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Re: Questions on NKPA
> >>One of the books I've assigned in a course on the Korean War and the 1950s
>is Addison Terry's memoir _The Battle for Pusan_. A student has a rather
>long list of questions prompted by the book. <<
I'll answer what I can. And for the Battle for Pusan, you might have your
students look at two PDF files: HILL 303 & STRUCTURE OF A BATTLE NEAR
TAEGU, SEP 1950.
These can viewed/downloaded from:
> >> 1. How did the NKPA obtain battlefield intelligence in the face of
>American air superiority? More specifically, was there a significant number
>of communist sympathizers among the ROK army that leaked information to the
From a practical point, the majority of battlefield intelligence gathered
by the NKPA was from talking to local citizens and captured South
Korean/American soldiers. Very little came from communist sympathizers in
the ROK Army although there were a number of "moles." These moles were
generally ineffective because they lacked a means of transmitting
information without exposing themselves.
> >> 2. Were there political officers attached to NKPA combat units to
>enforce moral and aid in the conscription of South Koreans?<<
> >> 4. In the book, Terry refers to the 24th regiment as "Eleanor's
>Rifles," Is this by chance referring to Eleanor Roosevelt? If so, why? <<
Not sure but likely referred to Eleanor Roosevelt. The 24th Inf. Rgt. was
an "all black" unit.
> >> 5. Did the NKPA concentrate most of its offensive "punch" in the
>sectors that were predominantly defended by ROK troops? <<
Initially, yes, because that was who there to fight. However, once the
was established, the ROK Army was responsible for the Northern Front to the
Sea of Japan, while American troops defended the Naktong River (Western)
Front. The NKPA attacked on a preconceived battle plan that envisioned
sending the majority of their troops down the main Seoul-Pusan
highway. With the initial success of their advance, they followed this
plan until they were stopped at the Naktong by American troops (and their
own poor logistic preplanning -- outrunning their supply lines.) The
continued to follow the basic battle plan, thus wasting most of their
"offensive punch." It was not until August they began shifting their
attention and "punch" to the ROK Northern Front.
> >> 6. Did the NKPA have a significant number of self-propelled artillery
>such as Soviet SU-76s and Katyushas or did they have to rely on towed
Initially they depended mainly on Su-76's for front line artillery support
although they did have towed artillery.
> >> 7. After the Inchon landing, did the NKPA lose a large number of
>equipment or were they able to pull out a majority of there motorized
They lost most of their tanks, artillery and vehicles during their retreat.
> >> 8. Was there a significant number of communist partisan activity
>behind American lines in South Korea? <<
Yes. North Korea did a very good job of setting up intelligence and partisan
units before the war began. However, the partisans were of little help once
the front stabilized at the Pusan Perimeter. They became a factor again
NKPA retreat and were joined by thousands of NKPA soldiers who had been cut
> >> 9. How was the NKPA able to supply its front line troops in the face
>of American air superiority? <<
With great difficulty. In fact, their supply train failed badly once it
came under air
> >> 10. What role did armor play in NKPA offensives? Were tanks used
>primarily to reinforce the infantry or were they organized into independent
>formations and used to punch gaps in enemy lines in order for the infantry
>to advance? <<
They were organized into independent formations but their primary mission
was infantry support. Tanks initially worked well where they could be
used, punching holes in infantry lines, but quickly lost their
effectiveness because of lack of fuel and ammunition, plus the U.S.
deploying effective anti-tank weapons.
> >> 11. Were there large numbers of Russian "volunteers" fighting
> with the
No. The only Soviets (Russians) with the NKPA were advisors and
technicians. The "volunteers" were Soviet Air Force units flying from
"safe" airfields in China later in the war, and anti-aircraft units
defending targets in North Korea. None of these unit arrived until long
after the Pusan Perimeter was history.
Ed Evanhoe, PO Box 916, Antlers, OK, 74523-0916
Author: DARKMOON: Eighth Army Special Operations in the Korean War
Life member: Special Forces & Special Operations Associations
PGP Public Key Available on Request