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Korea - 50 years ago, Sept. 27-Oct. 3
Korea - 50 years ago, Sept. 27-Oct. 3
2ID plans new attack on Heartbreak Ridge
by Jim Caldwell
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2001) - As
the 2nd Infantry Division prepared for a coordinated
attack on Heartbreak Ridge in Korea 50 years ago, Gen.
Matthew Ridgway integrated three battalions that had
previously been all-Black.
Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 1951 -- By Sept. 27, both Maj. Gen.
Clovis Byers, X Corps commander, and Maj. Gen. Robert
Young, 2nd Infantry Division commander, agree with
Col. James Adams, commander of 2ID's 9th Infantry
Regiment, that the piecemeal attack against Heartbreak
Ridge is disastrous.
Young pulls back his forces to prepare for a new
assault. Two battalions of the 23rd IR stay on line
between Hills 894, 931 and 851.
Maj. Thomas Mellon, division S-3, puts the finishing
touches on the plan in late September. This time all
three regiments will attack in a coordinated and
concentrated assault. They will be supported by the
division's artillery, an armored attack by the 72nd
Tank Battalion up Mundung-ni Valley and by a
tank-infantry force in the Sat'ae-ri Valley.
Given the code name Touchdown, the operation will
begin Oct. 5.
Men of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion have to
improve a road through Mundung-ni Valley for the
medium Sherman tanks. While the engineers are given
covering fire, they do the work by hand. Using
bulldozers would draw artillery fire. Their work
includes exploding mines and booby-trapped obstacles.
While the work is going on, the regiments practice the
offense. The division is also resupplied and
replacements arrive. The new soldiers are assigned to
the 23rd IR, which takes 72 hours to train them.
The regiments move into attack positions in early
October. The 9th's objective is Hill 867. The 38th
will secure Mundung-ni Valley, stopping southwest of
Hill 894. The38th's 3rd Battalion is division reserve,
to be committed only by the commanding general. An
attached Netherlands battalion keeps the regiment at
full strength, however.
At Kaesong, the peace talks are still on hold,
although the subdelegates meet occasionally.
Sept. 28 -- The Defense Department says the communist
losses in Korea are nearly 1.325 million. North Korea
and China have suffered about the same number of
losses. Included in the figure are 146,951 North
Korean prisoners and 17,963 Chinese POWs.
Sept. 30 -- Gen. James Van Fleet tells the news media,
"As we open our autumn campaign the enemy potential
along he front line has been sharply reduced by our
hill-topping tactics." He says U.N. casualties since
driving the communists back into North Korea in May
are "comparatively few."
Oct. 1 -- Gen. Matthew Ridgway takes the first step in
ending segregated units in the Army. The all-Negro
24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division is
inactivated. The 14th Infantry Regiment replaces it.
Some of the members of the 24th IR are reassigned to
other combat units.
The all-Negro 3rd Battalion, 9th IR, 2nd ID ceases to
exist. Some of them are reassigned within the
division, and white soldiers are posted to the
The 64th Tank Battalion and 58th Armored Field
Artillery Battalion exchange Black and White soldiers
with other battalions.
These are not the first integrated units in the Army.
In fact, Black enlistments have exceeded the numbers
needed for segregated units, so they had been assigned
to previously all-White units. The clash between
Blacks and southern soldiers never occurred, nor did
the morale suffer in those combat units. Both
situations had been predicted if Black and White
soldiers were put side by side.
Other units will be integrated when they go into
reserve, officials announce.
Oct. 2 -- A record $57.2 billion appropriation for the
armed forces in fiscal 1952 is approved in a
Senate-House conference. It's still nearly a half
million dollars less than Truman asked for. The figure
also does not cover the war; that will be voted on in
a separate appropriation.
Oct. 3 -- The Defense Department reports that American
casualties up to Sept. 28 are 87,652, including 14,734
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