September to withdraw its 2d and 14th Regiments from the southern slopes of Kasan (Hill 902) to defend against the new threat. That day also a ROK company penetrated to the south edge of the Walled City. [42]

Along the Waegwan-Taegu road at the beginning of the U.N. offensive on 16 September, the 5th Cavalry Regiment attacked North Korean positions, centering on Hills 203 and 174 north of the road and Hill 188 opposite and south of it. Approximately 1,000 soldiers of the 8th Regiment, 3d Division, held these key positions. The 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, began the attack on the 16th. The next day the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, joined in, moving against Hill 253 farther west. There North Koreans engaged F and G Companies of the 7th Cavalry in heavy combat. When it became imperative to withdraw from the hill, G Company's Capt. Fred P. DePalina, although wounded, remained behind to cover the withdrawal of his men. Ambushed subsequently by enemy soldiers, DePalina killed six of them before he himself died. The two companies were forced back south of the road. [43]

For three days the North Koreans on Hill 203 repulsed every attempt to storm it. "Get Hill 203" was on every tongue. In the fighting, A Company of the 70th Tank Battalion lost nine tanks and one tank dozer to enemy action on 17 and 18 September, six of them to mines, two to enemy tank fire, and two to enemy antitank fire. In one tank action on the 18th, American tank fire knocked out two of three dug-in enemy tanks. Finally, on 18th September, Hill 203 fell to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, but the North Koreans continued to resist from the hills northwest of it, their strongest forces being on Hill 253. In this battle the three rifle companies of the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, were reduced to a combined strength of 165 effective men-F Company was down to forty-five effectives. The enemy's skillful use of mortars had caused most of the casualties. At the close of 18 September the enemy 3d Division still held the hill mass three miles east of Waegwan, centering on Hills 253 and 371. [44]

[42] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 18 Sep 50, situation overlay 0630 18 Sep; I 

Corps WD, Narr Hist, 19 Sep 50; ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 9 (N.K. 

Forces), Interrog Rpt 1468, pp. 158-74, Col Lee Hak Ku CofS 13th Div, 

captured 21 Sep 50; Capt. Arthur C. Brooks, Jr., "From Pusan to Unsan 

with the 10th AAA Group," Antiaircraft Journal, XCIV, No. 1 (January-

February, 1951), 14. 

[43] 2d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 17-18 Sep 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 17 Sep 50. 

General Order 182, 30 March 1951, awarded the Distinguished Service 

Cross posthumously to Captain DePalina. EUSAK. (The order is apparently 

in error on the date of his death, giving it as 19 September.) 

[44] 1st Cav Div WD, 16-18 Sep 50; 1st Cav Div Arty Unit Hist, 17 Sep 

50; 5th Cav Regt WD, 16-18 Sep 50; Ibid., Narr Rpt; 7th Cav Regt WD, 

1718 Sep 50; 1st Cav Div, G-2 Hist, Sep 50; Summ of Act, A Co, 70th Tk 

Bn, 17-24 Sep 50; I Corps WD, 18 Sep 50; USAF Hist Study 71, p. 66. 


[Caption] 40-MM. ANTIAIRCRAFT BATTERY attached to the ROK 1st Division fighting north of Tabu-dong.

On 18 September forty-two B-29 bombers of the 92d and 98th Groups bombed west and northwest of Waegwan across the Naktong but apparently without damage to the enemy.

The battle on the hills east of Waegwan reached a climax on the 19th when the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, and the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, engaged in very heavy fighting with fanatical, die-in-place North Koreans on Hills 300 and 253. Elements of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, gained the crest of Hill 300. On that hill the 1st Battalion suffered 207 battle casualties-28 American soldiers killed, 147 wounded, and 4 missing in action, for a total of 179, with 28 additional casualties among the attached South Koreans. At noon, F Company reported 66 men present for duty; E and G Companies between them had 75 men. That afternoon the battalion reported it was only 30 percent combat effective. The 5th Cavalry's seizure of the 300 and 253 hill mass dominating the Taegu road three miles southeast of Waegwan unquestionably helped the 5th Regimental Combat Team to capture Waegwan that day. But one mile to the north of these hills, the enemy on Hill 371 in a stubborn holding action turned back for the moment all efforts of the 5th Cavalry to capture that height. [45]

[45] 2d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 19 Sep 50; 7th Cav Regt WD, 19 Sep 50; 

1st Cav Div WD, 19-20 Sep 50. There were 205 counted enemy dead on Hill 



In its subsequent withdrawal from the Waegwan area to Sangju the N.K. 3d Division fell from a strength of approximately 5,000 to about 1,800 men. Entire units gave way to panic. Combined U.N. ground and air action inflicted tremendous casualties. In the area around Waegwan where the 5th Cavalry Regiment reoccupied the old Waegwan pocket a count showed 28 enemy tanks-27 T34's and one American M4 refitted by the North Koreans-as destroyed or captured. [46]

During the 19th General Gay started maneuvering his forces for the encirclement movement, now that the hard fighting east of Waegwan had at last made it possible. Colonel Clainos led his 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, from the division right to the left flank, taking position in front of the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, to start the movement toward Tabu-dong. Gay ordered the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, to shift the next morning from the right flank to the left, and prepare to follow the 1st Battalion in its dash for Tabu-dong. On the morning of 20 September the 3d Battalion entrucked north of Taegu and rolled northwest on the road toward Waegwan. The regimental commander, apparently fearing that enemy mortar and artillery fire would interdict the road, detrucked his troops short of their destination. Their foot march tired the troops and made them late in reaching their assembly area. This overcaution angered General Gay because the same thing had happened when the 2d Battalion of the same regiment had moved to the left flank four days earlier. [47]

In the meantime, during the morning the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, led off down the road toward Waegwan past Hill 300. Two miles short of Waegwan the lead elements at 0900 turned off the main highway onto a poor secondary road which cut across country to a point three miles east of Waegwan, where it met the Waegwan-Tabu-dong road. This latter road curved northeast, winding along a narrow valley floor hemmed in on both sides by high mountains all the way to Tabu-dong, eight miles away.

Even though an armored spearhead from C Company, 70th Tank Battalion, led the way, roadblocks and enemy fire from the surrounding hills held the battalion to a slow advance. By midafternoon it had gained only two miles, and was only halfway on the cutoff road that led into the Waegwan-Tabu-dong road. The column stopped completely when a tank struck a mine. General Gay showed his irritation over the slow progress by ordering the regimental commander to have the 1st Battalion bypass enemy on the hills and "high-tail it" for Tabu-dong. [48]

Acting on General Gay's orders, the 1st Battalion pushed ahead, reached the Tabu-dong road, and turned northeast on it toward the town eight miles away. This road presented a picture of devastation-dead oxen, disabled T34 tanks, wrecked artillery pieces, piles of abandoned ammunition, and other military

[46] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 96 (N.K. 3d Div), pp. 34-35; I 

corps WD, Narr Hist, 20 Sep 50 and G-2 Sec, 22 Sep 50; 5th Cav Regt WD. 

22 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, 22 Sep 50, and POR 216, 22 Sep 50. 

[47] 1st Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 19 Sep 50; 3d Bn, 7th Cav, unit Jnl, Msg 

5, 191920 and Msg 6, 20140 Sep 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53. 

[48] 7th Cav Regt WD. 20 Sep 50 (entries for 19 and 20 Sep are run 

together with no date entry for the 20th). 


equipment and supplies littered its course. As the battalion halted for the night, an exploding mine injured Colonel Clainos. He refused evacuation, but the next day was evacuated on orders of the regimental commander. That evening the 1st Battalion, with the 3d Battalion following close behind, advanced to the vicinity of Togae-dong, four miles short of Tabu-dong.

The premature detrucking of the 3d Battalion during the day was the final incident that caused General Gay to replace the 7th Cavalry regimental commander. That evening General Gay put in command of the regiment Colonel Harris, commanding officer of the 77th Field Artillery Battalion, which had been in support of the regiment. Harris assumed command just before midnight. [49]

Colonel Harris issued orders about midnight to assembled battalion and unit commanders that the 7th Cavalry would capture Tabu-dong on the morrow, and that the element which reached the village first was to turn south to contact the 8th Cavalry Regiment and at the same time establish defensive positions to secure the road.

The next morning, 21 September, the 1st Battalion resumed the attack and arrived at the edge of Tabu-dong at 1255. There it encountered enemy resistance, but in a pincer movement from southwest and northwest cleared the village by 1635. An hour later the battalion moved out of Tabu-dong down the Taegu road in attack southward toward the 8th Cavalry Regiment.

Late that afternoon, General Gay was accompanying the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, advancing northward toward Tabu-dong. He and Colonel Kane, the battalion commander, were standing close to a tank when a voice came over its radio saying, "Scrappy, this is Skirmish Red, don't fire." A few minutes later a sergeant, commanding the lead platoon of C Company, 7th Cavalry, came into the position and received the personal congratulations of the division commander upon completing the encircling movement. [50]

Meanwhile, the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, arrived at Tabu-dong and turned north to deploy its troops in defensive positions on both sides of the road. By this time, elements of the ROK 1st Division had cut the Sangju road above Tabu-dong and were attacking south toward the village. The ROK 12th Regiment, farthest advanced, had a roadblock eight miles to the northeast below Kun vi. It appeared certain that the operations of the 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK 1st Division had cut off large numbers of the N.K. 3d, 13th, and 1st Divisions in the mountains north of Taegu. The next day, at September, the 11th Regiment of the ROK 1st Division and units of the ROK National Police captured the Walled City of Ka-san, and elements of the ROK 15th Regiment reached Tabu-dong from the north to link up with the 1st Cavalry Division. [51]

[49] 7th Cav Regt WD, 20 Sep 50; 1st Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 20 Sep 50; 

3d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, Msgs 10, 12, 14, 20 Sep 50; 77th FA Bn WD, 20 

Sep 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53. 

[50] 7th Cav WD, 20-21 Sep 50; 3d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, Msg 15, 20 Sep 

50; 1st Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, 21 Sep 50; I Corps WD, 21 Sep 50; 1st Cav 

Div WD, 21 Sep 50; Ltr, Gay to author, 30 Sep 53; Interv, author with 

Harris, 30 Apr 54; Interv, author with Clainos, 30 Apr 54. 

[51] 3d Bn, 7th Cav, Unit Jnl, Msgs 22 and 26, 21150 and 211700 Sep 50; 

61st FA Bn WD, 21 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, 21 Sep 50.


The Right Flank

In the mountainous area of the ROK II Corps the enemy 8th Division was exhausted and the 15th practically destroyed. The ROK divisions were near exhaustion, too, but their strength was greater than the enemy's and they began to move slowly north again. The ROK 6th Division attacked against the N.K. 8th Division, which it had held without gain for two weeks, and in a 4-day battle destroyed the division as a combat force. According to enemy sources, the N.K. 8th Division suffered about 4,000 casualties at this time. The survivors fled north toward Yech'on in disorder. By 21 September the ROK 6th Division was advancing north of Uihung with little opposition. [52]

Eastward, the ROK 8th Division, once it had gathered itself together and begun to move northward, found little resistance because the opposing enemy 15th Division had been practically annihilated.

In the battle-scarred Kigye-An'gang-ni-Kyongju area of the ROK I Corps sector, units of the Capital Division fought their way through the streets of An'gang-ni on 16 September, the day the U.N. offensive got under way. Beyond it, the ROK 3d Division had moved up to the north bank of the Hyongsan-gang just below P'ohang-dong. The next day a battalion of the ROK 7th Division, advancing from the west, established contact with elements of the Capital Division and closed the 2-week-old gap between the ROK II and I Corps.

Retiring northward into the mountains, the N.K. 12th Division fought stubborn delaying actions and did not give up Kigye to the Capital Division until 22 September. It then continued its withdrawal toward Andong. This once formidable organization, originally composed largely of Korean veterans of the Chinese Communist Army, was all but destroyed-its strength stood at approximately 2,000 men. The North Korean and ROK divisions on the eastern flank now resembled exhausted wrestlers, each too weak to press against the other. The ROK divisions, however, had numerical superiority, better supply, daily close air support and, in the P'ohang-dong area, naval gunfire. [53]

On the 16th, naval support was particularly effective when Admiral Charles C. Hartman's Task Group, including the battleship USS Missouri, appeared off P'ohang-dong. The big battleship pounded the enemy positions below the town, along the dike north of the Hyongsan-gang, with 2,000-pound shells from its 16-inch guns. Two days later the battleship again shelled these dike positions under observed radio fire direction by Colonel Emmerich, KMAG adviser to the ROK 3d Division. ROK troops then assaulted across the bridge, but enemy machine gunners cut them down. The number killed is unknown, but 144 were wounded in trying to cross the bridge. In a final desperate step, thirty-one ROK

[52] EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 1050, 21 Sep 50; Ibid., G-3 Sec, 19 Sep 

50; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 4 (N.K. 8th Div). p. 25; ATIS 

Interrog Rpts, Issue 10 (N.K. Forces), Rpt 1517, p. 44, Lt Choe Yun Ju. 

[53] ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 12th Div), pp. 48-49; 

EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Sec Rpt, 14 Sep 50, and Summ, 19 Sep 50, p. 31; Ibid., 

POR 21, 22 Sep 50.


soldiers volunteered to die if necessary in trying to cross the bridge. Fighter planes helped their effort by making dummy strafing passes against the enemy dike positions. Of the thirty-one who charged, nineteen fell on the bridge. Other ROK soldiers quickly reinforced the handful of men who gained a foothold north of the river. There they found dead enemy machine gunners tied to their dike positions. [54]

As a preliminary move in the U.N. Offensive in the east, naval vessels on the night of 14-15 September had transported the ROK Miryang Guerrilla Battalion, specially trained and armed with Russian-type weapons, to Changsa-dong, ten miles above P'ohang-dong, where the battalion landed two and a half hours after midnight in the rear of the N.K. 5th Division. Its mission was to harass the enemy rear while the ROK 3d Division attacked frontally below P'ohang-dong. That evening the enemy division sent a battalion from its 12th Regiment to the coastal hills where the Miryang Battalion had taken a position and there engaged it. The ROK guerrilla battalion's effort turned into a complete fiasco. The U.S. Navy had to rush to its assistance and place a ring of naval gunfire around it on the beach, where enemy fire had driven the battalion. This saved it from total destruction. Finally, on 18 September, with great difficulty, the Navy evacuated 725 of the ROK's, 110 of them wounded, by LST. Thirty-nine dead were left behind, as well as 32 others who refused to try to reach the evacuating ships. [55]

Although this effort to harass the enemy rear came to nothing and gave the ROK 3d Division little help, elements of that division had combat patrols at the edge of P'ohang-dong on the evening of 19 September. The next morning at 1015 the division captured the destroyed fishing and harbor village. One regiment drove on through the town to the high ground north of it. And in the succeeding days of 21 and 22 September the ROK 3d Division continued strong attacks northward, supported by naval gunfire and fighter planes, capturing Hunghae, and driving the N.K. 5th Division back on Yongdok in disorder. [56]

The Left Flank-The Enemy Withdraws From Sobuk-san

At the other end of the U.N. line, the left flank in the Masan area, H-hour on 16 September found the 25th Division in an embarrassing situation. Instead of being able to attack, the division was still fighting enemy forces behind its lines, and the enemy appeared stronger than ever on the heights of Battle Mountain, P'il-bong, and Sobuk-san.

General Kean and his staff felt that the division could advance along the roads toward Chinju only when the mountainous center of the division front

[54] Interv, author with Emmerich, 5 Dec 51; EUSAK WD, 18 Sep 50; GHQ 

FEC, G-3 Opn Rpt, 17 Sep 50; Karig, et al., Battle Report, The War in 

Korea, pp. 254-55.

[55] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 14-15 Sep 50 Ibid., Br for CG, 15 Sep 50; GHQ 

FEC, History of the N.K. Army, pp. 51, 61; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 19-20 Sep 50; 

Karig, et al., Battle Report, The War in Korea, pp. 243-55. 

[56] Interv, author with Emmerich, 5 Dec 51; EUSAK WD, Summ, 20 Sep 50, 

p. 32; Ibid., Br for CG, and G-3 Sec, 20 Sep 50; EUSAK WD, 21-22 Sep 50; 

USAF Hist Study 71, p. 67; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 96 (N.K. 

5th Div), p. 44.


[Caption] ENEMY-HELD AREA, showing high ground north of Pohang-dong.

was clear of the enemy. The experience of Task Force Kean in early August, when the enemy had closed in behind it from the mountains, was still fresh in their minds. They therefore believed that the key to the advance of the 25th Division lay in its center where the enemy held the heights and kept the 24th Infantry Regiment under daily attack. The 27th Infantry on the left and the 35th Infantry on the right, astride the roads between Chinju and Masan, could do little more than mark time until the situation in front of the 24th Infantry improved.

To carry out his plan, General Kean on 16 September organized a composite battalion-sized task force under command of Maj. Robert L. Woolfolk, commanding officer of the 3d Battalion, 35th Infantry, and ordered it to attack the enemy-held heights of Battle Mountain and P'il-bong the next day, with the mission of restoring the 24th Infantry positions there. On the 17th and 18th the task force repeatedly attacked these heights, heavily supported by artillery fire from the 8th and 90th Field Artillery Battalions and by numerous air strikes, but enemy automatic fire from the heights


drove back the assaulting troops every time with heavy casualties. Within twenty-four hours, A Company, 27th Infantry, alone suffered fifty-seven casualties. Woolfolk's force abandoned its effort to drive the enemy from the peaks after its failure on the 18th, and the task group was dissolved the next day. [57]

During the morning of 19 September it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned the crest of Battle Mountain during the night, and the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, moved up and occupied it. On the right, the 35th Infantry began moving forward. There was only light resistance until it reached the high ground in front of Chungam-ni where cleverly hidden enemy soldiers in spider holes shot at 1st Battalion soldiers from the rear. The next day the 1st Battalion captured Chungam-ni, and the 2d Battalion captured the long ridge line running northwest from it to the Nam River. Meanwhile, the enemy still held strongly against the division left where the 27th Infantry had heavy fighting in trying to move forward. [58]

On 21 September the 35th Infantry Regiment captured the well-known Notch, three miles southwest of Chungam-ni, and then swept westward eight air miles without resistance, past the Much'on-ni road fork, to the high ground at the Chinju pass. There at 2230 the lead battalion halted for the night. At the same time, the 24th and 27th Regiments in the center and on the division left advanced, slowed only by the rugged terrain they had to traverse. They passed abandoned position after position from which the North Koreans previously had fought to the death, and saw that enemy automatic positions had honeycombed the hills. [59]

The events of the past three days made it clear that the enemy in front of the 25th Division in the center and on the right had started his withdrawal the night of 18-19 September. The N.K. 7th Division withdrew from south of the Nam River while the 6th Division sideslipped elements to cover the entire front. Covered by the 6th Division, the 7th had crossed to the north side of the Nam River by the morning of the 19th. Then the N.K. 6th Division had withdrawn from its positions on Sobuk-san. [60]

Although the North Korean withdrawal had been general in front of the 25th Division, there were still delaying groups and stragglers in the mountains. Below Tundok on the morning of 22 September some North Koreans slipped into the bivouac area of A Company, 24th Infantry. One platoon leader awoke to find an enemy soldier standing over him. He grabbed the enemy's bayonet and struggled with the North Korean until someone else shot the man. Nearby another enemy dropped a grenade into a foxhole on three sleeping men, killing

[57] EUSAK WD, 16 Sep 50; 24th Inf WD, 16 Sep 50; 27th Inf WD, 17 Sep 

50; 1st Bn, 27th Inf Unit Rpt, Sep 50; 25th Div WD, Narr Rpt, Sep 50, p. 

31; Barth MS, p. 33. Woolfolk's task group: Hq, 3d Bn, 35th Inf; I Co, 

35th Inf; A Co, 27th Inf; B Co and 1 plat, C Co, 65th Engr C Bn. The 

25th Reconnaissance Company and the Heavy Weapons Company, 24th 

Infantry, gave support. 

[58] 24th Inf WD, 19 Sep 50; 35th Inf WD, 19-20 Sep 50; 1st Bn, 35th Inf 

WD, 19-20 Sep 50; 27th Inf WD, Act Rpt, Sep 50, p. 3; 25th Div WD, Narr, 

Sep 50, p. 25; EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 1610, 20 Sep 50. 

[59] 35th Inf Unit Rpt, 21 Sep 50; 1st Bn, 35th Inf, Unit Rpt, 21 Sep 

50; 27th Inf Act Rpt, Sep 50, p. 3; 2d Bn, 24th Inf, WD, 21 Sep 50; 

Barth MS, p. 35. 

[60] 25th Div WD, 19 Sep 50, and Narr Rpt, Sep 50, p. 31.


two and wounding the third. A little later mortar fire fell on a company commanders' meeting at 1st Battalion headquarters and inflicted seven casualties, including the commanding officer of Headquarters Company killed, and the battalion executive officer, the S-1, and the S-2 wounded. [61]

Up ahead of the division advance, elements of the N.K. 6th Division at the Chinju pass blocked the 35th Infantry all day on 22 September, covering the withdrawal of the main body across the Nam River and through Chinju, six miles westward. The assault companies of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, got within 200 yards of the top of Hill 152 at the pass but could go no farther. [62]

Just before the Eighth Army breakout MacArthur had revived a much debated proposal. On 19 September General Wright sent a message from Inch'on to General Hickey, Acting Chief of Staff, FEC, in Tokyo, saying General MacArthur directed that Plan 100-C, which provided for a landing at Kunsan, be readied for execution. He indicated that MacArthur wanted two U.S. divisions and one ROK division prepared to make the landing on 15 October. This proposal indicates quite clearly that on the 19th General MacArthur entertained serious doubts about the Eighth Army's ability to break out of the Pusan Perimeter. In truth it did not look very promising. General Walker, when informed of this plan, opposed taking any units out of the Eighth Army line in the south. By the 22d the situation had brightened considerably for a breakout there, and after discussing the matter with Walker that day General MacArthur gave up the idea of a Kunsan landing; General Hickey penciled on the plan, "File." [63]

Aerial observers' reports on 22 September gave no clear indication of enemy intentions. While there were reports of large enemy movements northward there were also large ones seen going south. Eighth Army intelligence on that day estimated the situation to be one in which, "although the enemy is apparently falling back in all sectors, there are no indications of an over-all planned disengagement and withdrawal." [64] This estimate of enemy intentions was wrong. Everywhere, even though it was not yet apparent to Eighth Army, the enemy units were withdrawing, covering their withdrawal by strong blocking and delaying actions wherever possible.

In any analysis of Eighth Army's unanticipated favorable position at this time it is imperative to calculate the effect of the Inch'on landing on the North Koreans fighting in the south. There can be little doubt that when this news reached them it was demoralizing in the extreme and was perhaps the greatest single factor in their rapid deterioration. The evidence seems to show that news of the Inch'on landing was kept from most of the North Korean officers as well as nearly all the troops at the Pusan Perimeter for nearly a week. It would appear that the North Korean

[61] Interv, author with 1st Lt Robert J. Tews (Plat Ldr A Co. 24th 

Inf), 21 Sep 51; 24th Inf WD, 22 Sep 50; 25th Div WD, Narr, p. 27, Sep 


[62] 35th Inf WD, 22-23 Sep 50; 25th Div WD, 22 Sep 50 and Narr, p. 40. 

[63] Msg 0633180, CINCUNC to CINCFE (Wright to Hickey), 19 Sep 50, FEC 

CofS file.

[64] EUSAK PIR 72, 22 Sep 50.


High Command did not decide on a withdrawal from the Perimeter and a regrouping somewhere farther north until three or four days after the landing when it became evident that Seoul was in imminent danger. The pattern of fighting and enemy action at the Perimeter reflects this fact.

Nowhere on 16 September, when Eighth Army began its offensive, did it score material gains except in certain parts of the 2d Division zone where the 38th and 23d Infantry Regiments broke through decimated enemy forces to reach the Naktong River. Until 19 September there was everywhere the stoutest enemy resistance and no indication of voluntary withdrawal, and, generally, U.N. advances were minor and bought only at the cost of heavy fighting and numerous casualties. Then during the night of 18-19 September the enemy 7th and 6th Divisions began withdrawing in the southern part of the line where the enemy forces were farthest from North Korean soil. The 6th Division left behind well organized and effective delaying parties to cover the withdrawals.

On 19 September Waegwan fell to the U.S. 5th Regimental Combat Team, and the ROK 1st Division in the mountains north of Taegu penetrated to points behind the enemy 1st and 13th Divisions' lines. These divisions then started their withdrawals. The next day the ROK 3d Division on the east coast recaptured P'ohang-dong and in the ensuing days the 5th Division troops in front of it fell back rapidly northward on Yongdok. And at the same time the ROK Army made sweeping advances in the mountains throughout the eastern half of the front. The 1st Cavalry Division was unable to make significant gains until 20 and 21 September. On the 21st it finally recaptured Tabu-dong. West of the Naktong the U.S. 2d Division fought stubborn enemy delaying forces on 21 and 22 September.

The effect of the Inch'on landing and the battles around Seoul on enemy action at the Pusan Perimeter from 19 September onward was clearly apparent. By that date the North Korean High Command began to withdraw its main forces committed in the south and start them moving northward. By 23 September this North Korean retrograde movement was in full swing everywhere around the Perimeter. This in itself is proof of the theater-wide military effectiveness of the Inch'on landing. The Inch'on landing will stand as MacArthur's masterpiece.

By 23 September the enemy cordon around the Pusan Perimeter was no more-Eighth Army's general attack combined with the effect of the Inch'on landing had rent it asunder. The Eighth Army and the ROK Army stood on the eve of pursuit and exploitation, a long-awaited revenge for the bitter weeks of defeat and death.

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