The US CIA Young-do Partisans - Part V
B. Blue Dragon Combats and Achievements.
The Blue Dragon partisans had bases at Pal-bong-san, Baik-san, Dae-duk-san, Cha-il-bong, Ssang-bong and rugged mountains in South Hamgyong. Due to intense enemy actions, the partisans had to move their bases frequently. They operation region included: Sinhung, Jang-jin (A Unit); Hamju, Jungpyong, Younghung (B Unit); Bukchung, Yiwon. Hongwon (C Unit).
On May 1, 1951, the 11 men of Unit B (sub Q) led by Kim Myong-ryol, all from Bukchung landed from sea near Bukchung. By Jluy of the year, the force strength increased to over 270 men, some of the reinforcements were airdropped while others landed from boats. The Blue Dragon partisans had achieved no spectacular victories as the White Tiger partisans had done, however, the Blue Dragon partisans were quite successful in intelligence collection, setting up anti-Communist groups, demolishing enemy installations, and recruiting. In particular, they succeeded in tying down a large number of enemy troops.
The Blue Dragon partisans were under constant pressure from the enemy and had to split up into small bands on the move with no possibility of establishing a major base camp. Furthermore, to make their situation more desperate was the fact that the region they were in had strong magnetic fields from iron deposits and they were unable to maintain radio contacts with the Young-do HQ.
Although they were more or less on their own, they fought valiantly the best they could. They had recruited many locals into their ranks and achieved a number of significant victories. However, most of these were unrecorded on the official radio logs due to the geology of the region they operated in.
The following tables summarize the Tiger unit's accomplishments by detachment as reported by radio to the Yong-do HQ.
Blue Dragon - Pluto Unit (1951)
Blue Dragon - Wi Jung-sa (1951)
Blue Dragon - Song Gun-ho (1951)
b. Kim Myong-ryol Unit Operations.
The Blue Dragon C unit of 11 men, commanded by Comrade Kim Myong-ryol, landed at Yum-bun-ri near Buk-chung at about 03:00 of May 1, 1951. American warships helped the sea-borne landing operation. The partisans safely reached Mt. Pal-bong and established a temporary base camp and made radio contacts with the Yong-do HQ.
In August, they began to operate north of their base camp. At Masan (1,708 m), the partisans split into two groups, with one group moving toward Ssang-bong and the other toward Dunk-bang (north of Ssang-bong). At the time, an enemy force of two companies was stationed at a location between Sae-bat-gol and Peak 1340. The partisans avoided any conflict with the enemy but set up spy networks in the area, after which they linked up at Ssang-bong on August 19th and set up a base camp there.
According to a radio report received at the Young-do HQ on August 30th, Kim Myong-ryul's band had 30 men (collected 19 men from other units) from Young-do and 66 local recruits. It was not until August 27th when the partisans began to be resupplied from the Young-do HQ. On the night of the 27th, 16 boxes of supplies were dropped from US planes but only 15 boxes were recovered. On the following day, the partisans went looking the missing box of supplies and ran into an ambush by the enemy. In the ensuring battle, the partisans killed 6 and wounded 29 of the enemy while losing 2 men dead and 3 men wounded. On the way back to the base, the partisans ran into the 18-men C unit who had been roaming the countryside lost.
On September 12th, the partisans raided the enemy camps at Young-wha-bong and Hi-sa-bong. All members, except a small group left to guard the base, had participated in the raid. They split into two raiding parties: one was led by Commander Kim and the other was led by Deputy Commander Kim Dong-jun. Kim Myong-ryul's raiding party attacked the enemy at Hi-sa-bong and killed 13 men with only 3 partisans wounded. Kim Dong-jun's raiding party attacked the enemy at Young-wha-bong and destroyed 3 military trucks but suffered 3 dead, 2 missing, and 5 wounded.
Fearing that the enemy might have discovered the base camp, Commander Kim decided to move the camp to a new site at Ko-san on September 14th. Hir force at this numbered: 16 core members and 94 local recruits. On the 22nd of the month, a reinforcement of 14 men arrived from the Young-do HQ.
On the 17th of the same month, the partisans received an intelligence report from an informer about two enemy cavalry companies stationed at Sang-ri. Commander Kim ordered the enemy attacked. Unexpectedly, the enemy forces, well-trained horse soldiers, fought back fiercely and capture alive Commander Kim Myong-ryul along with two of his men, wounded 14, 5 of them mortally. The enemy lost 82 men and 13 horses.
On the following day, Comrade Kim Dong-jun took over the command and Comrade Jun Chang-hyong became the deputy commander. The new commander organized a rescue party for Commnader Kim Myung-ryul and headed toward Bukchung, where the partisans split up and went underground looking for information on the whereabouts of Comrade Kim Myong-rul. They failed to find him but learned of an ammunition factory and of the fact that the enemy may have discovered the partisans' base. The moved to a new base at Peak 1481 on October 1st.
The Blue Dragon force strength as of October 1st is as follows:
On October 3rd, Commander Kim Dong-jun led his men on a raid on an ammo factory, based on the intelligence received on September 18th. The partisans destroyed 300 shells and many rifle rounds. During the raid, they ran into Comrade Han Gae-jong and another partisan belonging to the Blue Dragon HQ unit. They heard no word from the HQ unit due to radio communication problems and Comrade Han was the first contact they had with the HQ unit. Han told the partisans that the Blue Dragon commander Lee Yi-sup was wounded in a fight and was captured by the enemy, that the HQ unit had been unable to contact the Young-do HQ, and that the HQ unit's situation was serious. As of October 3rd. the HQ unit had only 6 core members and 50 local recruits. Commander Kim Dong-jun immediately contacted the Young-do HQ and informed them of the dire situation of the Blue Dragon HQ unit.
On December 5th, Commander Kim Dong-jun received a tip that Commander Kim Myong-ryul and some political prisoners were about to shipped from Bukchung to Hamhung. According to the tipster, an informant within the enemy police, the prisoners would be moved in a truck under a heavy guard. The convoy would move after sunset in order to avoid aerial or naval bombardments.
Comrade Kim Duk-jin organized a rescue party and set up an ambush. At about 19:30, the truck guarded by 12 police reached a hill and slowed down to navigate the narrow uphill road, when the partisans sprang up from their hiding places and attacked the police guard. The enemy police were either killed and ran away. Thus, Commander Kim Myong-ryul and 16 political prisoners were rescued dramatically.
However, the enemy regrouped and mounted a fierce counter-attack killing 1 core member and 6 local recruits, and capturing 2 core members and 3 local recruits. The captured recruits told the enemy where the base camp was located, and so the partisans had to move again to a new site at Bal-yi-bong (1,477 m), but soon the new site, too, was found by the enemy, which surrounded the peak with a force of 200 men. The partisans broke through the encirclement after killing 17 of the enemy, and moved to yet another new site at Masan (1,708 m), but the enemy followed the partisans there.
The partisans moved from Masan to their old base at Ssang-bong (1,986 m), and then to Kum-bi-ryung (1,997 m). An enemy force stationed at Ok-sin-dong discovered the base and mounted an attack, whereupon, the partisans moved to Young-ki-bong (1,272 m). The non-stop moving exacted a heavy toll on the partisans, who were forced into small groups and escaped to sundry locations such as Guh-du-bong, Masan, Ssang-bong, and Baiksan (2,379 m). The partisans at Namsuk and Guh-du-bong were attacked by an enemy force of 200 men and had to move to Cha-il-bong.
According a radio dispatch received at the Young-do HQ on January 8, 1952, when Kim Dong-jun's unit was based at Gum-bi-ryung, Comrade Kim Myong-ryul, after his dramatic rescue, did not rejoin his former command and opted to operate on his own with one radio operator. Comrade Kim Dong-jun had 16 core members (originally from Young-do). The partisan strength at this time was as follows:
The Young-do HQ had received an urgent message at 15:30 on February 3rd:
"At this very moment, we are surrounded and under an intense attack by 10,000-12,000 enemy troops. Since we have no map and so we cannot tell you where we are. The enemy has taken all of our bases and many of the core members have been captured. Commander Kim Myung-ryul's whereabouts is unknown. Under the present condition, it would be impossible for us to break through the encirclement. The enemy is everywhere and some of the captured partisans are showing the enemy our hideouts. If you do not hear from us for the next 30 days, you safely assume that we are all dead or captured. Goodbye!"
The Young-do HQ could not do much to help the Bukchung partisans abut to be wiped out because no one knew where the Pukchung partisans were. At 18:30 of February 11th, the Young-do HQ received another radio message which said: "Hello, this is the Bukchung unit. Our present location is NK 52.10, 39.4-447.6 (Suk-jang). We have suffered many casualties. The captured include Commander Kim Myong-ryul, Hah Ik-su, Kim Mong-ki and a few others."
Another radio dispatch received at of the 11th stated: "It is possible that Commander Kim Myong-yul could escape. 20 core members of Danchun and Punsan were captured by the enemy and they are leading the enemy to our locations. Another group of 12 captured core members are helping the enemy locate our radio transmitter. We want Pungsan bombed as soon as possible." The Young-do HQ arranged an immediate airdrop of supplies to the Sukjang base and bombing of Pungsan.
A radio dispatch received at 11:00 of the 22nd stated that the Pungsan bombing was a success in that Commander Kim Myong-ryul and 7 of the captured core members escaped during the bombing raid. Another radio report (#641) stated that the partisans at Baiksan (160 men) and at Ssang-bong (22 men) were not attacked and were still functioning. The Cha-il-bong unit (16 men), the Guh-du-bong unit (18 men), the Pal-bong unit (60 men) were severely mauled and were being regrouped.
On March 1st, the Bukchung partisans radioed the Young-do HQ requesting bomb raids on the enemy regiment and battalions stationed at the wood mill and other facilities at Doh-an-ri as well as the enemy battalion stationed at Sah-dong. The partisans uncovered two locomotives hidden at Hap-ji-won and destroyed them. .
On March 14th, the Bukchung partisans moved from Suk-jang to Hoe-sah-bong, where they linked up Commander Ji Yong-su and 11 survivors of the White Tiger HQ unit. Thus the Blue Dragon HQ unit swelled to 19 men.
C. Yellow Dragon Combats and Achievements.
(to be continued)