The Plan for Complete Victory

It is better to abandon a whole province than to divide an army.


The question whether U.N. forces should cross the 38th Parallel became a most difficult one as soon as the Inch'on landing succeeded and the Eighth Army broke out from the Pusan Perimeter. As a result of long and detailed consideration at high levels on the future course of action, the government in Washington decided Eighth Army should cross into North Korea.

Pursuant to this decision, the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 27 September sent to General MacArthur a comprehensive directive to govern his future actions. They stated that his first objective was to be the destruction of the North Korean forces. He was to unite all of Korea under Syngman Rhee if possible. But they warned him that he was not to consider the directive final since developments might require its modification. They particularly enjoined him to make special efforts to determine whether Soviet or Chinese intervention appeared likely, and to report any such threat to them at once.

Subject to these injunctions, the directive stated that MacArthur's mission was "the destruction of the North Korean Armed Forces" and authorized him to conduct military operations for that purpose north of the 38th Parallel, provided that at the time there was no major Chinese Communist Forces or Soviet entry into North Korea or announced intention to enter in order to counter U.N. military operations there. The Joint Chiefs added that in no circumstances would any of the U.N. forces cross the Manchurian or Soviet borders of Korea and that non-Korean ground forces, as a matter of policy, should not be used in the area along the Manchurian border or in the northeast provinces bordering the Soviet Union. They instructed MacArthur to submit his plan for operations north of the 38th Parallel to them for approval. Thus the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington held in their own hands final approval for any operation north of the 38th Parallel. [1]

Upon receiving this directive MacArthur urged on the JCS removal of the restriction requiring specific approval from the United States Government before his forces crossed the 38th Parallel. He urged that he be allowed to cross the Parallel and seek out and

[1] JCS 92801, 27 Sep 50, Personal for MacArthur, from JCS to CINCUNC. 


destroy the remaining parts of the North Korean Army if North Korea did not surrender in accordance with a proclamation he intended to issue.

Two days later Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall sent him a personal message, marked for his eyes only, which stated that he should feel free tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th Parallel. President Truman himself had approved this message. [2]

It is clear that on 29 September MacArthur had authority from the United States Government to cross the 38th Parallel. In a communication to the Secretary of Defense on 30 September, MacArthur said, "Unless and until the enemy capitulates, I regard all of Korea open for our military operations." [3]

The next day, 1 October, in order to remove any obscurity that might still exist in Washington regarding his plan, MacArthur sent a message that was crystal clear as to his intentions. He said:

I plan to issue and make public the following general directive to all elements of the United Nations Command at 1200 hours, Monday, 2 October, unless I receive your instructions to the contrary. "Under the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution of 27 June, the field of our military operations is limited only by military exigencies and the international boundaries of Korea. The so-called 38th Parallel, accordingly, is not a factor in the military employment of our forces. To accomplish the enemy's complete defeat, your troops may cross the border at any time, either in exploratory probing or exploiting local tactical conditions. If the enemy fails to accept the terms of surrender set forth in my message to him of I October, our forces, in due process of campaign will seek out and destroy the enemy's armed forces in whatever part of Korea they may be located." [4]

MacArthur stated later that the temporary U.N. halt at the 38th Parallel that occurred in early October was due to logistical difficulties. [5]

From the Communist side certain storm signals appeared. In a speech in Peiping on 1 October, the first anniversary of the Chinese Communist state, Premier Chou En-lai warned that the Chinese people "will not tolerate foreign aggression and will not stand aside should the imperialists wantonly invade the territory of their neighbor." [6] This clearly was a threat to intervene in the Korean War if U.N. forces crossed the 38th Parallel. In the United Nations the Soviet delegate proposed on 2 October a plan which called for a cease fire in Korea and the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The next day Sir Benegal Rau, the Indian delegate, stated his government's view that U.N. forces should not cross the 38th Parallel. The Indian view was undoubtedly influenced by a report to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru from India's Ambassador to Peiping

[2] JCS 92985, 29 Sep 50, Marshall to MacArthur: JCS 90975, JCS to
CINCFE, 29 Sep 50, Memo for Secy Def from Bradley, Chmn, JCS, 29 Sep 50; 
S. Comm. on Armed Services and S. Comm. on Foreign Relations, 82d Cong., 
1st Sess., 1951, Joint Hearings, Military Situation in the Far East, pt.
1, pp. 245, 339-40, and 488 (hereafter cited as Senate MacArthur 
Hearings), testimony of Marshall. 

[3] Msg C65034, CINCFE to DA for Secy Def, 30 Sep 50, and Msg C65035, 
CINCFE to CC Eighth Army, 30 Sep 50, quoted in Schnabel, FEC, GHQ 
Support and Participation in the Korean War, ch. VI, pp. 16-17. 

[4] Msg C65118, CINCUNC to DA, 1 Oct 50, quoted in Schnabel, op cit., p. 

[5] Senate MacArthur Hearings, pt. 1, p. ,45. 

[6] New York Times, October 2, 1950, a London dispatch; New York Herald 
Tribune, October 1, 1950.


that China would enter the war if the U.N. forces crossed the Parallel. [7]

Meanwhile, MacArthur on 1 October issued his demand that North Korea surrender. He addressed his message to the Commander in Chief of the North Korean forces. He called upon the North Koreans to lay down their arms and cease hostilities under such military supervision as he might direct in order that the decisions of the United Nations might be carried out with a minimum of further loss of life and destruction of property, and to liberate U.N. prisoners of war and civilian internees. There was no answer from North Korea.

On 9 October General MacArthur issued an ultimatum calling "for the last time" for North Korean surrender. There was no official response from North Korea to this demand, but Kim Il Sung in a radio broadcast in P'yongyang on the morning of 10 October, which was monitored in Tokyo, rejected it. [8]

MacArthur's Plan of Operations in North Korea

As Eighth Army approached a junction with X Corps near Seoul, General Walker became concerned about the future relationship of Eighth Army and X Corps. He and his staff felt that X Corps should become part of Eighth Army and that all U.N. forces in Korea should operate under a unified field command. [9] It is not known with certainty whether General Walker ever discussed with General MacArthur his own ideas about operations north of the 38th Parallel. It appears, however, that he never submitted them to him in writing.

So far as is known, the nearest General Walker ever came to broaching the subject to MacArthur in writing was on 26 September when he sent a discreetly worded message to him suggesting that he would like to be informed of X Corps' progress and plans so that he could plan better for the approaching juncture of the two forces. General MacArthur dashed Walker's hopes in a reply the next day, informing him that X Corps would remain in GHQ Reserve, in occupation of the Inch'on-Seoul area ready to undertake a GHQ-directed operation "of which you will be apprised at an early date." [10]

When General MacArthur flew to Seoul on 29 September to return the South Korean capital to the government of Syngman Rhee he already had formulated in his mind plans for the next phase of Korean operations. On 26 September, General Hickey had sent a check sheet to General Wright stating that General MacArthur wanted plans developed for further operations in North Korea which would employ the X Corps in an amphibious landing at Wonsan. Because the Far East Command's Joint Strategic Plans and Opera-

[7] New York Times, October 3 and 4, 1950; Msg 031344Z, DA to SCAP, 3
Oct 50, cited in Schnabel, op. cit., ch. VII, p. 13. 

[8] Dept of State Pub 4015, app. A, United Nations Command Seventh 
Report to the Security Council, United Nations, 1-15 October 1950. See 
also New York Times, October 9 and 11, 1950. 

[9] Interv, author with Maj Gen Leven C. Allen, Dec 53.

[10] Msg CX64410, 27 Sep 50, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, and Msg G25090
KG, CG Eighth Army to CINCFE, 26 Sep, both quoted in Schnabel, op. cit., 
ch. VI, pp. 9-10; Interv, author with Allen, 15 Dec 53. 


tions Group had kept active its studies for amphibious operations in areas other than Inch'on, including one for a corps-size landing in the Wonsan-Hamhung area of the east coast, it was only a matter of a few hours until General Wright had the outline of such a plan in MacArthur's hands.

This plan proposed that the advance into North Korea would consist of a "main effort of Eighth Army on the west in conjunction with an amphibious landing at Wonsan or elsewhere." [11] This was the beginning officially of the Far East Command decision that led quickly to the establishment of two separate field commands in Korea for the next phase of the war, and which almost at once became the subject of controversy.

For a period prior to 26 September, it appears that General MacArthur had intended to place X Corps under Eighth Army command once Seoul had fallen. Generals Hickey and Wright favored this course of action, and Maj. Gen. George L. Eberle, the Far East Command G-4, agreed with them. But apparently they did not actively advocate it to General MacArthur. Eberle held the view that although it would be possible to support X Corps logistically in an amphibious operation on the east coast, it could more easily be supported as part of Eighth Army. But if MacArthur ever had been uncertain on the future role of the X Corps, he had decided the point in his own mind by the last week of September. The reasoning which led General MacArthur to decide on two commands in Korea can best be understood by reference to the terrain map of North Korea and the problem of logistics. [12]

Above the Seoul-Wonsan corridor the northern Taebaek Range rises to rugged heights in the east central part of the peninsula, forming an almost trackless mountainous waste in the direction of the Manchurian border. The principal routes of travel follow the deep mountain valleys in a generally north-south direction. The only reasonably good lateral road from east to west in North Korea lay just north of the 38th Parallel, connecting P'yongyang with Wonsan, on the east coast. A rail line also crossed the peninsula here. Any plan for a military campaign north of the P'yongyang-Wonsan corridor in the interior of North Korea would encounter most difficult logistical and supply problems.

In surveying the logistical problems attending any future military operations in Korea, General MacArthur had to note the condition of transport communications in South Korea. U.N. aerial action, together with enemy demolitions, had destroyed nearly all the rail and highway bridges north of the Pusan Perimeter. Weeks of concentrated work by all available Engineer troops would be required to repair the rail lines from the Pusan Perimeter to the 38th Parallel. Aerial action had also badly shattered the communication and transport system of North Korea. In considering this state of affairs, General MacArthur apparently decided that he could

[11] Interv, author with Maj Gen Edwin K. Wright, 7 Jan 54; Check Sheet, 
Gen Hickey to JSPOG, 26 Sep 50, sub: Plans for Future Operations, quoted 
in Schnabel, op. cit., ch. VI, pp. 19-20. 

[12] Interv, author with Wright, 7 Jan 54; Lt Gen Doyle O. Hickey, MS 
review comments, 14 Feb 56; Almond, MS review comments, 4 May 55; 
Interv, author with Eberle, 12 Jan 54. 


not supply both Eighth Army and X Corps from Inch'on for a quick continuation of the pursuit northward. He also wanted to get military forces behind the North Koreans retreating from the Pusan Perimeter through the central mountains and up the east coast. MacArthur reasoned that a landing on the northeast coast might accomplish this. The base for operations in Korea actually was Japan. MacArthur believed that two separate forces co-ordinated from there could operate in Korea without impairing the effectiveness of either.

Involved also in his decision was the idea of encirclement of the North Korean capital. While Eighth Army attacked north from the Seoul area toward P'yongyang, MacArthur's plan called for the X Corps, upon landing at Wonsan, to drive west along the P'yongyang corridor and to take the city from the flank and rear.

The first outline of the operational plan for the projected movement into North Korea set the target date for the Wonsan assault, for planning purposes, at twelve days after Eighth Army passed through the X Corps in the Seoul-Inch'on area. It was thought that Eighth Army could initiate its attack three to seven days before the X Corps amphibious assault on Wonsan. General MacArthur approved this plan on 29 September. [13]

After the GHQ plan to move the X Corps by water to Wonsan became known to Eighth Army, Colonel Dabney, Eighth Army G-3, prepared a message to GHQ setting forth a concept to replace it. This plan would have assigned X Corps to Eighth Army and provided for early movement against P'yongyang and Wonsan overland. The Eighth Army staff felt that the GHQ plan to outload X Corps would unnecessarily delay pursuit of the defeated North Korean Army and would impede the advance of Eighth Army northward. It also believed that the ROK advance on the east coast would capture Wonsan before the X Corps could be landed there. Dabney took the message to General Walker who read it and said that he agreed with the plan, but that it was not to be sent to GHQ. According to Dabney, Walker said he had already made his views known and had received contrary orders. In connection with the possible escape into North Korea of large numbers of enemy soldiers from the Pusan Perimeter, Eighth Army earlier had requested X Corps to block the central mountain route through Wonju and Ch'unch'on with at least a regiment, but X Corps had replied that it could not extend "the anvil" to that point. [14] On 11 October a radio message from General MacArthur shattered any remaining hope Walker may have had of directing future operations in the east. It informed him that MacArthur intended to use Wonsan Airfield for land-based aircraft under X Corps control and that the ROK I Corps in the east, then under Eighth Army control, would come under X Corps command as soon as that corps landed. [15]

[13] JSPOG file, FEC, Opn Plan 9-50, 29 Sep 50, cited in Schnabel, op. 
cit., ch. 6, pp. 21-22.
[14] Intervs, author with Gens Allen, 15 Dec 53, Wright, 7 Jan 54, and 
Eberle, 12 Jan 54; Hickey, MS review comments, 14 Feb 56; Dabney, MS 
review comments, 26 Nov 57. 

[15] Msg CX66169, 11 Oct 50, CINCFE to CG Eighth Army, quoted in 
Schnabel, op. cit., ch. VI, p. 27. 


It appears that General Walker believed that X Corps, after the fall of Seoul, should continue the attack north to P'yongyang under Eighth Army command, with Eighth Army moving up behind it. He reasoned that this should save a lot of time as X Corps was already in position for continuing the attack in the west, and Eighth Army was not. In such an attack the corps could continue to be supplied from Inch'on. General Walker and most Eighth Army senior officers felt that not to continue the pursuit at once-to halt for a period of almost two weeks while X Corps loaded out at Inch'on and Eighth Army moved into position below the 38th Parallel-would permit the escape of a large part of the remaining North Korean forces retreating northward which might otherwise be destroyed or captured.

In Walker's view, once the X Corps reached P'yongyang, with or without Eighth Army help as the case might be, Eighth Army could then move laterally along the P'yongyang-Wonsan corridor to the east coast where it would join the ROK I Corps already there and advancing northward. This plan contemplated the X Corps continuing the attack in the west from P'yongyang toward the Yalu. An alternate course would be for the X Corps to cross to the east coast by the P'yongyang-Wonsan corridor, while Eighth Army attacked north from P'yongyang. The operations of both forces would be co-ordinated under Walker's command, and both would be supplied from Inch'on and Pusan and by airlift until Wonsan fell. Then the force operating in the east could be supplied largely by sea through that port and Hungnam farther to the north. Generals Hickey, Wright, and Eberle of MacArthur's staff favored such a plan of operations. [16]

Admiral Joy, Commander, NAVFE, and key members of his staff, had objected to the Wonsan amphibious operation as being unnecessary, holding the view that X Corps could march overland from Seoul to Wonsan much faster than it could be lifted and landed there by water. General Smith, commanding the 1st Marine Division, had many reservations about the proposed operations of his division in northeast Korea. [17]

The prediction of the Eighth Army commander and staff that Wonsan would fall to the ROK I Corps before the X Corps could land there became a fact on 10 October. And their view that the North Korean capital of P'yongyang would also fall to Eighth Army attack before the X Corps could move west from Wonsan also proved to be correct. General MacArthur officially acknowledged this fact by issuing on 17 October a new United Nations Command Operations Order which drew a boundary between Eighth Army and X Corps. This boundary, starting at the 38th Parallel, followed generally the watershed of the high Taebaek Range that extended through the eastern part of Korea up to the Yalu River. [18]

Eighth Army Deploys for the Attack

Based on General MacArthur's United

[16] General MacArthur says these officers never expressed any such 
views to him at the time. MacArthur MS review comments, 15 Nov 57. 

[17] Ltr, Smith to author, 13 Feb 54; Smith, MS review comments, 15 Nov 
57; Karig, et al., Battle Report: The War in Korea, pp. 298-99. 

[18] UNC Opn Ord 4, 17 Oct 50, cited in Schnabel, op. cit., ch. 6, pp. 


[Caption] TANK TROOPS of the 1st Cavalry Division pursuing the enemy fourteen miles north of Kaesong on 13 October.

Nations Command Operations Order 2, dated 2 October, Eighth Army the next day issued an operations order to implement its part in the plan for the attack into North Korea. The army order called for the U.S. I Corps to seize a line west of the Imjin River with not less than a division, and to concentrate the corps in an assembly area there as rapidly as IX Corps could relieve it. The U.S. I Corps was then to conduct operations northward on army orders, making the main effort with the 1st Cavalry Division leading the attack. The 24th Division and the ROK 1st Division were to protect the corps flanks and form a reserve. [19]

In addition to relieving the U.S. I Corps in its zone, the U.S. IX Corps was to protect the line of communications, Seoul-Suwon-Taejon-Taegu-Pusan and, together with ROK police, destroy the remaining enemy forces in South Korea.

The ROK Army was directed to move its II Corps, consisting of the 6th, 7th, and 8th Divisions, to the area between Ch'unch'on and Uijongbu in central Korea, and its I Corps, composed of the Capital and 3d Divisions, to the area between Yongp'o and Chumunjin-up on the east coast, all prepared to attack northward. The ROK Army was also to provide a new division (the 11th) by 5 October to help IX Corps in the rear areas of South Korea.

Pursuant to orders, the 1st Cavalry

[19] EUSAK Opn Ord 103, 3 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 3 and 4 Oct 50. 


Division on 5 October advanced north of Seoul for the purpose of securing the U.S. I Corps assembly area near the 38th Parallel. Led by I Company, the 5th Cavalry Regiment in the evening crossed to the north side of the Imjin River at Munsan-ni.

At noon on the 7th, the 16th Reconnaissance Company entered Kaesong, and that evening elements of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, arrived there. By evening of 8 October the 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division had secured the I Corps assembly area in the vicinity of Kaesong. Some of the troops were within small arms range of the 38th Parallel. Behind the 1st Cavalry Division, the 24th Division concentrated in the Seoul area. [20]

At this juncture a new military organization appeared in Korea, and it also concentrated near Seoul. The 3d Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, commanded by 30-year-old Lt. Col. Charles H. Green, a veteran of World War II, arrived at Pusan on 28 September. It joined the British 27th Brigade at Kumch'on on 3 October, which was then renamed the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade. Two days later the bulk of the brigade moved by air to Kimpo Airfield as part of the I Corps concentration near the 38th Parallel. [21]

With its I Corps concentrated to the north of Seoul, Eighth Army took over control of the Inch'on-Seoul area from X Corps at 1200, 7 October. The command posts of both Eighth Army and the ROK Army moved from Taegu and opened in Seoul on 12 October. [22]

Earlier, on 4 October, the Far East Air Forces and the Fifth Air Force, acting on a directive of 8 July, had assumed control of the Marine squadrons at Kimpo. This was highly displeasing to X Corps, and particularly so to the marines. But the change in control actually made little difference in air operations since FEAF directed that the 1st Marine Air Wing continue to support X Corps. The Fifth Air Force headquarters moved to Seoul on 15 October. As a result of the September victories, the Japan-based fighters and fighter-bombers of the Fifth Air Force moved to Korean bases. This permitted an increase in their armament load, more time over target and combat area, and lengthened flight ranges into North Korea. [23]

The ROK I Corps Captures Wonsan and Hungnam

Regardless of whether the U.N. forces did or did not cross the 38th Parallel, there was always the strong probability that the ROK troops would. Syngman Rhee had often stated his intention of halting the South Korean Army only at the Yalu. Speaking at a mass meeting at Pusan on 19 September he said, "We have to advance as far as the Manchurian border until not a single enemy soldier is left in our country." He said that he did not expect the U.N. forces to stop at the 38th Parallel, but if they

[20] EUSAK POR 259, 6 Oct, and 265, 8 Oct 50; EUSAK PIR 262, 7 Oct 50; 
1st Cav Div WD, 6-7 Oct 50; 5th Cav Regt WD, 6 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 
Sec, 7 Oct 50; 24th Div WD, 4-6 Oct 50. 

[21] EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 28 Sep and 5 Oct 50; Ibid., Br for CG, 5-6 Oct 
50; I Corps WD, 3 Oct 50; GHQ UNC, G-3 Opn Rpt, 3 Oct 50. 

[22] EUSAK POR No. 277, 12 Oct 50; EUSAK PLR No. 84, 6 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, 
7 Oct 50.

[23] USAF Hist Study 71, 1 Jul 52. 


did, he continued, "we will not allow ourselves to stop." [24] And stop the ROK troops did not.

A message dropped by a KMAG G-3 officer from a light plane at Samch'ok and delivered to Colonel Emmerich at Kangnung on the afternoon of 29 September ordered the ROK 3d Division to cross the 38th Parallel and proceed to Wonsan as soon as possible. Advanced patrols of the ROK 3d Division crossed the parallel on 30 September. The next day just before noon two rifle companies crossed the border and came under fire from enemy troops in old fixed positions north of the Parallel. On 2 October the ROK 3d and Capital Divisions established their command posts in Yangyang, eight miles north of the parallel. Although General MacArthur made the first official public announcement of forces under U.N. command crossing the 38th Parallel on 3 October, the American press had reported the incident the day before. Anticipating that ROK forces would cross the Parallel, newspaper correspondents flew to Kangnung, just south of the border on the east coast, to get the news. [25]

Now began a remarkable phase of the pursuit. The ROK 3d Division traveled northward night and day, on foot and by vehicle, out of communication most of the time with higher headquarters, without flank protection to the west, and bypassing many enemy groups which often attacked their supply points in the rear. There were some costly fire fights on the road north. The N.K. 5th Division with about 2,400 survivors, retreating as best it could ahead of the ROK's, kept the pursuing advanced elements under mortar and 76-mm. antitank fire. The road was heavily mined and lead vehicles had many casualties. From fortified positions, including connecting trenches, caves, and dug-in gun positions, North Koreans tried to stop or slow the ROK advance. The 3d Division averaged about fifteen miles a day. Many of its men had no shoes and large numbers trudged ever northward on bloody feet.

The Capital Division followed the 3d, and at intervals sent some of its units inland into the Diamond Mountains, the lofty and beautiful Kumgang-san, which crowded close upon the coast line. In happier days these mountains had been the vacation grounds of people from all parts of Korea.

In central Korea, troops of the ROK II Corps crossed into North Korea later than did the troops of the I Corps on the coast. On 6 October the ROK 6th Division crossed the parallel from the vicinity of Ch'unch'on and advanced on Hwach'on. For three days it fought two regiments of the N.K. 9th Division which stubbornly defended that town. Late on the afternoon of 8 October the division entered Hwach'on, driving two enemy battalions northwest.

The 8th Division crossed the 38th Parallel on 7 October. On its right, the 7th Division crossed a day or two later. Both divisions headed for the Iron Triangle. ROK troops arrived at the Iron Triangle on 10 October. There in the

[24] FEC, CofS files, Associated Press dispatch from Pusan, 1450 19 Sep 

[25] Ltr, Emmerich to author, 12 Feb 54: Emmerich, MS review comments, 
12 Dec 57; EUSAK WD, G-3 Jnl, Msgs at 2000, 2215, 2305 1 Oct, and Msg at 
2030 2 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, Summ, 4 Oct 50; CINCFE Korean Release 522, 
031545 Oct 50; New York Times, October 2, 1950. 


Ch'orwon area a large force of North Koreans attacked the ROK 16th Regiment during the day but was repulsed and forced to withdraw. Elements of the 8th Division then entered Ch'orwon.

The Iron Triangle, a place whose name became famous later in the Korean War, was an area of relatively flat terrain, shaped like an equilateral triangle, in the mountains of east central North Korea. It is situated 20 to 30 miles above the 38th Parallel, halfway across the peninsula, and 50 air miles northeast of Seoul. It is bounded at its three corners by the towns of Ch'orwon at its western base, Kumhwa at its eastern base, and P'yonggang at its northern apex. The Iron Triangle is an important North Korean rail and road communication center, linking east and west coastal areas with each other, and in turn connecting them with the communication net leading south through central South Korea.

On 11 October the ROK 8th Division and the 7th Regiment of the 6th Division converged on P'yonggang. On 13 October the 7th Division arrived there by way of Kumhwa.

All the ROK divisions, except the 1st, which was part of the U.S. I Corps and accordingly under direct American command, were across the Parallel before any of the American divisions crossed. [26]

On 9 October, the ROK 3d and Capital Divisions were at the south edge of Wonsan, 110 air miles up the coast above the 38th Parallel. That day the Capital Division on the Wonsan-Iron Triangle road south of the city captured 6 tanks, 4 artillery pieces, 10 82-mm. mortars, 1 120-mm. mortar, 30 heavy machine guns, 500 submachine guns, 5,000 Russian rifles, 1 boxcar of medical supplies, and another of miscellaneous supplies. The bulk of the ROK 3d Division arrived in front of Wonsan by the coastal road. The N.K. 24th Mechanized Artillery Brigade, the 945th Regiment (naval amphibious troops), and other units subordinate to the naval headquarters at Wonsan defended the city. Enemy artillery pieces emplaced behind dikes just south of it delivered direct fire against the ROK's. [27]

Troops of both the ROK 3d and Capital Divisions entered Wonsan on 10 October, with the 3d Division on the coastal road making the greater effort. About two miles long and of irregular, narrow width, the city is shaped by the 450-foot-high hills that rise abruptly from the narrow coastal strip. In order to settle rival claims as to which division entered the city first, the corps commander, Brig. Gen. Kim Baik Yil decreed that both divisions got there simultaneously at 0600 and that both secured it at 1000. But the city was not secured then. Colonel Emmerich, KMAG senior adviser with the 3d Division, entered the city with the front line troops of the ROK 23d Regiment just after noon. The North Koreans had maintained a heavy artillery fire from the city until almost noon. Then, after withdrawing most of their guns from Wonsan, they fired into the city all after-

[26] EUSAK WD, Summ, Oct 50; Ibid., Daily News Bulletin, 4 Oct 50; EUSAK 
POR's, 7-9 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 4 Oct and 7 Oct 50; Ibid., Br for 
CG, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11-14 Oct 50; Ibid., PIR's 86-88, 6-8 Oct, and 91, 11 
Oct 50. 

[27] EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 090001 Oct 50; GHQ FEC, History of the N.K. 
Army, pp. 81-82.



noon from its northwest sector and the hills behind it. That afternoon the 3d Division captured the heavily mined airfield on the peninsula east of the city. At nightfall both ROK divisions were still engaged in street fighting within the city. During the night an enemy armored task force, including about ten 76-mm. self-propelled antitank guns, returned to the airfield and did a good job of shooting it up, burning out most of the buildings and hangars. [28]

The next day, 11 October, the ROK 3d Division fought through Wonsan against enemy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire. It secured the city, and by evening had troops one mile north of it. The Capital Division helped clear the city and occupied the airfield. Generals Walker and Partridge flew into the Wonsan Airfield on the 11th. Finding it in good condition, General Partridge had twenty-two planes of the Combat Cargo Command fly in 131 tons of supplies for the ROK troops the next day. [29]

In the week after the capture of Wonsan the ROK 3d Division remained in the vicinity, securing the area for the expected landing of X Corps. The Capital Division meanwhile moved on

[28] Ltr, Emmerich to author, 12 Feb 54; EUSAK WD, Br for CG, 100001-
110800 Oct 50. 

[29] EUSAK WD, 11 Oct 50, Aide de Camp Diary: Schnabel, op. cit.; USAF 
Hist Study 71, p. 76. 


[Caption] ROK TROOPS marching past the Diamond Mountains.

north fifty air miles up the coast, and, against light resistance, secured both Hamhung and its port, Hungnam, on October. [30]

During its great success in advancing northward into North Korea the ROK Army expanded and reorganized. On 8 October it reactivated the 5th Division at Taegu and once again counted eight divisions, the same number that it had when the war began. Simultaneously, the ROK Army activated the 1st Guerrilla Group of five battalions (1st, 2d, 3d, 5th, 6th). Eight days later, on 16 October, it activated the ROK III Corps. This new corps, to which the 5th and 11th Divisions were attached, was to assume responsibility for the ROK Army zone south of the Seoul-Ch'unch'on-Inje-Yangyang axis, and destroy remaining enemy troops and guerrillas in that part of Korea. [31]

The X Corps Prepares To Move Amphibiously to Northeast Korea

About the time the ROK I Corps crossed the 38th Parallel and started north toward Wonsan, General Almond and Admiral Struble received on 1 October preliminary instructions from GHQ, Far East Command, for the projected landing at Wonsan. Joint Task Force 7 had been re-established to land the X Corps at Wonsan, and Admiral Struble had been named to command it. He received from Admiral Joy the mis-

[30] Interv, author with Emmerich, 5 Dec 51; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 12, 15, 
and 16 Oct 50; Ibid., Br for CG, 14, 17 Oct 50. 

[31] EUSAK POR 300, 20 Oct 50; EUSAK WD, G-4 Sec, 5 Oct 50: GHQ UNC, G-3 
Opn Rpt, 20 Oct 50; IX Corps WD, bk. 1, 13 Oct 50. The 5th Division was 
supposed to move to the Andong area in the east, but it actually stayed 
in northwest Korea. The 11th Division established headquarters at Namwon 
in southwest Korea.


sion of JTF 7. This was (1) to maintain a naval blockade of the east coast of Korea south from Ch'ongjin; (2) to load and transport X Corps to the Wonsan area and provide cover and support en route; (3) to conduct pre-D-day naval operations as required; (4) on D-day to seize by amphibious assault, occupy, and defend a beachhead in the Wonsan area; (5) to provide naval gunfire, air, and initial logistic support to X Corps in the Wonsan area. [32]

General MacArthur on 2 October formalized in his United Nations Operation Order 2 instructions for U.N. military operations north of the 38th Parallel, and set forth therein the plan of movement and the mission of X Corps. The X Corps was to revert to GHQ Reserve when Eighth Army passed through it in the Seoul area. The 1st Marine Division and X Corps headquarters were to load at Inch'on while the 7th Infantry Division and most of the X Corps troops moved to Pusan for loading. The problem of outloading X Corps at Inch'on in adverse tidal conditions with the limited amount of amphibious craft available, concurrently with the expected partial use of the port by Eighth Army, was so complicated and difficult that MacArthur decided that part of the force would have to outload at Pusan if the entire corps was to be loaded within two weeks. [33]

The selection of Wonsan as the site of the projected X Corps landing in northeast Korea had been based on a number of factors. Situated at the southwest side of a large bay which bulges inland from the Japan Sea, Wonsan is the principal port on the east coast of Korea; it is the eastern terminus of the easiest route across North Korea; and it is a road and rail communications center. In 1950 when the war started the city had a population of approximately 150,000. The Japanese had developed Wonsan as a naval base, and the North Koreans had continued to use it for the same purpose. It was the principal port of entry for Russian supplies and military equipment received by sea from the Vladivostok area, and it was a key point on the rail line running southwest into Korea from the Soviet Vladivostok base. It was the petroleum refining capital of Korea. From Wonsan a military force could move inland and west across the peninsula to P'yongyang, or north to the Hamhung-Hungnam area, fifty air miles away, the most important industrial area of all Korea. [34]

On 30 September General Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, was first informed of the projected X Corps landing at Wonsan. The next day he was requested to submit loading plans by 3 October with a proposed D-day at Wonsan of 15 October. Since ships for the lift had not yet been designated it was impossible to meet these dates. On 7 October, Admiral Doyle, in command of the Attack Force, recommended 20 October as the earliest

[32] Act Rpt, JTF 7, Wonsan Opn, I-A-1; Ibid., I-B-1, COMNAVFE Opn Plan 
113-50; X Corps WD, Oct 50, CofS Sec, p. 10.

[33] Act Rpt, JTF 7, Wonsan Opn, I-C-1; X Corps WD, Oct 50, CofS Sec, p. 
10; Schnabel, op. cit., ch. VI, pp. 23-24; 2d Log Comd, Oct 50 Act Rpt, 
G-4 Sec. 

[34] Joint Intel Study Pub Board, JANIS 75, ch. VIII (Korea-Cities and 
Towns), pp. 52-53; GHQ FEC, Terrain Study 6, Northern Korea, sec. XIV, 
pp. 26-27 and Map 760, Wonsan City Plan, Plate 12; X Corps WD, Oct 50, 
Opns, pp. 18-19; Diary of CG X Corps, 24 Oct 50.  


D-day which the amphibious assault forces could meet. Admirals Struble and Joy concurred and forwarded this recommendation to General MacArthur. He accepted it as a tentative D-day but indicated that every effort should be made to achieve an earlier one. Two days later Admiral Struble published his operation plan outlining the task force organization. JTF 7 was organized as follows:

90    Attack Force, Rear Adm. James H. Doyle 
95    Advance Force, Rear Adm. Allan E. Smith 
95.2  Covering and Support Group, Rear Adm. Charles C. Hartman 
95.6  Minesweeping Group, Capt. Richard T. Spofford  
92    X Corps, Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond  
96.2  Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Rear Adm. George R. Henderson 
96.8  Escort Carrier Group, Rear Adm. Richard W. Ruble  
77    Fast Carrier Force, Rear Adm. Edward C. Ewen  
70.1  Flagship Group (USS Missouri), Capt. Irving T. Duke  
79    Logistics Support, Capt. Bernard  L. Austin 

On 10 October General MacArthur ordered U.N. Operations Plan 2 put into effect, thereby canceling all other tentative plans. [35]

General MacArthur's Operation Plan 9-50 of 29 September assigned priority of outloading at Inch'on to the 1st Marine Division, the amphibious assault element of X Corps. On 3 October, X Corps ordered the Marine division to initiate movement to an assembly area in Inch'on. On 4 October, General Almond issued a corps order for the projected operations at Wonsan. The 1st Marine Division had the mission of seizing a corps base of operations while the 7th Infantry Division was to start an attack west to join with Eighth Army in front of P'yongyang. By 6 October the 1st, 5th, and 11th Marines had virtually completed their movement to Inch'on; the next day the 7th Marines began its movement from Uijongbu to the Inch'on assembly area. As it assembled at Inch'on for outloading, the 1st Marine Division numbered 23,591 men, with 40 U.S. Army troops and 4,516 Korean marines attached, for a total of 28,147. [36]

At noon on 6 October the 3d Logistical Command assumed responsibility for all unloading at Inch'on. During the day the X Corps requested it to halt all unloading activities not directly concerned with the corps, because otherwise X Corps outloading would be delayed for an estimated six to twenty days. X Corps reverted to GHQ Reserve at noon on 7 October when Eighth Army assumed responsibility for the Inch'on-Seoul area.

[35] Act Rpt, JTF 7, Wonsan Opn, app. D, Opn Ord Comdr 7th Flt, 16-50, 5 
Oct 50; Ibid., I-C-3-4; Ibid., II-3; X Corps WD, Oct 50, CofS Notes, 10
Oct 50. 

[36] CINCFE Opn Plan 9-50, 29 Sep 50; X Corps Opn Instr 9, 031600 Oct 
50; X Corps WD, catalogue of Plans and Orders, p. 44; X Corps WD, Summ 
of Opns, 3-5 Oct 50, and POR 18, 6 Oct 50; 1st Mar Div SAR, 15 Sep-7 Oct 
50, an. C, pp. 39-42; and vol. I, an. A, G-1 Sec; X Corps Opn Ord 4, 4 
Oct 50; X Corps WD, Diary of CG X Corps, 4, 7 Oct, and Notes of CofS, 4, 
7 Oct 50.


The 31-foot tides and the great mud banks at low tide made the outloading exceedingly difficult and required carefully co-ordinated schedules in moving troops and supplies. There were only seven berths where LST's or landing craft could beach at Inch'on and these could be used only at high tide. Moreover, there was no adequate staging area. There was only one small pier from which vehicles could be loaded into an LCM, and then only at high tide. Vehicles were loaded on the top decks of LST's and ferried out to the ships in the harbor, and there lifted by crane from the LST's to the APA's and AKA's. The tidal basin was used to outload all bulk cargo for ferrying to the ships in the harbor. This unexpectedly developed into a major and difficult task. The 1st Marine Division had been informed that the 1st Logistical Command would bottom load all the shipping dispatched to Inch'on to outload the division with 10 days' level of supply, Classes I, III, and V. But this was not done, and it resulted in the necessity of unloading from ships in the harbor and reloading on others, and also of reloading on X Corps shipping considerable supplies from the dumps ashore that otherwise could have been left for Eighth Army. From Japan by air came 32,000 assault rations and 100,000 C rations to Kimpo Airfield, and from there they were taken to the port for outloading.

Troops began loading at Inch'on on the 9th. The 1st and 3d Battalions, 1st Marines, went aboard their LST's on 10 October, and were in these cramped quarters for sixteen days before they again got ashore. On 11 October the X Corps command post closed ashore and opened aboard the Mt. McKinley. Bulk loading of cargo began on 8 October and continued to 16 October when all X Corps loading at Inch'on was completed. Already the U.S. Eighth Army had crossed the Parallel in the west and was fighting its way north.