WITHDRAWAL TO THE PUSAN PERIMETER
Jun 25 to Aug 3, 1950
Compiled by Ed Evanhoe, November 2002
June 25, 1950
At approximately 4 a.m. (Korean Standard Time) on a rainy Sunday morning Democratic People's Republic of Korea Army (DPRK - North Korea) artillery and mortars open fire on Republic of Korea (ROK - South Korea) Army positions south of the 38th Parallel, the line then serving as the border between the two countries. The opening barrage is followed shortly by tank/infantry attacks at all points along the Parallel. At 11 a.m. North Korea announced a formal declaration of war and what is now known as "The Korean War" officially began. In this announcement North Korea claimed ROK forces on the Ongjin Peninsula attacked North Korea in the Haeju area (west) and their declaration of war was in response to this attack. This claim was bogus.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman was notified of the invasion and returned from his home in Independence, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., arriving in early afternoon. Meanwhile the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of North Korean forces to north of the 38th Parallel.
June 26, 1950
Uijongbu falls to North Korean forces. South Korean government - President Syngman Rhee and cabinet - leave Seoul for Taejon.
President Truman meets with State Department and Defense Department officials. He authorizes General Douglas MacArthur to:
(1) send ammunition and equipment to prevent the loss of Seoul,
(2) provide ships and aircraft to evacuate American citizens, plus Air Force fighters and Navy ships to protect the evacuation, and
(3) send a survey party to Korea to study the situation and determine how best to help the ROK government and military. Later in the day President Truman expanded his instructions by ordering General MacArthur to use Air Force aircraft and Navy ships against all North Korean military targets south the 38th Parallel. General MacArthur issues an "alert order" telling all combat units in the Far East to prepare for possible deployment to Korea.
June 27, 1950
U.S. Ambassador Muccio & staff leave Seoul for Suwon. ROK Army headquarters leave Seoul for Sihung-ni (about 5 miles south of Yongdungp'o) without informing their U.S. advisors with the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG.) KMAG follows ROKA Hq to Sihung-ni shortly thereafter. After discussions, most of ROKA Hq and KMAG return to Seoul a few hours later.
During the late evening, the U.N. Security council passes a resolution calling for member nations to give military aid to South Korea.
Meanwhile, in compliance with President Truman's order to provide help to South Korea and the use of U.S. air and naval forces south of the 38th Parallel, General MacArthur sent a fact finding group, headed by Brig. General Church, to Korea. This group left Japan at approximately 4 a.m. and arriving at Suwon in the early afternoon where they set up a temporary headquarters.
A U.S. Air Force F-82 shoots down a North Korean Yak fighter for the first U.S. air victory of the war. Two more North Korean aircraft are shot down a few minutes later in this same battle.
June 28, 1950
ROKA engineers blow the Han River Bridge at approximately 2:15 a.m. trapping the bulk of 3 ROKA divisions fighting on the outskirts, plus ROKA Hq and KMAG personnel still in Seoul. Somewhere between 500 and 800 people - civilian & military- are killed in the explosion. All trapped KMAG were able to escape across the Han River later in the day via still-operating ferries, arriving in Suwon late that afternoon, where KMAG senior personnel briefed Gen. Church.
North Korean force entered Seoul in the early afternoon and street fighting ensued but by midnight Seoul was in North Korean hands.
June 29, 1950
Detachment "X," 33 officers and men from the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, arrive at Suwon and set up their weapons. During the day they engage 4 enemy planes, shooting down one and damaging another. These are the first American ground troops into Korea and theirs are the first shots fired by U.S. Army personnel arriving from Japan.
Gen. MacArthur flies to Suwon and confers with General Church and KMAG staff, then returns to Japan where he sends a message to the Joint Chiefs recommending introducing U.S. ground forces into battle. President Truman receives and approves the recommendation.
USS Juneau shells North Korean positions in the Samch'ok-Kangnung area (east coast.)
North Korean troops cross the Han River in the Kimpo area and take the air field.
June 30, 1950
Gen. MacArthur receives permission to employ U.S. ground support forces and to carry the war into North Korea and the waters offshore but to stay well clear of the Manchurian and Soviet borders. Later in the day he receives permission to deploy one (1) Regimental Combat Team (RCT) to Korea to establish a defense line in Pusan area to assure retention of the port. A few hours after this the order was expanded to 2 combat divisions and with permission to employ these forces against North Korean forces in the Suwon area. The United States was now fully committed to the Korean War.
General Church goes to Osan (12 miles south of Suwon so he can communicate with Far East Command Headquarters via telephone. He is told that if Suwon Air Field can be held, 2 U.S. infantry battalions will be flown in the next day. While he is in Osan, ADSCOM personnel panic in the belief they about to be surrounded, destroy their documents and radios, then move to Suwon Air Field to set up a defense perimeter. Once there, they decide to retreat south to Taejon and order AAA personnel to accompany them. General Church meets the retreating Americans on the road and orders them back to Suwon but finding all communications equipment destroyed, orders all to fall back to Taejon.
In Japan, MacArthur orders the 24th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. William F. Dean commanding, to deploy to Korea. At approximately 10:30 PM the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Division - less "A"& "D" companies, was ordered to proceed to Itazuke Air Base fro immediate deployment to Korea, thus forming the infantry element of what would become Task Force Smith (TFS.)
July 1, 1950
ADSCOM establishes a headquarters at Taejon. Task Force Smith ("B" & "C" Companies, ½ 1st Battalion Headquarters Company, ½ a communications platoon, a composite platoon of 75mm recoilless rifle with of 4 guns, and 4 4.2" mortars - 406 infantry total) troops destined to be flown into Suwon are flown into Pusan instead and were immediately put on a train for Taejon. Remainder of 24th Division to follow. Gen. Dean is also named to command all U.S. Army Forces in Korea (USAFIK.)
July 2, 1950
TFS officers and men arrive in Taejon at approximately 8 a.m. That evening TFS is ordered north to the towns of P'yongtaek and Ansong, arriving after dark. C Company dug in at P'yongtaek and B Company at Ansong.
USS Juneau and 2 British ships engage 4 NK torpedo boats escorting 10 small wooden freighters. 2 torpedo boats and 7 freighters destroyed.
34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, arrives at Pusan
July 3, 1950
General Dean arrives at Taejon and takes command of USAFIK.
Aircraft from the USS Valley Forge and HMS Triumph attack air fields in the P'yongyang-Chinnamp'o west coast area.
A Royal Australian Air Force F-51 mistakenly attacks an ammunition train stopped at the P'yongtaek Railroad station, causing it to explode. Railroad station was destroyed.
Two USAF Tactical Air Control Parties (TAC) arrive at Taejon.
North Korean forces take Inch'on and Yongdungp'o.
July 4, 1950
Task Force Smith consolidated at P'yongtaek and was joined by part of the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion. This artillery contingent consisted of ½ of Headquarters and Service Batteries and all of "A" Battery with 6 - 105-mm howitzers, a total of 108 men and officers. Task Force Smith ordered take up positions north of Osan.
2nd and 3rd Battalions, plus regimental support troops, 21st Infantry Regiment arrive at Pusan.
Meanwhile Gen. MacArthur requested from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, a regimental combat team from the 82nd Airborne Division plus a Marine division be sent immediately to Korea.
July 5, 1950
Approximately 3 a.m. Task Force Smith reached the selected defense positions approximately 2-1/2 miles north of Osan and began digging in. The 52nd Field Artillery guns dug in a mile and half or so to the south of TFS positions with one gun dug in a half mile to TFS's rear. This one gun had all the High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds the artillery had brought with them - 7 rounds.
A little after 7 a.m. a North Korean tank column, with a few infantry riding, was spotted coming the road. 8:16 a.m. the 52nd Field fired the first artillery rounds by an American unit of the Korean War at the advancing T-34 tanks. Artillery fire was accurate but ineffective against the tanks as was fire from the 75mm recoilless rifles and 2.36" Bazookas fired at the tanks as they continued without stopping past Task Force Smith defenses and continued south. It did, however, kill or wound most of the infantry on the tanks. Two T-34 tanks were disabled but were pushed off the road. In total, 33 T-34 tanks went through Task Force Smith infantry positions by 9 a.m and through the 52nd artillery positions by 10:15 a.m and continued on toward Osan.
Meanwhile a relative calm settled over TFS infantry positions. At approximately 10 a.m. a column of trunks and infantry could be seen coming down the road. Led by three tanks, this column was several miles long and arriving at point approximately 1000 yards north of TFS infantry positions. At approximately 11 a.m., TFS mortars and .50 caliber machineguns opened fire on the column. The fire was effective. Trucks blew up and men were blown into the air. Everyone who could took cover in ditches and rice paddies but the three T-34 tanks continued to advance and took TFS infantry positions under fire. Meanwhile North Korean infantry quickly reorganized and began a double envelopment of TFS's flanks. By 2:30 p.m. North Korean units were on Task Force Smith's flanks while a huge North Korean reserve waited on the road so the order to pull out and fall back was given. American forces in Korea had suffered their first defeat. It was a costly one for Task Force Smith. It lost approximately 150 infantrymen and officers killed, wounded or missing and 15 artillerymen and officers.
While the TFS fight was going on north of Osan, the 24th Division's 34th Infantry Regiment arrived at Taejon and was deployed north to set up defenses at P'yongtaek and Ansong with regimental headquarters at Songhwan-ni, a town 6 miles south of P'yongtaek on the main highway and rail line. The 1st Battalion established positions on both sides of the main highway and rail line north of P'yongtaek while the 3rd Battalion was ordered to Ansong.
USAF TAC parties deployed from Taejon to the 34th Infantry Regiment, one team going to the 1st Battalion at P'yongtaek, the other to the 3rd Battalion.
July 6, 1950
1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, blow the highway and railroad bridges north of their positions at approximately 3 a.m. Enemy tanks and infantry arrive at the blown bridge at dawn. The destroyed bridge stops the tanks but North Korean infantry wade the river both upstream and downstream. 1st Battalion opens fire on the tanks/infantry but without much success. At this point the North Korean infantry begin a double-envelopment and the 1st Battalion begins withdrawing to prevent encirclement and retreats south to Ch'onan where they take up new positions along with "A" & "D" Companies of the just arrived 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, two miles south of the city. Meanwhile the 3rd Battalion arrives from Ansong and takes up positions at Ch'onan.
July 7, 1950
3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry was ordered north up the road from Ch'onan and to advance until it contacted the enemy, then fight a delaying action while withdrawing back to its position at Ch'onan. "L" Company, with the regimental I&R Platoon at point, advanced to a point approximately 5 miles north of Ch'onan with the rest of the battalion following. A general retreat began but instead of the 3rd Battalion taking up its positions 2 miles north of Ch'onan, it continued south into the city, taking up positions at the north edge and railroad station at the west edge of the town. Meanwhile a battery of the 63rd Field Artillery Battalion arrived at Ch'onan to support the 34th Infantry.
Remainder of the 21st Infantry Regiment arrives at Taejon and ordered to continue on to Choch'iwon and support the 34th Infantry. 3rd takes up positions blocking the highway six miles northwest of Choch'iwon while "A" & "D" Companies, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry are ordered to move south on the Ch'onan-Choch'iwon road and take up advance blocking positions at the town of Chonui.
The UN Security Council passes its third resolution asking the United States to name the commander for UN Forces in Korea.
July 8, 1950
Shortly before daybreak North Korean T-34 tanks entered Ch'onan from the east as did infantry units. The tanks roamed back and forth shooting at every American vehicle and suspected American position while North Korean infantry began systematically to attack from the east and other North Korean infantry moved south of the town and cutting the escape route for the 3rd Battalion. By afternoon Ch'onan was in North Korean hands and the 3rd Battalion. Approximately 175 men and officers from the 3rd Battalion were able to escape from the town.
When notified of the loss of Ch'onan, Gen. Dean ordered what was left of the 34th Infantry Regiment to fight a delaying action as it moved south down the road leading to the Kum River and ordered the 21st Regt to delay the North Koreans north of Choch'iwon at least 4 days. He augmented the 21st Inf with one battery of 155mm howitzers from the 11th Field Artillery Battalion plus "A" Company, 78th Heavy Tank Battalion (misnomer since the battalion was equipped with M-24 light tanks, not M4E8 medium tanks.) At the same time the 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion was ordered to prepare roadblocks along the 34th Infantry's withdrawal route at Kongju and to prepare all bridges over the Kum River for demolition.
President Truman names Gen. Douglas MacArthur as Commanding General of United nations Military Forces and directs him to use the United Nations Flag, concurrently with the flags of the various nations participating, in the course of operations against North Korean Forces.
July 9, 1950
By dawn "A" & "D" Companies, 1st Battalion, 21st Inf, were in forward blocking positions on a low ridge just southeast of Chonui while the 3rd Battalion, 21st Inf, manned stronger defense position a mile to the south. A USAF FAC team was with the forward blocking force as well artillery observers from the 11th FA Battalion.. In mid-afternoon 11 T-34 tanks, escorted by 200-300 infantry appeared on the road north of Chonui. The AF FAC team called in air strikes while the artillery FO called in artillery. By 4:30 p.m. five of the eleven tanks were burning and North Korean infantry retreated under 4.2 mortar and artillery fire. A short time later another air strike hit approximately 200 NK vehicles on the Choch'iwon-Chonui road destroying approximately 100. After dark, NK patrols entered Chonui and began probing 1st Battalion blocking positions but were driven off with mortar and artillery fire. This engagement set the village of Chonui on fire, lighting up the night.
July 10, 1950
Fog shrouded the ground when dawn broke at Chonui and with it came North Korean soldiers. Men of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry could hear North Koreans on the northwest side of the road. A few minutes later firing began coming from that direction, most in the direction of the platoon set up on small hill. The platoon reported the firing was coming from a higher hill two or three hundred yards to their northwest. Mortars from the 1st Battalion. began firing pre-registered salvos at the area between the two hills. North Korean forces circled around the American held hill and attacked the mortars to the rear. The mortar and 75mm recoilless rifle sections were overrun at approximately 7:15 a.m. About the same time, North Korean tanks came out of Chonui, passed through American lines and down the road towards Choch'iwon. The tanks could be heard but not seen because of the fog as they moved south. The fog lifted at about 8 a.m. and at approximately 9 a.m. North Korean infantry moved out of Chonui and began a frontal attack on 1st Battalion positions but were beaten off. A second attack developed at approximately 11 a.m. Initially the 1st Battalion held but soon U.S. artillery began impacting on the 1st Battalion. Attempts to stop the friendly fire failed. North Korean forces pressed their attack and by approximately noon the 1st Battalion was partially overrun so the 1st Battalion withdrew back to Choch'iwon. Later that afternoon the 3rd Battalion, 21st Inf. retook former 1st Battalion positions. While advancing for the attack, the 3rd Battalion found six U.S. soldiers lying dead in a ditch, hands tied behind their backs and killed by a single shot to the head. The 3rd Battalion stayed in former 1st Battalion positions until about midnight when they withdrew to its old positions about six miles north of Choch'iwon..
At approximately 10 a.m., the first tank-to-tank battle of the Korean War took place south of 1st Battalion positions and Choch'iwon when 4 U.S. M-24 light tanks engaged the same North Korean tanks which had gone through 1st Battalion lines earlier in the day. U.S. tanks performed poorly, losing two while the North Korean's lost none. Later that afternoon the second tank-to-tank battle took place in the same area. This time U.S. M-24's lost none and destroyed two T-34 tanks.
Meanwhile Task Force Smith, reequipping in Taejon, had received 205 replacements and was ordered to rejoin the 21st Infantry Regt. at Choch'iwon. About the same time, General MacArthur was named Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, in addition to being Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP,) Commander in Chief, Far East (CINCFE,) and Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces, Far East.
The 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division lands at Pusan and is sent north to Uisong, 25 miles north of Taegu. 25th division headquarters is established at Yongch'on, a point half way between P'ohang-dong on the Sea of Japan and Taegu.
Meanwhile, Gen. MacArthur received word the 2nd Infantry Division had been ordered to deploy to Korea.
July 11, 1950
Task Force Smith's "B" & "C" companies rejoined the 1st Battalion at Choch'iwon shortly before dawn. The 1st Battalion then moved to positions about 2 miles north of Choch'iwon. Meanwhile the 21st 's 3rd Battalion was already engaged with North Korean tanks and infantry. A double-envelopment by North Korean troops soon had the battalion surrounded and by noon the 3rd Battalion was completely overrun while individuals and small groups tried to make their south to safety. Only 322 out 667 made it.
To west on the Ch'onan-Taejon highway the 1st Battalion, 34th , fought a series of small delaying actions as it withdrew, crossing to the south bank of the Kum river that afternoon.
July 12, 1950
At dawn North Korean forces began probing the 1st Battalion, 21st, at the same time executing a double envelopment of their positions two miles north of Choch'iwon. By noon the 1st Battalion was falling back so the 21st was ordered to withdraw and take up new positions on the south bank of the Kum River at Taep'yong-ni. The withdrawal was completed that afternoon.
The 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division arrive at Pusan. Meanwhile two battalions, 27th Infantry is moved to Andong while one battalion is sent to P'ohang to provide security for Yonil Air Field (K-3) 5 miles to south of P'ohang on the east coast. Meanwhile, two battalions from the 29th Infantry Regiment on Okinawa were ordered to Korea.
July 13, 1950
By the morning of 13 July, the 24th Division was in defensive positions along the south bank of the Kum River on at Taejon and Taep'yong-ni. As soon as the last troops were south of the river engineers blew all road and railroad bridges crossing the Kum while the 24th Reconnaissance Company fanned out along the Kum's south bank, destroying all ferries and flat-bottomed boats. The front now extended from Taejon, northeast to Ch'ongju, and across the Taebaek Mountains P'yonghae-ri on the east coast. In the Taejon-Kongju area the 24th Division was deployed with the 24th Reconnaissance Company watching principle river crossings west of Kongju, the 34th Infantry at Kongju, the newly arrived 19th Infantry Regiment at Taejon, and the badly mauled 21st Infantry Regiment in blocking position southeast of Taejon. The 21st was down to a total strength of approximately 1100 men, having 1,433 men missing-in-action during the first week of fighting. At Kongju the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment was on the high ground around Kongju astride the Kongju-Nonsan road. On the line from left to right were "L." "I," and "K" Companies, with the heavy mortars of "M" (Heavy Weapons) Company behind them.
Also on the 13th, 8th Army Headquarters, under command of Lt. Gen. Walton Walker, is established at Taegu. At the same time ROK Army Headquarters is moved to Taegu.
July 14, 1950
As dawn broke on July 14th 3rd Battalion, 34th, occupied the same positions as the day before. At approximately 6 a.m. enemy tanks on the north bank of the Kum River opened fire on "I" Company positions but did little damage. A few minutes later an "L" Company outpost on the far left flank reported that two barges were ferrying North Korean Troops across the Kum two miles to their west. An estimated 500 North Korean troops crossed by 9:30 a.m. By then "L" Company was under increasingly accurate mortar and artillery fire so its commander ordered the company to withdraw, an action which lead the company commander being relieved. Instead of attacking the 3rd Battalion, the North Koreans continued south intent on enveloping the infantry positions. Three miles south of the river, the 63rd Field Artillery Battalion set up along a secondary road near the village of Samyo. At about 1:30 p.m. an outpost reported North Korean troops approaching and the outpost soon overrun. The North Koreans pressed their attack and over the next two hours the entire 63rd Field Artillery Battalion was overrun, losing all of their 105mm howitzers, most of its vehicles and 136 men and officers. "I" Company, 3rd Battalion, 34th, did not learn that "L" Company had withdrawn and enemy troops were holding the roads to its rear until late in the afternoon. At this point the "I" Company Commander began a withdrawal over the mountains to its east and southeast of Kongju, rejoining the regiment at its new positions east of Nonsan.
Meanwhile the 19th Infantry Regiment dug in on the south bank of the Kum River while the 21st reorganized at Taejon. The 19th Infantry front stretched from 3 miles east of Kongju, to Taep'yong-ni and to Sinch'on, a straight line distance of 15 miles and approximately 30 miles along the Kum River because of the river's twists and turns. Its main defense position was astride the main Seoul-Pusan highway where it crossed the Kum at Taep'yong-ni. In early afternoon, and despite air attacks, North Korean tanks appeared. dug in across the Kum at Taep'yong-ni and began firing on 19th Infantry positions. After dark small North Korean patrols probed 19th positions but no serious engagements took place. Meanwhile on the North Korean side of Kum across from Taep'yong-ni the build-up of armor and men continued.
President Syngman Rhee places all ROK military forces under UN command.
Meanwhile, ROK forces on the east coast withdrew to new positions between Yonghae and Yongdok, a fishing port some 20 miles north of the all important port of P'ohang-dong and the Yonil air field.
July 15, 1950
At approximately 6 a.m. the 1100 or so men remaining of 21st left their assembly area at Taejon for Okch'on (10 miles east of Taejon) on the Seoul-Pusan highway. Headquarters set up at Okch'on while the 1st Battalion set up positions astride the main highway about half way between Okch'on and Taejon. Meanwhile at Taep'yong-ni the 19th Infantry things were relatively quiet until just before dusk when small groups of North Koreans began wading across the Kum at various locations, but without success.
July 16, 1950
At 3 a.m. the North Koreans mounted a full-scale, coordinated attack against the 19th, opening the attack with a massive artillery and mortar barrage while infantry waded across the Kum at several points and by 4 a.m. had succeeded in establishing several bridgeheads. By dawn well over a thousand North Koreans were on the south bank of the Kum. Once across they began their standard double-envelopment and by 10 a.m. had established a roadblock on the Taep'yong-ni - Taejon road. Over the next several hours 19th Infantry positions were overrun one by one and American troops began retreating, leaving their dead and seriously wounded behind. With the loss of Taep'yong-ni by the 19th Infantry, the 34th Infantry was ordered to pull back from Nonsan to Taejon and establish new defense positions approximately 3 miles north and west of the city.
July 17, 1950
34th Infantry establishes a defense line north and east of Taejon. Originally it was planned both the 19th and 34th would defend this line but the 21st was combat-ineffective so the job fell to the 34th.
July 18, 1950
Lead elements of the U.S. 5th and 8th Cavalry Regiments, 1st Cavalry Division (dismounted) land at P'ohang-dong.
Gen. Dean orders the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry back to Taejon along with the "B" Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion and 24th Reconnaissance Company.
July 19, 1950
5th Cavalry Regiment departs P'ohang-dong for Taejon. Advance party of the 1st Cavalry Division, including Division Tank Company, arrive at Yongdong.
North Korean YAK aircraft bomb and strafe the railroad bridge two miles northwest of Okch'on in the early morning. Later that afternoon, 2 YAK's were shot down by "A" Battery, 26th Antiaircraft Battalion. 24th Reconnaissance Company arrives at Taejon and moves southwest on the Nonsan Road. At approximately 10 a.m. some three miles west of the Kapch'on River, its advance platoon ran into a North Korean roadblock and withdrew back across the Kapch'on where it joined "L" Company, 21st Infantry. By noon the position was under heavy North Korean attack and by 1 p.m. was being overrun. The 2nd Battalion, 21st arrives at Taejon from Yongdong and is sent on to support "L" Company and 24th Reconnaissance Company. At approximately 1 p.m. the 2nd Battalion, 21st receives word the North Koreans have broken through "L" Company positions and is ordered to retake "L" Company's former positions on the south bank of the Kapch'on River.
Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion, 34th is under heavy attack in the Yusong area on the main Seoul-Pusan highway. This is northwest of Taejon. The 1st Battalion was able to hold on to most of its forward positions during the day. However, the 34th Infantry commander withdrew his headquarters and vehicles to Taejon and moved the artillery supporting his regiment to the south edge of the city.
About mile to the west of the 1st Battalion, 34th, "F" Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, came under heavy North Korean attack, which they successfully repelled. However, after dark both "F" Company, 19th and 1st Battalion, 34th could hear North Korean troops and tanks moving south via a mile-wide gap between "F" Company, 19th and the 1st Battalion, 34th. This was reported to their respective regimental headquarters.
July 20, 1950
A little after midnight, 34th Infantry Headquarters received word North Korean tanks and infantry were six miles south of Taejon on the Kumsan road. A patrol from the 24th Reconnaissance Company was ordered south to check this report out. They did not return so at approximately 3 a.m a platoon-sized patrol from the 24th Reconnaissance Company went to find out what had happened to the first patrol. They ran into a strong roadblock where the found the bodies of the first patrol and their destroyed jeeps.
A major North Korean tank/infantry attack developed in the 1st Battalion, 34th area shortly after 3 a.m. and by 4 a.m. most positions had been overrun. Survivors began withdrawing individually or in small groups. The largest group, a mixed bag of approximately 200 1st Battalion headquarters and mortar company personnel, moved south and away from the sound of tank fire.
When telephone communication was lost with the 1st Battalion, a wire team from 34th Headquarters was sent to repair the line. They returned about 5 a.m. and reported North Korean tanks and infantry on the road a mile to the west of Taejon. Not believing the report, the regimental S-3 went to see for himself. He ran into a T-34 tank at road junction a half mile west of Taejon. His jeep was destroyed but he escaped. A few minutes later the T-34 was destroyed by a Bazooka team from the 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, using the newly arrive 3.5 Bazooka. This was the first known use of this weapon in combat. Within the next hour two more T-34 tanks had been knocked out by this weapon.
Shortly after daybreak, the 3rd Battalion, 34th was ordered to attack in the direction the 1st Battalion. This attack was supposed to close the mile-wide gap between the 1st Battalion, 34th and the 2nd Battalion, 19th. However, they ran into a strong mixed tank/infantry force about an quarter mile west where the T-34 tank had been destroyed and were forced to withdraw back to their previous positions and by noon surviving units and men from the 19th and 34th Infantry Regiments were withdrawing south into the mountains. The roads into Taejon were open to the North Koreans.
Meanwhile, shortly after dawn T-34 tanks and small groups of North Korean infantry began entering the outskirts of Taejon. At the same time North Korean snipers began infiltrating and taking up positions throughout the city. The first knowledge of these was when two T-34 tanks entered the compound being used by Service Company, 34th Infantry and opened fire. This killed several men, destroyed several vehicles and set an ammunition truck on fire, moved away looking for other targets. However, these two T-34 tanks and six others were destroyed by American 3.5" Bazooka teams by 11 a.m. At about 2 p.m. Gen. Dean ordered a withdrawal from the city using the Taejon-Okch'on road and then to Yongdong. However, by this time North Korean infantry was already moving toward this road and some were already astride it. As various units from the 24th Division withdrew, they were soon stopped by enemy roadblocks and forced to abandon their vehicles and try to reach safety via the mountains. Some did, many did not. The 24th Division Commander, Gen. Dean, was one of those who did not and was captured some days later while evading. At dark, for all intents Taejon was in North Korean hands. However, the 21st Infantry Regiment still held its positions at Okch'on as the North Koreans had concentrated on Taejon and left the Okch'on area for later. The 21st was given permission to withdraw the next morning and to fight delaying actions as it did.
8th Cavalry Regiment departs P'ohang-dong for Yongdong on the Taejon-Taegu road.
In the central sector, troops from the U.S. 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division, engage North Korean forces at Yech'on. They enter the town but withdraw that evening.
July 21, 1950
At daybreak, engineers blew railroad and highway tunnels just north of Okch'on, then blow the last bridge across the Kum River east of Okch'on. The 21st Infantry Regiment and 52nd Field Artillery Battalion make a successful withdrawal from the Okch'on positions to new positions 4 miles northwest of Yongdong. Throughout that day and the next individuals, large and small groups of made their way across the mountains from the Taejon area to Yongdong.
3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry retake Yech'on. Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Division take up positions northwest of Hamch'ang on the Yechon-Sangju road. This is in the central sector, north of Taegu.
July 22, 1950
North Koreans attack "F" Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Infantry Division positions at dawn. ROK Army forces on both sides of the American unit withdrew without informing the Americans who were soon taking fire from both flanks forcing them to withdraw with heavy casualties. At the same time the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry is advancing up a road 20 miles northwest of Sangju when it ran into a North Korean roadblock and withdrew.
8th Cavalry Regiment replaces the 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division at Yongdong and the 1st Cavalry Division assumes responsibility for defending the Taejon-Taegu corridor. The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, took up positions on the Taejon road northwest of Yongdong and the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry in positions southwest of Yongdong. The 5th Cavalry Regiment took up positions east of Yongdong. At this time each Regiment, like earlier U.S. divisions deployed to Korea, consisted of only two battalions.
July 23, 1950
The first engagement of the battle for Yondong began around dawn when a North Korean mounted an attack against 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment positions northwest of Yongdong. Three T-34 tanks were destroyed. Another attack, coordinated with an attack on 2nd Battalion positions took place a couple of hours later. This was repulsed but during the day, the North Koreans attacked frontally 4 times. While these attacks tied down the two American battalions, a North Korean battalion infiltrated around 2nd Battalion positions and established a strong road block a mile an half to its rear.
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry withdraw to new positions 5 miles north of Sangju. Meanwhile the 27th Infantry relieves ROK troops in around the Hwanggan area. Once there the 1st Battalion, 27th moved up the road toward Poun taking up positions at Sangyong-ni, a village a short distance south of Poun. Thus the U.S. 25th Infantry Division now held the sector from the Seoul-Pusan highway to Sangju. and the ROK Army troops hold the front from northeast of Sangju, to Andong, to the east coast.
Shortly after dark, the 1st Battalion, 27th sent a 30-man patrol toward Poun. Near the town the patrol saw a large column of North Korean troops approaching and set up an ambush. Once the lead unit was in the killzone, the small patrol opened up with every weapon, decimating the lead and following North Korean units. The rest of the North Korean column drew back to prepare for counterattack. While they did, the small patrol fell back to 1st Battalion lines. It lost six men missing in this action.
July 24, 1950
The enemy unit ambushed the night before attacked 1st Battalion, 27th positions at approximately 6:30 a.m. A heavy fog covered the ground. The fog allowed the North Koreans to approach very close before being discovered. The fight see-sawed back and forth over the 1st Battalion's high ground positions all day. Several times T-34s appeared, only to be knocked out by 3.5" Bazookas or airstrikes. Six tanks were destroyed and two escaped. Expecting the North Koreans to encircle the battalion, when dark fell, the 1st Battalion quietly withdrew from its positions through 2nd Battalion positions immediately behind it.
At Yongdong a series of attacks by U.S. tanks starting around dawn against the enemy roadblock behind the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry failed to dislodge the North Koreans. The 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and the 16th Reconnaissance Company is sent to try and break the roadblock. Meanwhile, North Korean forces kept up frontal attacks on the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry. These were beaten back with the help of 105mm, quad-fifty and 37mm Antiaircraft afire from supporting artillery units. As the day before, the North Korean frontal attacks were diversions to allow several platoon-sized units infiltrate around 1st Battalion positions. Some infiltrators came down the main road, dressed as civilian refugees.
24th Infantry Regiment relieves the 1st ROK Division in the Sangju area.
The 29th Infantry Regiment arrives at Pusan from Okinawa. It consists of two battalions but these units are made up mostly of newly arrived recruits while most of the NCO's and officers are also new to the unit. They have never trained together, nor have most fired and zeroed their weapons. Their new .50 caliber machine-guns are still in cosmoline and their mortars have never been test fired. Despite being promised time to draw equipment and to fire and zero weapons, the 29th is ordered to proceed immediately to Chinju where it will be attached to the 19th Infantry, 24th Division.
July 25, 1950
The 24th Infantry Division receives orders to defend Chinju in far south-central South Korea to block a North Korean flanking movement. That night the 29th Infantry, now in Chinju, receives orders to seize Hadong, a town road junction 35 miles southwest of Chinju. At dusk the 3rd Battalion, 29th begins a road march toward Hadong.
At Sangyong-ni the North Koreans evidently did not realize the 1st Battalion, 27th had pulled back during the night because as dawn broke, it revealed a large enemy force in the open behind the 1st Battalion's former position and directly under the guns of the 2nd Battalion and supporting artillery and quad-fifties. A turkey-shoot took place as Americans on the high ground pounded the North Koreans below with rifle, automatic weapons, mortar and artillery fire. Only a few survivors of two North Korean battalions escaped. Despite this setback, the North Korean division began attacking the 2nd Battalion at about 10 a.m. By mid-afternoon small North Korean units could be seen making their way around the battalion's and regiment's flanks so a withdrawal to new position on high ground near Hwanggan was ordered. This began after dark and the 27th disengaged successfully.
By morning all positions of 1st Cavalry Division units in the Yongdong area were under fire from North Korean troops who had infiltrated around through the positions so Gen. Gay ordered Yongdong abandoned. The 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry made successful withdrawal from its positions northwest of the town but lost their heavy mortars during the withdrawal.
To the southwest the 2nd battalion and supporting units were not so lucky. A concentrated artillery/mortar barrage briefly opened the roadblock south of the 2nd Battalion. Most of the battalion escaped before the North Korean slammed the door shut again, trapping "F" Company, the 16th Reconnaissance Company and the 1st platoon, "A" Company, 71st Tank Battalion who were fighting rearguard. Only 4 of the 11 tanks broke through North Korean positions. The other seven tanks were abandoned and the entire group took to the mountains, reaching safety two days later.
On the other side of the enemy roadblock, the 5th Cavalry Regiment attempted to keep the road block open but failed. During this fight, "F" Company tried to envelope the roadblock but ran into an ambush instead and was badly mauled. Only 26 men from the company returned.
Meanwhile, Regimental Headquarters, 7th Cavalry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion arrived and took up a position west of Kumch'on astride the Taejon-Taegu road and railroad near a small village named No Gun Ri (Nog'un-ri.) Throughout the evening occasional rifle shots and short bursts of machine-gun fire could be heard as nervous, green troops fired at sounds or perceived enemy targets although the nearest North Korean troops were miles away. The uneasiness increased as exaggerated rumors of enemy gains in the 27th Regiment's sector spread through the newly arrived unit.
July 26, 1950
Around 12:15 a.m. the 7th Cavalry received an erroneous report of a North Korean breakthrough in the 27th 's sector and 7th Cavalry Headquarters ordered an immediate withdrawal. At this point the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, scattered in panic, leaving behind the battalion switchboard, 14 machine-guns, 9 radios, 120 M1 rifles, 26 carbines, 7 BAR's, and 6 60mm mortars, all recovered after daylight when a few NCO's and truck divers returned to pick up the abandoned equipment. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry DID NOT return to its former positions. By evening, 119 men from the 2nd Battalion were still missing.
While the 7th Cavalry was trying to reassemble other elements of the 1st Cavalry Division held their positions at Yongdong. The North Koreans mounted small probing attacks to tied these elements down while sending a regiment in a sweeping flanking movement through Chirye and thence toward Kumch'on. That night North Koreans mounted a major attack against 1st Cavalry elements at Yongdong by DRIVING SEVERAL HUNDRED REFUGEES AHEAD OF THEM THROUGH AMERICAN MINES FIELDS. This attack was repulsed.
By dawn the 27th Regiment, 25th Div, had successfully withdrawn to its new positions near Hwanggan. About midmorning the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, took up a position on the 27th 's right flank but a large gap existed between the 27th and the 7th Cavalry Regiment on the 27th 's left flank.
34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, is ordered from its positions in the Kunwi-Uisong area north of Taegu to Koch'ang in far south-central Korea. At the same time, division headquarters moves to Hyopch'on, a town 12 air miles west of the Naktong River, 25 miles north of Chinju.
Much farther to the south, around daybreak a truckload of wounded ROK soldiers met the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, now attached to the 24th Division's 19th Infantry, and informed them the North Koreans now held Hadong. Because of no radio communication with 19th Infantry Headquarters, the battalion XO, 3rd Battalion, 29th, returned to Chinju to pass this information to regiment and receive orders. He was told the 3rd Battalion was to continue its mission. The XO returned to the battalion, now stopped at Wonjon, and the battalion continued its advance toward Hadong, stopping at dusk at the village of Hoengch'on-ni, about 3 miles from Hadong.
July 27, 1950
About daybreak, 1st Battalion, 27th , 25th Division, came under attack from the gap on its left flank. It lost and regained its positions several times during the day but managed to hold on.
At Hoengch'on-ni, the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry began moving up toward the pass between there and Hadong at approximately 8:45 a.m. "L" Company arrived at pass at approximately 9: 45 a.m and began digging in. The battalion command group and group of ROKA officers, including General Chae Byong Duk (former Chief of Staff, ROKA) gathered at the pass so they could watch an airstrike that had been called in on Hadong. As the watched, a company of North Korean infantry was seen coming up the road from the Hadong side. At about 100 yards away, "L" company opened fire. Simultaneously, mortar and machine-gun fire from unsuspected North Korean positions on high ground about 200 yards to the north of the pass began impacting where the command group was. General Chae was killed instantly while the 3rd Battalion Commander, XO, S-2 and assisted S-2 were wounded. The fight lasted until about noon when the battalion was ordered to withdraw but found the way cut off by North Koreans who were dug in to the rear. Very few made it to safety and the 3rd Battalion, 29th ceased to exist as a fighting unit.
Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry was sent north from Chinju to the Anui area to relieve the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry which returned to Chinju. Farther to the north, the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division was in dug in at Koch'ang, a town about half way between Chinju and Kumch'on.
July 28, 1950
By early morning the North Koreans had penetrated 1st Battalion, 27th positions at Hwanggan and the 27th was ordered to withdraw through 1st Cavalry Division positions are return to 25th Division control.
Meanwhile, "B" and "D" Companies, 29th Infantry were under attack by superior enemy forces at Anui. They tried to withdraw to high ground across the Nam River but only 2 officers and 16 men made it before North Korean troops slammed the exit door. The remainder of the two units engaged in street fighting until around midnight and then, those who could, slipped into the hills and tried to walk to safety. Approximately half of the two companies were either killed or missing in this battle.
At Chinju the surviving 354 officers and men, including walking wounded, of the 3rd Battalion, 29th were reorganized into "K" & "L" Companies. "K" Company was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, and "L" Company to the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry. The 1st Battalion, 19th relocated to Kuho-ri about 10 miles south of Chinju to block a secondary road from Hadong.
Considering the fight at Anui to be a "small battle," main North Korean forces turned north toward 34th Regiment positions at Koch'ang.
July 29, 1950
The attack on the 34th Infantry Regiment at Koch'ang began around 4 a.m. One North Korean force struck from the north and cut of "I" Company while a second North Korean force circled north of the town, then southward and cut the road east of Koch'ang. The 1st Battalion repulsed this attack, then withdrew without orders to secondary positions three miles east of Koch'ang. A short time later the 3rd Battalion also withdrew from Koch'ang, leaving "I" Company. After daylight the 1st Battalion returned and rescued most of "I" Company except for one platoon which was either killed or captured. The regiment then withdrew to new positions 15 miles to the east near the town of Sanje on the Hyopch'on road. As they withdrew, engineers destroyed all bridges and blew cliffs to block the road. Alarmed by the loss of Koch'ang, 8th Army ordered the 17th ROK Regiment to Sanje and the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry from the Yongdok-P'ohang-dong area on the east coast to Hyopch'ong where it took up positions back of the 34th .
At Umyong-ni, the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, commander did not learn of the disaster at Anui until early morning. By this time what was left of the 1st Battalion and mixed force of ROKA/ROKMC units was under attack. These forces withdrew towards Sanch'ong, a town about 20 miles north of Chinju, after dark.
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry withdraws to new positions 2 miles north of Sanju while the 27th Infantry is ordered into Army reserve at Waegwan on the Naktong River. After the 27th had withdrawn through 1st Cavalry positions, the 1st Cavalry began withdrawing to new positions near Kumch'on, an important road junction 30 air miles northeast of Taegu. The 8th Cavalry took up a position astride the Sangju road, the 5th Cavalry astride the Chirye road and the 7th Cavalry astride the Yongdong road six miles northwest of Kumch'on.
July 30, 1950
Sometime during the night an enemy unit moved around the right flank of the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, which was holding a position on high ground astride the Chinju-Hadong road, and cut the road. Meanwhile the North Koreans mounted frontal attacks against the battalion, slowly forcing it to withdraw so by afternoon, the 2nd Battalion, and the attached remnants of the 3rd Battalion, 29th, were on the east bank of the Nam River about 2 miles west of Chinju. A lull developed as both sides prepared for the next battle. After dark, the North Koreans mounted a series of small probing attacks on the 2nd Battalion.
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry withdraws to new positions south of Sangju while the 24th Infantry Regiment withdraws to last defendable high ground 3 miles west of Sangju.
July 31, 1950
The battle for Chinju began in earnest about 2:15 a.m. with a North Korean artillery barrage on "E" & "F" Company, 19th Infantry positions. After about 45 minutes whistles blew and North Korean infantry attacked in force with the main effort directed at "F" Company positions. By 5 a.m. "F" Company broke with its men running for "E" Company positions. Organized elements of these two companies fell back to Chinju about daylight. Meanwhile "G" Company was ordered to fall back to Chinju. It went north over the high ground and circled eastward, picking up stragglers and wounded men from "E," "F" and "H" Companies, 19th, and "K" Company, 29th Infantry. It was clear the town couldn't be held so a withdrawal was ordered. This was fairly orderly. Since the main highway bridge was under fire the 2nd Battalion went north to Uiryong. The regimental command post moved eastward out of Chinju, crossed the Nam River then east to Chiryong-ni, a small village 12 air miles east of Chinju.
On that morning, the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry was at Sanch'ong and was unaware Chinju, 20 air miles to the southeast, had fallen but found out when refugees began appearing from the direction of Chinju so about 5 p.m. so began withdrawing southward, first to Tansong and then eastward to Haman.
Meanwhile, 1st Battalion, 19th moved 10 miles eastward toward Masan to set up positions at Chinju Pass.
35th Infantry withdraws to positions 8 miles south of Sanju
The 27th Infantry Regiment is taken out of 8th Army reserve and ordered to Masan. It departs about noon.
Aug 1, 1950
27th Infantry arrives and is directed to high ground at Chungam-ni, 15 miles to the west of Munch'on-ni. Following a conversation with the S-2 for the 1st Battalion, 19th, LTC Michaelis became convinced the 19th couldn't hold their positions and that someone needed to block the south road into Masan so he unilaterally turned his regiment around and sent it to blocking positions on this road in the Chindong-ni vicinity. Michaelis went to the newly relocated 25th Division Headquarters in Masan and told them what he had done. Presented with a fait accompli they approved.
Meanwhile, as Michaelis had suspected, the 1st Battalion, 19th had abandoned its Chinju Pass positions and relocated to "The Notch," a few miles to the east and in the Chungam-ni vicinity. While it dug in, the 2nd Battalion 19th moved into regimental reserve at the bottom of the pass.
As these moves took place, "A" Company, 8072nd Medium Tank Battalion, arrived at Masan. It was equipped with rebuilt WWII M4E8 tanks. These were the first medium tanks to reach Korea. That evening the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry was ordered to form a tank/infantry task force and make a reconnaissance westward of "The Notch."
Aug 2, 1950
At 5:30 a.m. the tank/infantry task force assembled at Chungam-ni (19th Regimental Headquarters) and started for the Notch at 6:15. This was led by a platoon of M4 tanks. Arriving at the Notch at approximately 6:45 a.m. the task force topped the crest and started down the west side, finding North Korean infantry crawling up the ditches about a 100 yards. The tanks opened fire with their machine-guns while moving slowly ahead. A mortar round knocked out the lead tank, killing the crew. A few minutes later another tank farther up the Notch and near the end of the column was hit by anti-tank fire and set to burning. This effectively locked the remaining tanks and armored cars where they were and the fight deteriorated into a melee between infantry. During this the 1st Battalion, 29th and 1st Battalion, 19th became intermingled. Despite this, and heavy casualties, they held their positions and by mid-afternoon the North Koreans withdrew allowing the recovery of most trapped tanks and evacuation of the wounded.
Meanwhile, the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry also mounted a tank/infantry reconnaissance task force, send this down the Chinju road from Chindong-ni. Leaving at 4 a.m. and unopposed at first, the column went several miles before surprising an enemy platoon still in their blankets along the road. Tank machine-guns and infantry rifle fire killed all but two. Some light opposition developed at the column moved toward the Much'on-ni road fork, arriving about mid-afternoon, the task force surprised a number of North Korean soldiers including a column of supply trucks which had just descended from the Chinju Pass. A few truck were able to turn around and escape back over the pass, and in doing so, alerted other vehicles heading for Much'on. Most turned around and headed back to Chinju where they became targets for F-51 aircraft which were supporting the tank/infantry column. Approximately 5 p.m., and following a series of engagements which saw two tanks damaged by anti-tank fire, a liaison aircraft flew over and dropped a message ordering the task force to return and informing them the North Korean had blocked the road back. The task force mounted all the infantrymen on tanks and vehicles with tanks in the lead, then made a dash for friendly lines. It had to stop several times and knock out enemy roadblocks but made it safely back to 27th lines about midnight.
Aug 3, 1950
The following morning Headquarters, 27th at Chindong-ni, came under heavy fire from a bluff above the town. A North Korean battalion had infiltrated during the night. Following a period of confusion, and thanks to 1st Battalion arrival late the night before, the enemy was routed. An hour or so later second North Korean battalion joined the first but all enemy troops were driven off with heavy loses.
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