Eighth Army and X Corps Enter North Korea

Wherever the enemy goes let our troops go also.

ULYSSES S. GRANT, dispatch to Halleck, 1 August 1864

Eighth Army Crosses the Parallel-The Kumch'on Pocket

On 5 October Eighth Army issued its operations order for the movement across the 38th Parallel, but withheld the date for the attack. Two days later General Allen telephoned General Hickey and told him that General Walker wanted to know when A-day (date for crossing the Parallel) was to be given. Hickey replied, "Your A-day will be at such time as you see it ready." Allen replied, "That's fine, because we're on the verge of it now." A message from Tokyo the same day confirmed the call. Eighth Army at once implemented its order of the 5th by radio messages to General Milburn at U.S. I Corps and to the Chief of Staff, ROK Army. The attack on P'yongyang was about to begin. [1]

Eighth Army expected strong enemy resistance at the 38th Parallel and a stubborn defense of P'yongyang. According to ROK Army combat intelligence, the North Koreans had three known lines of defense across the peninsula, each consisting of pillboxes, gun emplacements, trenches, and barbed wire entanglements. The first line was along the 38th Parallel and was about 500 yards in depth; the second line was about three miles behind the first; the third lay farther back and was based on locally situated critical terrain features. All three lines were oriented to defend against southern approaches. [2]

North of the Parallel the U.N. Command expected to meet newly activated divisions that had been training in North Korea or elements of units that had engaged in the fighting around Seoul. Some intelligence sources indicated there might be as many as six divisions totaling 60,000 men in North Korean training centers. Actually, only

[1] Fonecon, Allen with Hickey, 1115 7 Oct 50, and Msg CX65711, CINCUNC 
to CG Eighth Army, 7 Oct 50, both quoted in Schnabel, FEC, GHQ Support 
and Participation in the Korean War, ch. VI, pp. 24-25; EUSAK WD, G-3 
Sec, 7 Oct 50, Opn Ord 104, 5 Oct 50. 

[2] EUSAK PIR's 82, 2 Oct, 89, 9 Oct, 90, 10 Oct, and 93, 13 Oct 50. 


the N.K. 19th and 17th Divisions defended the Kumch'on-Namch'onjom area north of Kaesong. Both had been brigades activated in the summer and expanded in September to division status. They engaged in combat for the first time when U.N. forces crossed the Parallel. On the right (west) of these divisions, the 74th Regiment of the 43d Division defended the Yesong River crossing site west of Kaesong. The 43d Division, organized in mid-September, had the task of defending the coastal area beyond the Yesong River. Some elements of the N.K. 17th Armored Division engaged in action just north of the Parallel in the zone of the ROK 1st Division, east of the 1st Cavalry Division. [3]

Ready for the attack, the 1st Cavalry Division was deployed in three regimental combat teams just below the Parallel in the vicinity of Kaesong. In the center, Colonel Palmer's 8th Cavalry Regiment was to attack frontally along the main highway axis from Kaesong to Kumch'on; on his right, Colonel Crombez' 5th Cavalry Regiment was to swing eastward, then west, in a circular flanking movement designed to envelope enemy forces south of Kumch'on, fifteen miles north of the Parallel. Meanwhile, on the division left, Colonel Harris' 7th Cavalry Regiment faced the task of crossing the Yesong River to get on the road running north from Paekch'on to the little town of Hanp'o-ri, six miles north of Kumch'on, where the main P'yongyang road crossed the Yesong River. At Hanp'o-ri the 7th Cavalry was to establish a blocking position to trap the large enemy forces that General Gay expected the 8th and 5th Cavalry Regiments to be driving northward. These were the maneuvers involved in the action of the Kumch'on Pocket. Because the prospects of forcing a crossing of the Yesong River did not appear very promising with the support available, General Gay and the division staff relied principally on the 8th and 5th Cavalry Regiments for initial success in the attack.

The 1st Cavalry Division sent patrols across the Parallel late on the afternoon of the 7th, and others crossed Sunday night, 8 October. Then on Monday, 9 October, at 0900 General Gay issued his orders, and the division moved up to the Parallel and started fighting its way northward. (Map 18)

In the division center along the main highway, the advance was very slow. The highway was heavily mined and the armored spearhead repeatedly came to a halt, waiting for Engineer troops to remove the mines. On 12 October, halfway to Kumch'on, an enemy strongpoint defended with tanks, self-propelled guns, and antiaircraft weapons again stopped the regiment. An air strike by sixteen planes and a 155-mm. howitzer barrage failed to dislodge the enemy. In this action, Lt. Col. Robert W. Kane, the 1st Battalion commander, was severely wounded. [4]

[3] EUSAK PIR 85, 5 Oct 50, and PIR 89, Incl No. 3, 9 Oct 50; FEC, Ord 
of Battle Info, N.K. Army, Chart 14 (N.K. 19th Div) and Chart 13 (N.K.
17th Div); ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 14 (N.K. Forces), p. 138, and Issue 
15, pp. 100, 149, 191, 192; ATIS Enemy Documents, Issue 16, p. 45, diary 
of Sr Col Chang Tong Mu; GHQ FEC, History of the N.K. Army, p. 27. 

[4] 8th Cav Regt WD, S-3 Jnl, Msg 091226 Oct 50; Capt. Charles A. 
Rogers, History of the 16th Reconnaissance Company in Korea, 18 July 
1950-April 1951, MS, May 1951, copy in OCMH; 1st Cav Div WD, 11-12 Oct 


(MAP 18: THE KUMCH'ON POCKET, 9-14 October 1950)


On the division right the 5th Cavalry Regiment also had difficulty. It reached the Parallel at 1930 9 October but did not cross until the next morning. In its initial attack it captured the hills flanking and dominating the road on both sides just above the Parallel. Fifteen miles northeast of Kaesong an enemy force held a long ridge with several knobs (Hills 179, 175, 174) dominating a pass. There it stopped the 1st Battalion. The next day, 12 October, the 2d Battalion joined in the battle. The 5th Cavalry drove the North Koreans from the ridge during the afternoon. In the fighting at Hill 174, 1st Lt. Samuel S. Coursen, a platoon leader in C Company, went to the aid of a soldier who had entered an enemy emplacement mistakenly thinking it was empty. The soldier escaped with a wound, but Coursen was later found dead there together with seven enemy soldiers whom he had killed in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle. Several of the North Koreans had crushed skulls from rifle butt blows. [5]

The day before, 11 October, the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, with tanks of B Company, 6th Medium Tank Battalion, in support, had crossed the Imjin River and followed the 5th Cavalry Regiment northeast out of Kaesong. General Gay's plan was for the brigade to move northwest through the mountains for a close-in envelopment of Kumch'on. His aerial observer, hitherto very reliable, wrongly reported that the roads were as shown on the maps and that the plan was feasible. The road taken by the British, little more than a cart track, dead-ended in the mountains. The Middlesex Battalion got lost on this trail, turned back, and tried another. Despite an arduous effort in the mountains, the British troops never got into the fight for Kumch'on. [6]

While the British were crossing the Imjin, the ROK 1st Division crossed it at Korangp'o-ri at dawn on the 11th, eastward of the 1st Cavalry Division, and attacked northwest on a road that converged with the one taken by the 5th Cavalry Regiment. The 5th Cavalry in the late afternoon of 12 October was engaged in a fire fight with the enemy at the objective crossroads when advance elements of the ROK 1st Division arrived there from the southeast. In a conference on the spot Colonel Crombez and General Paik, the ROK division commander, agreed that the 5th Cavalry would have precedence on the road until Crombez' troops turned west, five miles northward on a lateral road leading into Kumch'on. The ROK 1st Division, following behind the 5th Cavalry, would then continue its attack north to Sibyon-ni where it would veer northwest toward P'yongyang. Tanks of C Company, 6th Medium Tank Battalion, supported the ROK 1st Division. [7]

Of the three regimental attack forces, the 7th Cavalry Regiment on the divi-

[5] 5th Cav POR 23, 091800-101800 Oct 50; 5th Cav Regt WD, 9 Oct 50 and 
Oct Narr Summ: 1st Cav Div WD, 11-12 Oct 50. Department of the Army 
General Order 57, 2 August 1951, awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously 
to Lieutenant Coursen. 

[6] Ltr, Gay to author, 23 Jan 54: Interv, author with Crombez, 12 Jan 
56; 1st Cav Div WD, 12 Oct 50. 

[7] Crombez, MS review comments, 12 Jan 56: 6th Med Tk Bn WD, 29 Sep-Oct 
50 (with 24th Div records); EUSAK POR 272, 11 Oct 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 
12-13 Oct 50.


sion left flank had the most difficult assignment, and in fact General Gay and his staff expected it to accomplish little. The regiment had to cross the wide Yesong River against defending enemy forces before it could turn north as the left-hand column in the Kumch'on Pocket maneuver. Since all of I Corps' bridging troops and equipment were committed to establishing bridges across the Imjin River at Munsan-ni to support the main effort northward, river crossing support could not be supplied for the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Yesong River.

On 8 October the regiment received orders to move up to the Yesong River, search for crossing sites, and clear enemy troops from the area southwest of Kaesong. The I&R Platoon found that the high, 800-yard-long combination highway and rail bridge over the river on the Kaesong-Paekch'on route was standing, although damaged. It was so weakened, however, that it could support only foot traffic. The I&R Platoon received small arms, automatic, and mortar fire from the enemy on the far side of the river. Colonel Clainos, commander of the 1st Battalion, also personally reconnoitered the area with a platoon of A Company on the afternoon of the 8th and received fire from the west bank of the stream. The I&R Platoon leader told him that enemy forces held the west side of the river from the southern tip of the peninsula to a point one-half mile northeast of the Yesong River bridge. Colonel Harris, the regimental commander, upon receiving the I&R Platoon report that the bridge was usable for foot troops, ordered the platoon to prevent further destruction of the bridge. He then called upon the 1st Battalion to seize the bridge and crossing area. [8]

A full report of the situation was given to the 1st Cavalry Division with the recommendation that the 7th Cavalry Regiment seize this unexpected opportunity for a quick crossing of the river. General Gay feared that the North Koreans had set a trap in leaving the bridge usable for foot troops, and that enemy zeroed-in mortar and artillery fire and automatic weapons would decimate any troops caught on it. The division staff said also that a regimental attack west of the Yesong River northward could not be supported logistically. The untiring efforts of Colonel Harris and his S-3, Captain Webel, however, succeeded in winning from General Gay authority to attempt the crossing on the 9th.

On the afternoon of 9 October the 7th Cavalry Regiment delivered three hours of preparatory artillery fire against enemy positions on the west bank of the river. At 1500, Colonel Clainos ordered a platoon of C Company to cross the bridge under cover of the barrage. In crossing the bridge and seizing the immediate approaches on the far side, the platoon suffered a few casualties from small arms fire. Following this platoon, B Company, 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, went on the bridge and spent all night under fire repairing holes in the roadway. After the first troops reached the far side, Clainos sent the rest of C Company across and it occupied the hill on the right of the

[8] Ltr, Webel (7th Cav S-3 Oct 50) to author, 13 Apr 54; Ltr, Col Peter 
D. Clainos to author, 24 May 54; Ltrs, Gay to author, 23 Jan and 19 Apr 
54; Ltr, Harris to author, 7 Apr 54. 


bridge. Next to cross was B Company, which seized the hill just south of the bridge. The artillery and mortar barrage had been unable to silence enemy mortars, and these fired heavy concentrations on the bridge during the 1st Battalion crossing, which took several hours to complete. The overhead steel girders of the bridge gave excellent protection from fire and prevented many casualties. When the supporting artillery barrage had to be lifted from the immediate environs of the bridge, once the 1st Battalion troops crossed to that side, casualties began to increase rapidly from enemy fire. In this crossing attack, the 1st Battalion had 78 casualties; C Company alone had 7 killed and 36 wounded.

After dark the North Koreans launched a counterattack against the 1st Battalion, and Colonel Harris ordered Lt. Col. Gilmon A. Huff to hasten his crossing with the 2d Battalion. Just before midnight Huff's battalion started infiltrating across the bridge which was still under some mortar and small arms fire. On the other side, Huff assembled his battalion on the south flank of the 1st Battalion, approximately 100 yards west of the bridge. He then attacked west along the Paekch'on road in a column of companies with G Company leading. This attack progressed only a short distance when a heavy enemy counterattack from the south struck the flank of G Company. The enemy counterattack threw the 2d Battalion into momentary confusion. In the beginning of the fight enemy small arms fire hit Huff in the shoulder, but he remained with his battalion throughout the night battle. The largest weapons the battalion had at hand were 57-mm. recoilless rifles and 60-mm. mortars. Huff showed superb leadership in this difficult night battle and eventually seized the high ground southeast of the bridge and the road. By dawn it was clear that the battle was all but over and that the 2d Battalion would be able to move forward. Huff then turned over command of the battalion to the executive officer who led it in a continuation of the attack westward. The battalion seized Paekch'on and the high ground north of the town in the afternoon. [9]

The next morning, 11 October, the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, crossed the Yesong River and headed north. Thus, by that morning all three regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division had crossed the 38th Parallel and were driving into North Korea. The 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, on the morning of 12 October, seized its objective-the railroad and highway bridges at Hanp'o-ri north of Kumch'on, and the road juncture there. This closed the western escape route of an estimated 1,000 enemy troops in Kumch'on. Friendly fighter-bombers mistakenly strafed and rocketed the 3d Battalion at Hanp'o-ri, wounding several men. That evening the 2d Battalion joined the 3d Battalion at Hanp'o-ri. [10]

During the night at the 3d Battalion roadblock, the pressure from the 8th and 5th Cavalry Regiments on the North Koreans was made evident. MSgt. John H. Smith and his platoon of L Company ambushed 11 enemy trucks running with

[9] Ltr, Huff to author, 28 Apr 54; Ltr, Webel to author, 13 Apr 54; 
Fonecon, Webel with author, 20 May 54; Ltr, Clainos to author, 24 May 
54; Ltr, Gay to author, 19 Apr 54; 2d Bn, 7th Cav Unit Jnl, 0355-0700 10 
Oct 50: 7th Cav Regt WD, 9-10 Oct. 50.

[10] 7th Cav Regt WD, 12 Oct 50; 1st Cav Div WD, 11-12 Oct 50; Webel, MS 
review comments for author, 13 Apr 54.


their lights on. They destroyed 4 trucks loaded with ammunition, captured 6 others, killed about 50 enemy soldiers, and captured an equal number. Among the latter was a mortally wounded regimental commander who had in his possession a document indicating that two North Korean divisions, the 17th and 19th, intended to break out of Kumch'on the night of 14 October. Before he died the officer said part of the enemy force had been ordered to withdraw to Namch'onjom, a fortified area fifteen miles north of Kumch'on. [11]

The drive of the 7th Cavalry Regiment northward to Hanp'o-ri after crossing the Yesong River could not have taken place without one of the most successful logistical supply operations of the Korean War. In the discussions before the 7th Cavalry attack at the Yesong River bridge, the 1st Cavalry Division G-4 had told Colonel Harris and Maj. Lucian Croft, the regimental S-4, that he could not provide the gasoline, rations, and certain types of ammunition for the drive north from Paekch'on even if the river crossing attempt was successful. Colonel Harris and Captain Webel decided to try to obtain the needed logistical support from the 3d Logistical Command at Inch'on by amphibious transport through the Yellow Sea and up the Yesong River. Capt. Arthur Westburg, an assistant regimental S-3 officer, went to Inch'on and presented the matter to Brig. Gen. George C. Stewart, the port commander. General Stewart and his staff loaded 500 tons of supplies on thirteen LCV's. They arrived at the 7th Cavalry crossing site at the Yesong River bridge late in the afternoon of the 10th. Engineer troops from I Corps on the 15th constructed a pontoon ferry at the bridge site and it transported the tanks of C Company, 70th Tank Battalion, across the river for support of the regiment. [12]

The 13th of October promised to be a critical day in the efforts of the 1st Cavalry Division to close the Kumch'on Pocket. With the 7th Cavalry blocking the exit road from Kumch'on, the decisive action now rested with the 8th and 5th Cavalry Regiments, which were trying to compress the pocket from the south and the east.

After it turned west from the Sibyon-ni road the 5th Cavalry encountered an almost continuous mine field in its approach to Kumch'on, and it also had to fight and disperse an enemy force estimated to number 300 soldiers, eight miles from the town. Overcoming these difficulties, the regiment pressed ahead and by the evening of the 13th it was approaching Kumch'on.

Strong opposition confronted the 8th Cavalry Regiment on the main highway where the enemy apparently had concentrated most of his available forces and weapons. There, on the morning of the 13th, an artillery preparation employing proximity fuze air bursts blanketed the North Korean positions. Because of the closeness of the American

[11] 17th Cav Regt WD, 12 Oct 50; 7th Cav Regt Opn Ord 28, 141015 Oct 
50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, 1100 13 Oct 50. 

[12] Ltr, Webel to author, 13 Apr 54; Ltr, Harris to author, 7 Apr 54; 
7th Cav Regt WD, 10-11 Oct 50; 3d Log Comd Hist Opn Rpt, G-4 Sec (Hist
Memo: Yesong River Supply and Ferry Mission), 10-12 Oct 50. During the 
12th, the 1st Cavalry Division received reinforcements which were 
attached to it for the drive on P'yongyang. These were B Co, 6th Med Tk 
Bn; the 89th Tk Bn; the 13th FA Bn; and the 90th FA Bn. 


troops to the enemy, a planned B-26 bomber strike was canceled, but a new flight of fighter planes appeared over the enemy positions every thirty minutes. The North Koreans resisted stubbornly with tanks, artillery, mortars, small arms fire, and counterattacks. In one of the counterattacks, enemy tanks rumbled out of the early morning mist to strike an outpost of B Company, 70th Tank Battalion. Sgt. Marshall D. Drewery said his tank gunner first fired on the lead enemy tank at a range of fifty yards. A second round hit it at a range of twenty yards. Still the T34 came on and rammed into the American tank. Drewery's driver put his tank in reverse, jerked loose, and backed away. At a few yards' range the gunner fired a third round into the enemy tank which now had a split gun muzzle and was burning. Amazingly, the tank rumbled forward and rammed Drewery's tank a second time. The fourth round finally knocked out this stubborn enemy tank. In the day's series of attacks and counterattacks the 8th Cavalry and supporting arms destroyed eight enemy tanks; B Company, 70th Tank Battalion, accounted for seven of them without loss to itself. [13]

While the enemy force south of Kumch'on fought desperately and successfully to prevent the 8th Cavalry from closing in on the town, a large enemy column of trucks and carts with an estimated 1,000 soldiers moved northward out of it on the road toward Namch'onjom. At the Hanp'o-ri bridge it ran into the 7th Cavalry roadblock. In the ensuing action, the 7th Cavalry, aided by air strikes, killed an estimated 500 and captured 201 of this force. Many enemy troops, however, escaped into the hills northeast of the town.

At the same time, elements of the N.K. 43d Division cut off below Paekch'on were moving around that town and fleeing north. One such group in company strength occupied old North Korean defensive positions just north of the 38th Parallel the night of 12-13 October. The following day it ambushed the tail end of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, column moving north from Paekch'on. Part of A Battery, 77th Field Artillery Battalion, and B Company, 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, were in the ambushed column. A soldier who escaped raced back into Paekch'on to the 3d Battalion, 21st Infantry, command post. Colonel Stephens, the regimental commander, happened to be there. Upon hearing what had happened, he directed Lt. Col. John A. McConnell, Commanding Officer, 3d Battalion, to send a company to the scene. Colonel McConnell thereupon directed I Company, 21st Infantry, which was on a blocking mission south of the ambush site, to go there. On arrival it engaged and dispersed the enemy force with mortar and small arms fire, and captured 36 North Koreans. In this ambush the North Koreans killed 29 American and 8 South Korean soldiers and wounded 30 Americans and 4 South Koreans. They also destroyed 4 and damaged 14 vehicles. In this episode, as in so many others like it, those caught in the roadblock apparently made little effort to defend themselves. In another ambush on the road that night enemy troops captured the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, supply

[13] 1st Cav Div WD, 13-14 50; 8th Cav Regt WD, Jnl file 0643 to 0800 13
Oct 50; New York Herald Tribune, October 14, 1950. 


officer and 11 men; subsequently, however, the officer and 5 men escaped. [14]

At midnight of the 13th, the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, resumed its attack on Kumch'on from the east. After dispersing an enemy force near the town, the battalion then entered and seized the northern part of it. The 3d Battalion following behind seized the southern part. At 0830, 14 October, Colonel Crombez and the regimental command group arrived in Kumch'on. Crombez ordered the 2d Battalion to turn north toward the 7th Cavalry at Hanp'o-ri and the 3d Battalion to turn south to meet the 8th Cavalry on the Kaesong road. The 1st Battalion remained behind to secure the town.

Advancing northwest, the 2d Battalion joined elements of the 7th Cavalry above Hanp'o-ri at noon. An enemy force, estimated to number 2,400 men, which had been attacking the 7th Cavalry roadblock position at Hanp'o-ri, escaped into the hills when the 2d Battalion approached from the south. Meanwhile, attacking south from Kumch'on, the 3d Battalion neared a special task force of the 8th Cavalry Regiment which had attacked north during the morning and already had lost two tanks to enemy action. The two columns, the 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, and the special 8th Cavalry task force met just after noon about four miles south of Kumch'on. Even though the 1st Cavalry Division envelopment and capture of Kumch'on had been carried out in five days, a large part of the enemy force in the Kumch'on Pocket escaped, mostly to the north and northwest. [15]

The day Kumch'on fell to the 1st Cavalry Division, 14 October, the North Korean Premier and Commander in Chief, Kim Il Sung, issued an order to all troops of the North Korea People's Army explaining the reasons for the army's defeat and outlining harsh measures for future army discipline. Alluding to the recent reverses, Kim Il Sung said, "Some of our officers have been cast into utter confusion by the new situation and have thrown away their weapons and left their positions without orders." He commanded; "Do not retreat one step farther. Now we have no space in which to fall back." He directed that agitators and deserters be executed on the spot, irrespective of their positions in the Army. To carry out this order, he directed that division and unit commanders organize, by the following day, a special group, which he termed the "Supervising Army," its men to be recruited from those who had distinguished themselves in battle. [16]

At the close of 14 October, with U.S. I Corps troops through the principal prepared enemy positions between the 38th Parallel and the North Korean capital, enemy front lines as such had ceased to exist. The North Korean forces were in a state of utter confusion.

In these auspicious circumstances President Truman on 15 October met

[14] 1st Cav Div WD, 13 Oct 50; 7th Cav Regt WD, 13 Oct 50; 24th Div WD, 
14 Oct 50; Webel, MS review comments for author, 13 Apr 54; Stephens, MS 
review comments. Dec 57. 

[15] 1st Cav Div WD, 13-14 Oct 50; 7th Cav Regt WD, 13 14 Oct 50; 8th 
Cav Regt Jnl, 141310-141315 Oct 50; Crombez, MS review comments, 12 Jan 
56; Stephens MS review comments, Dec 57. 

[16] ATIS Supp, Enemy Docs, Issue 19, pp. 1-4, order dated 14 Oct 50, 
issued to all NKPA personnel by Kim Il Sung and Pak Hon Yong, Chief of 
Supreme Political Bureau, NKPA.


[Caption] KUMCH'ON, NORTH KOREA, after the battle.

General MacArthur on Wake Island. A few days earlier, in announcing his intention to make the trip, President Truman had said he would discuss with General MacArthur "the final phase of U.N. action in Korea." [17]

The X Corps Moves to Northeast Korea

While the I Corps of Eighth Army was driving into North Korea on the P'yongyang axis and the 1st Marine Division was loading at Inch'on, the 7th Infantry Division was assembling at Pusan to outload there in the X Corps amphibious movement to northeast Korea. On 30 September the division had been relieved of its responsibilities in the Seoul area and its units began to shift south and southeast to the Suwon and Ich'on areas preparatory to the long overland move to Pusan. Ten LST's were reserved at Inch'on for the division's tanks and heavy equipment.

On 4 October Eighth Army indicated the route it wanted the 7th Division to take through its zone, specifying the road through Ch'ungju, Hamch'ang, Kumch'on, Taegu, and Kyongju to Pusan, a road distance of 350 miles from Ich'on. At Taegu the troops were to load on trains for the final part of the journey, whereupon the trucks would return to Suwon and Ich'on for others. [18]

[17] EUSAK WD, 21 Oct 50, has transcript of Truman's address at San 
Francisco, 17 Oct; New York Times, October 11, 1950. 

[18] X Corps WD, CofS Notes, 2, 4 Oct 50; 7th Inf Div WD, G-3 Jnl, 2-4 
Oct 50, and Msg 17, 5 Oct 50; X Corps WD, Opn Sec, pp. 16-18; Barr, 
Notes, 30 Sep-2 Oct 50.


The 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, led the 7th Division movement, passing the initial point at Ich'on at 0350 5 October, with the rest of the regiment following. The command group of the 32d Infantry led the movement of that regiment through Ich'on four hours later. The 17th Regiment remained at Ich'on, holding its blocking position there until relieved on 8 October, and it then began the motor movement to Pusan. Both the 31st and 32d Regiments closed at Pusan on 7 October. On 8 October the 7th Division command post closed at Anyang-ni and opened at Pusan, although most of the headquarters was still on the road.

The movement to Pusan was not without incident. On two occasions enemy forces ambushed convoys in the mountains near Mun'gyong. The first ambush caught the head of the 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry, at 0200, 6 October, and inflicted nine casualties; the second ambush at 0230, 9 October, caught the division headquarters convoy in the pass three miles northwest of Mun'gyong. Enemy machine gun fire killed six men and destroyed several vehicles. Elements of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, succeeded in clearing the pass area that afternoon. This battalion thereafter patrolled the pass above Mun'gyong until it was relieved on 11 October by the 27th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Division. [19]

The division artillery was the last major unit to leave Ich'on, clearing there at 1700 on 10 October. It and the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, arrived at Pusan on 12 October to complete the division movement to the port. About 450 division troops had been airlifted on 11 October from Kimpo Airfield to Pusan. In addition to the 7th Division, the X Corps Medical, Engineer, Ordnance, Transportation, Quartermaster, Chemical, and Signal units moved overland to Pusan for outloading. Altogether, in seven days, approximately 1,460 tons of supplies and equipment and 13,422 troops had moved overland in division vehicles and those of the 52d Truck Battalion. [20]

The loading of the 7th Division vehicles and equipment at Pusan began on 14 October and that of the men two days later. The division was completely loaded on 17 October, the deadline set by X Corps nine days earlier. The loading of corps troops at Pusan began on 19 October.

In its order of 8 October, X Corps had required the 2d Logistical Command to furnish 15 days' supply of all classes for the 25,000 troops outloading at Pusan, 10 days of Class II and IV supplies for the troops outloading at Inch'on, and, for the entire corps, 15 days' resupply to arrive in the Wonsan area on D-day plus 8 (28 October). Except for Class I supply, the 2d Logistical Command had no reliable information as to the requirements of the various units. Providing the 15 days of supply depleted depot stocks in that area, particularly of winter clothing, operational rations, POL, and post exchange comfort items. This resulted in subsequent logistical

[19] 7th Inf Div WD, 6-11 Oct 50; X Corps WD, 6-11 Oct 50; X Corps POR 
19, 7 Oct 50; Barr Notes, 9 Oct 50; X Corps WD, G-3 Jnl, Msg 46, 2215 
9 Oct 50. 

[20] X Corps WD, Oct 50, Log Sec, p. 22. 


difficulties for Eighth Army. Much of the 15 days' resupply for X Corps had to be requisitioned on the Japan Logistical Command. [21]

The difficult logistical and outloading problem given the 2d Logistical Command on such short notice was worked out successfully only by the constant mutual effort and co-operation of the staffs of the logistical command and of the 7th Infantry Division. The outloading was completed in time. It was an outstanding performance. On 16 October the 7th Division advance command post opened aboard the USS Eldorado. But because mine fields in Wonsan Harbor now delayed sailing of the convoys for nearly two weeks, the hectic work at the port to meet the loading deadline was largely in vain.

Mines at Wonsan Harbor

After the Inch'on landing and Eighth Army's successful breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, evidence began to mount that the North Koreans were mining the coastal waters of North Korea. Three U.S. ships, the Brush, Mansfield, and Magpie, struck mines and suffered heavy damage. Although intelligence sources indicated enemy mines were being laid in coastal waters, little was known about the location and extent of these mine fields. North Korean interests certainly dictated, however, that the sea approaches to Wonsan should be mined.

In a series of conferences from 2 to 4 October, Admiral Struble and his staff decided to form the Advance Force JTF 7, which would proceed to the objective area and begin minesweeping at the earliest possible date. All minesweepers available were to be concentrated for the task. The group comprised 21 vessels, including 10 American and 8 Japanese minesweepers, and 1 South Korean vessel used as a minesweeper. Minesweeping operations at Wonsan began on 10 October. A search by helicopter over the harbor channel showed it to be heavily mined inside the 30-fathom curve. The plan to sweep this channel was canceled and another substituted-to sweep from the 100-fathom curve down the Russian Hydropac Channel passing between Yodo and Hwangt'o-do Islands. By 12 October this channel had been swept a distance of twenty-four miles from the 100-fathom curve. Ten miles remained to the inner harbor. [22]

At this point the novel idea was advanced of exploding mines along a narrow passageway by aerial bombing which would permit the lead sweeps to pass. On 12 October thirty-nine planes from the carriers Philippine Sea and Leyte flew down the Russian channel dropping 1,000-pound bombs.

Three minesweepers, the Pirate, Pledge, and Incredible, then entered the bombed channel to resume minesweeping. Northwest of Yo-do Island the Pirate struck a mine at 1209; the Pledge hit one six minutes later. Both vessels sank. As the Incredible, third in line, maneuvered into safe water, enemy shore

[21] 7th Inf Div WD, 14 Oct 50: 2d Log Comd Monthly Act Rpt. G-4 Sec, 
Oct 50; Barr Notes, 14 Oct 50; Interv, author with Col A. C. Morgan, 
CofS 2d Log Comd, 21 Jul 51: Interv, author with Lt Col Robert J. 
Fuller, 2d Log Comd, G-4 Sec, 21 Jul 51. 

[22] Act Rpt, JTF 7, Wonsan Opn, I-C-2 and 3, and VI-D-1 


batteries opened fire. Twelve men went down with the two sunken ships. One enlisted man died later from wounds. At least 33 others were wounded and injured in varying degrees; some sources place the number of wounded as high as 99. The Incredible itself rescued 27 survivors. [23]

The menace of shore batteries was removed on 17 October when ground forces of the ROK I Corps, which had already captured Wonsan, gained control of the peninsulas and islands commanding the harbor approaches.

Casualties from mines continued. On 18 October two ROK Navy vessels struck mines in the Wonsan area; one was disabled at the entrance to the harbor, and the other, a minesweeper, was sunk. The next day a Japanese minesweeper struck a mine and sank.

The risk of sending transports with troops to the beaches was still great. The presence of ground mines in the shallow water made necessary a thorough magnetic sweep of the close-in approaches to the landing beaches. Because troops of the ROK I Corps were now well past Wonsan, the military situation did not warrant an unnecessary risk in unloading the Marine units. Admiral Struble, therefore, recommended that they not be unloaded on 20 October as planned, but that D-day be deferred until the minesweeping could be completed. Admiral Joy and General MacArthur concurred.

A report from the minesweeper group on 23 October indicated that a channel free of mines had been swept to Blue-Yellow Beach, but that sweeping of the beach area itself was being continued. At a conference on board the Missouri the next day, Admiral Struble decided that landings could start on the 25th; actually they did not begin until the morning of the 26th. The conference on the 24th also decided that the minesweepers should clear the Wonsan inner harbor. Then they were to sweep the approaches to Hungnam to clear that port. General Almond had urged this so that logistical support could be centered there for the X Corps operations in northeast Korea. Not until 4 November did the minesweepers complete their work in the Wonsan inner harbor. Ships of the task force then stood into the harbor and pulled up alongside the dock.

Their dangerous work finished at Wonsan, the minesweepers still had to continue it in the Hungnam area. There they swept a channel 32 miles long and 1,600 yards wide, as well as an anchorage in the inner harbor. Actually, the minesweepers were busy as long as X Corps was in northeast Korea. Floating mines were common sights at this time off the east coast of Korea in the Wonsan-Hungnam area. One of the worst mine disasters occurred on 16 November, when an Army tug with a crane barge in tow struck a mine off the entrance to Wonsan Harbor and sank, with approximately thirty men lost out of forty. [24]

While the minesweeping was progress-

[23] Ibid., pts. V, IV, and I-D-1 to I-D-3; Karig, et al., Battle 
Report, The War in Korea, pp. 317-18; Lt. Comdr. R. N. Hartmann, USNR, 
"Minesweepers Go In First," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, vol. V, No. 2 
(October, 1951), pp. 19, 46. 

[24] Act Rpt, TF 90, Amphib Group I, Hungnam Redeployment, 9-25 Dec 50, 
Status of Sweep Operations, 7 Dec 50; 3d Inf Div Comd Rpt, CofS Jnl, 
entry at 1637 17 Nov 50. 


ing offshore, Lt. Col. William J. McCaffrey, Deputy Chief of Staff, X Corps, on 16 October brought the X Corps Advance Command Post to Wonsan by air, flying from Kimpo Airfield. He immediately established communications with the ROK I Corps and the commander of the minesweeping operations. McCaffrey's staff set to work at once with the ROK I Corps G-2 to learn who had laid the mines in the harbor and to find the warehouses where they had been stored. This was done successfully by the ROK I Corps intelligence section. The ROK's found a villager who had worked in the mine depot. After his fears were quieted, he guided a party to a depot north of Wonsan where the mines had been stored and assembled. He also provided information enabling the investigators to take into custody one of the sampan captains who had helped plant the mines. The information gained from these sources indicated that thirty Russians had been in Wonsan until 4 October assembling the mines and supervising laying the mine fields. Working almost entirely at night, from about thirty-two small boats, North Korean crews and their supervisors had laid approximately 3,000 mines. [25]

The North Koreans and their helpers had not confined laying mines at Wonsan to the waters in the harbor. The beaches were also heavily planted with land mines. This had been expected, and as soon as the ROK I Corps had secured Wonsan it cleared the beaches of mines.

An unusual incident growing out of this work occurred the night of 16 October. At the north end of the Wonsan Harbor ROK troops had stacked about 1,000 20-pound box mines they had just lifted from the beaches. A ROK lieutenant and five enlisted men decided to have a private celebration, and, moving off about 200 yards, the lieutenant fired into the stacked mines. The mines exploded, shattering panes of glass in the provincial capital building two miles away. Unfortunately, they also killed the six ROK's.

The X Corps Ashore

The ships of Amphibious Group One and the LST's of the tractor group sailed from Inch'on late in the afternoon of 16 October. At 0800 on the 17th, the main body of the Attack Force with the 1st Marine Division aboard departed Inch'on, moved into the Yellow Sea, and headed south to round the tip of Korea. From Inch'on it was 830 miles to Wonsan by the shortest sea route. [26]

After arriving off the objective area, the flotilla carrying the 1st Marine Division steamed slowly back and forth from 19 to 25 October in the Sea of Japan just outside the Wonsan channel. The restless marines called it "Operation Yo-yo." It was a great relief to everyone afloat when twenty-one transports and

[25] Act Rpt, JTF 7, I-D-1 to I-D-3; Karig, et al., Battle Report, The 
War in Korea, pp. 327-30; New York Times, October 21, 1950, dispatch 
from Hanson Baldwin on USS Missouri off Wonsan, 20 Oct 50; Ltr, Col 
William J. McCaffrey to Almond, 1 Dec 54, and forwarded by latter to 

[26] X Corps WD, Diary of CG, 17 Oct 50; Ibid., Notes of CofS X Corps, 
17-19 Oct 50; 1st Mar Div SAR, 8 Oct-13 Dec 50, vol. I, p. 20 and vol. 
II, an. C, p. 4; 2d Log Comd Rpt, Oct 50, G-4 Sec, pp. 3-6; 3d Log Comd 
Hist Rpt, Oct 50; Karig, et al., Battle Report, The War in Korea, pp. 


[Caption] LANDING CRAFT APPROACHING BEACH at Wonsan on 26 October.

fifteen LST's came into the harbor on 25 October and dropped anchor off Blue and Yellow Beaches. The X Corps began a quiet, administrative landing at 0730 on 26 October. At 1000 27 October the command post of the 1st Marine Division closed aboard the USS Mt. McKinley and opened in Wonsan. By the close of 28 October all combat elements of the division were ashore.

Meanwhile, the 7th Division had remained idly afloat at Pusan for ten days. Finally, on October it received orders to proceed to Iwon, 150 miles above Wonsan, and to unload there across the beaches.

Because the X Corps mission by now had been changed to advancing northward instead of westward from Wonsan, General Almond decided to land the 7th Division as close as possible to its axis of advance inland toward North Korea's northern border. This was to be the Pukch'ong-P'ungsan-Hyesanjin road to the Yalu. On receipt of the changed orders, the 17th Regimental Combat Team, which was to be first ashore, had to unload its unit equipment from its transports at Pusan and reload combat equipment on LST's, in order to be prepared to land on a possibly hostile beach. This done, seven LST's with the 17th Regimental Combat Team aboard left Pusan on 27 October and headed up the coast


for Iwon. The landing proved to be without danger for the minesweepers found no mines there, and the ROK Capital Division had captured and passed through the town several days earlier. The 17th Infantry landed over the beaches at Iwon unopposed on the morning of the 29th. Except for most of its tanks, the 7th Division completed unloading there on 9 November. [27]

[27] 7th Div WD. 17, 29 Oct 50 and G-3 Jnl, 26-28 Oct; Ibid., POR, 9 Nov 
50; X Corps WD, Summ, 29 Oct 50; Barr Notes, 26, 29 Oct and 9 Nov 50.