Operation RUGGED

The Enemy Situation

Whether the expected enemy offensive would occur before all RUGGED and DAUNTLESS objectives could be taken was difficult for the Eighth Army intelligence staff to estimate. Some evidence came from recently taken prisoners who gave dates between 1 and 15 April for the start of the offensive. From an involved analysis of enemy logistical requirements and observed southbound traffic, intelligence officers concluded that the enemy high command had completed the necessary supply buildup despite the Far East Air Forces' longterm and continuing interdiction of North Korea's transportation system. The attacks had destroyed important bridges and, in particular, had interrupted the enemy's use of the rail system. But even after Task Force 77 joined and intensified the air campaign early in March, the enemy had been able to make rapid, if crude, repairs; to develop alternate, if roundabout, routes; and to combine trains and trucks to shuttle supplies through the damaged rail and road networks. Moreover, Task Force 77 was about to be pulled out of northeastern Korea to go to the Formosa Strait.

Since the turn of the year, intelligence reports of People's Liberation Army troop and shipping concentrations in mainland China ports had indicated a possible invasion of Taiwan when weather turned favorable in the spring. In a show of force aimed at discouraging such an operation, Seventh Fleet commander Admiral Martin would take Task Force 77 south on 8 April to conduct air parades over Taiwan and along a course three miles off the mainland coast. No invasion would take place. Whether the naval air demonstration discouraged the Chinese was unclear; what was clear was that by the time Task Force 77 returned to Korea and resumed its interdictory attacks on 16 April, much of the earlier damage to the enemy's eastern rail net had been repaired.1

In contrast to the evidence of the enemy's logistical readiness and the opening dates reported by captives, air observers and agents had reported enemy forces to be developing and in some areas occupying fortified positions along and immediately above the 38th parallel. On the basis of these reports the Eighth Army G2 sensed that the enemy offensive was not imminent. "The pattern of enemy activity," Colonel Tarkenton observed at the start of the RUGGED operation, "continues to reflect a defensive attitude with overtones of preparation for an offensive."2


He considered it possible that enemy forces, if only as a "mark time" measure, next would make a major defensive effort from the positions being organized in the vicinity of the parallel.3

Tarkenton was right. The enemy high command was not ready to open the offensive. The North Korean III and V Corps, the latter scheduled to take part, had withdrawn from the eastern front only during the last days of Operation RIPPER and were still refurbishing. The remainder of the Chinese IX Army Group, whose 20th and 27th Armies were to participate in the main attack, had just started south from the Hamhung region toward the Iron Triangle. Now on line to oppose the I and IX Corps in the area between the Imjin River and Hwach'on Reservoir were reduced forces of the Chinese 26th, 40th, and 39th Armies, west to east. Ahead of the X, ROK III, and ROK I Corps from the reservoir to the east coast was only the North Korean III Corps employing parts of the 1st, 15th, and 45th Divisions and the 69th Brigade.4 These forces, contrary to indications that they might conduct a strong defense, would put up only a delaying action against the RUGGED advance, offering islands of stubborn resistance but otherwise fading to the rear after briefly engaging assault units or without resisting at all.

Impeding the advance more consistently than enemy delaying forces would be the usual logistical problems created by mountains and inadequate roads, although the difficulties would be partially relieved by South Korean carrying parties from the new Civil Transport Corps. Still being organized, the corps eventually would include eighty-two carrier companies manned by almost twenty thousand porters, some from refugee camps but most from the ROK National Guard.5 Using an A-frame, a wooden backpack common in Korea, each porter on a daily average could carry a fifty-pound load ten miles. By 1 April the Eighth Army transportation officer, who exercised operational control of the corps, had deployed sixty-five companies, each with


two hundred forty porters, to assist the RUGGED advance.6

The Advance to Line Kansas

In organizing the RUGGED operation, General Ridgway had widened the I Corps zone eastward to pass control of the 24th Division, which had been operating on the IX Corps left, to General Milburn. (Map 29) While Milburn's forces along the Imjin stood fast, the 25th and 24th Divisions in the eastern half of the I Corps zone attacked north on either side of Route 3 on the morning of 3 April. East of the road, the 24th Division moved astride the Yongp'yong River valley, the 5th Infantry on the left advancing into the Kwanum Mountain mass abutting Route 3, the 21st Infantry striking for Kungnlang Mountain just inside the right corps boundary. West of Route 3, the 27th Infantry and 35th Infantry of the 25th Division advanced toward high ground rising between a lateral stretch of the Yongp'yong River and the Hant'an River farther north.7

Pushing scattered 26th Army forces out of position by fire and occasionally by assault, and turning back a few light counterattacks, the 25th Division took the heights overlooking the Hant'an River on 5 April. Resistance to the 24th Division was desultory except at the far right where the 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry, stalled on the western slopes of Kungmang Mountain on 4 April under fire from a strong 40th Army force dug in on the crest behind barbed wire and antipersonnel mines. The battalion finally cleared the position after air strikes and artillery fire had softened it on the morning of the 5th. The 5th Infantry occupied the Kwanum Mountain mass that same day; slowed by the Kungmang battle, the 21st Infantry reached line Kansas on the 6th.8

The adjoining British 27th Brigade following the Kap'yong River valley on the IX Corps left was stopped by Chinese fire from Kungmang Mountain until the 21st Infantry reduced that position; then the British marched unopposed to line Kansas on 6 April. Flushing scattered Chinese out of the IX Corps central zone, the ROK 6th Division reached its Kansas objectives the same day. On the corps right, where the 1st Cavalry Division advanced astride the Pukhan River, the attached 7th Marine Regiment moved easily up the west side of the river, but the 7th and 8th Regiments attacking through cut-up, virtually roadless ground east of the Pukhan were slowed by strong delaying forces of the 39th Army. On 6 April the two cavalry regiments were still some three miles short of their line Kansas objectives adjacent to the Hwach'on Reservoir.9

General Ridgway suspected that the stiff resistance to the 1st Cavalry Division was related to enemy plans to obstruct IX Corps movement by releasing the reservoir's water through the Hwach'on Dam and flooding the Pukhan. The water was far from its maximum level, but air observers recently


Map 29. The RUGGED and DAUNTLESS Operations, Western Front, 1-22 April 1951


had noted that the dam's eighteen sluice gates were closed. The Chinese were intent on keeping the cavalrymen away from the reservoir to give the water time to rise before releasing it.10

Earlier, near the beginning of Operation RIPPER, Ridgway had thought to prevent enemy forces from so using the reservoir by bombing the dam, releasing the water, and waiting for the Pukhan to recede before starting forward. His engineer, Col. Paschal N. Strong, had advised him at the time that the structure probably could not be demolished by conventional bombing and that the enemy also lacked the means of destruction. The most the enemy could do, according to Strong, would be to destroy or open the sluice gates and produce a minor flood. Given this appraisal, Ridgway had let the matter drop and did not include the dam when drawing objective lines for the RUGGED and DAUNTLESS operations.11

As the RUGGED advance got under way, the IX Corps engineer contradicted Strong's appraisal. He calculated that simultaneously opening all sluice gates and penstocks when the reservoir was full would raise the Pukhan ten to


twelve feet in the vicinity of line Kansas and would flood much of the Ch'unch'on basin. Although the flooding would not be disastrous, it would temporarily disrupt lateral movement in the corps zone and north-south traffic on Route 17, the IX Corps' main supply route; moreover, this harassment could be repeated as long as the dam remained in enemy hands. Ridgway, in light of these prospects, adjusted his plans to include the dam as an objective.12

The dam stood at the northwest corner of the reservoir, its spillway slanting north into a deep, narrow gorge through which the Pukhan at that point coursed north and then turned west and south to form a horseshoeshaped loop. (Map 30) The structure abutted on two narrow-ridge peninsulas, one protruding south into the reservoir on the east, the other located in the loop of the Pukhan on the west. The western peninsula, which offered the only overland approach to the dam, jutted beyond line Kansas at the right of the IX Corps; the dam itself rested above Kansas at the X Corps left. Ridgway shifted the boundary between the two corps eastward to put both approach and objective in the IX Corps zone and instructed General Hoge to seize the dam. With the reservoir level well below maximum, Ridgway attached no urgency to the seizure; he adjusted line Wyoming to include the dam, making it an objective not of the RUGGED advance but of the DAUNTLESS operation to follow.13 As a DAUNTLESS objective, the dam's capture would fall to the 1st Marine Division, scheduled to relieve the 1st Cavalry Division after the latter reached line Kansas.

General Hoge elected a different course after the 4th Ranger Company, recently released from the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, joined the IX Corps on 7 April. He considered the specially trained company the ideal unit to put the dam gates out of commission. Hoge visualized a raid in which the Rangers would sneak to the dam along the reservoir side of the western peninsula, immobilize the gate machinery with all gates closed, and withdraw-all within two to four hours. Attaching the company to the 1st Cavalry Division, he instructed General Palmer to use the Rangers against the dam before the division left line Kansas but did not specifically direct or limit the operation to a Ranger raid.14

Unaware of Hoge's concept of a hitand-run attack, General Palmer assigned the mission to Colonel Harris' 7th Cavalry, then struggling through the rough ground directly below the dam, and instructed Harris to immobilize the sluice gates and occupy the dam area. Harris assigned the mission to his 2d Battalion, then in reserve, and on 8 April assembled the battalion with the 4th Ranger Company attached close to the front almost due south of the peninsular approach to the dam. He left detailed planning for later on the assumption that success in achieving the Kansas line, and thus the dam opera-


Map 30. The RUGGED and DAUNTLESS Operations, Eastern Front, 1-22 April 1951


tion, was some days away. Increasing resistance on 7 and 8 April did portend a slow advance to the line. In an attempt to accelerate the attack, General Palmer late on the 8th ordered his two assaults regiments to deploy in greater strength the following morning. Obliged to commit the 2d Battalion, Colonel Harris, with the dam operation in mind, gave the battalion line Kansas objectives that would carry it within a mile of the base of the ridge leading to the dam.15

Although the reservoir was only half full, Chinese troops and Korean employees of the dam power plant began opening sluice gates at midnight on the 8th. With the power plant not in operation, they were able to open only four gates fully and raise six slightly. The released water cost no casualties or supplies since General Hoge earlier had warned his forces away from the Pukhan bottomland, but the flow gradually raised the river as much as seven feet, forcing the removal of floating bridges above and below Ch'unch'on and destroying another far downstream before it could be swung into the bank.16

The only Chinese below the Pukhan on the morning of the 9th occupied the ridge leading to the dam. Elsewhere, those who had opposed the advance of the 7th and 8th Regiments had withdrawn behind the river during the night to avoid being trapped below the flood. The two regiments were able to reach line Kansas well before noon. Eager to shut down the dam, General Hoge ordered General Palmer to open the operation immediately. Since Hoge also set the 10th as the date the marines would relieve the cavalry division, Palmer instructed Colonel Harris to try to complete the operation by day's end.17

Lt. Col. John W. Callaway, the 2d Battalion commander, opened a hastily planned attack early in the afternoon. He opened the attack with inevitably reduced fire support since the severely convoluted ground for a distance of seven miles below the dam prevented tank and artillery movements. The single road serving the 7th Cavalry-actually no more than a narrow mountain track-branched off Route 29 in the adjoining zone of the 2d Division to the east, entered the 7th's area near the southwest corner of the reservoir, ran north along the reservoir shore to a point beyond line Kansas, then turned west through a small valley at the base of the ridge leading to the dam. Rock outcroppings so confined the track at points that jeeps could barely negotiate it. With the division artillery positions as far north as the terrain allowed, Callaway's objectives were beyond the range of the 105-mm. howitzers. After the Chinese opened the sluice gates, division artillerymen managed to get one 155-mm. howitzer into a position from which it could reach the dam at maximum range. While the howitzer might discourage the Chinese from further work on the dam, its fire at extreme range


could not effectively support Callaway's attack.18

The 2d Battalion advanced with Company F leading the attack to clear the ridge as far as Hill 454, which overlooked the dam. When Company F moved up the ridge, Company E, the battalion reserve, was to occupy Hill 364 at the ridge's southern end. Once Company F occupied Hill 454, the 4th Ranger Company was to move to the dam following the edge of the reservoir, close and immobilize the gates, and occupy high ground on the peninsula east of the dam. Meanwhile, to assist resupply and the displacement of the battalion's heavy weapons, Company G began to clear a segment of the regimental supply road running north along the reservoir and west through the valley at the foot of the approach ridge. After crossing the valley road, Company F stalled under mortar, small arms, and machine gun fire from Hill 364 and from mutually supporting bunkers on heights above the Pukhan to the northwest. A single air strike called down by Colonel Callaway did little to dampen the fire. Though ample cover prevented heavy casualties, Company F remained pinned until dark, then was able to withdraw south of the valley.19

Although the 1st Cavalry Division was due to leave the line on the 10th, General Hoge and General Palmer wanted another attack made on the dam. Hoge continued to visualize a raid; Palmer was certain that Callaway's battalion could have reached the dam on the 9th if more daylight had been available. Accordingly, while the remainder of the division began to move out of the corps zone on the morning of the 10th, the 7th Cavalry remained on line while the 2d Battalion made a second attempt. Believing that the Chinese did not hold the ridge in strength and perhaps had withdrawn as other delaying forces had done in other instances after a single engagement, Colonel Callaway did not change tactics. The narrowness and steep sides of the ridge in any case allowed little room for any other formation or maneuver. Again his lead company, this time Company G, was pinned down by fire from the north and northwest after crossing the road at the base of the ridge. Still without normal artillery support and now denied air support because of mist and lowhanging clouds, Callaway was unable to quiet the fire and continue north.20

General Palmer and Colonel Harris had expected that the 7th Cavalry, regardless of the outcome of Callaway's second attack, would be relieved by marines immediately afterward. Harris, in fact, had allowed his 3d Battalion to start assembling for the move to the rear. General Hoge, however, viewed Callaway's two attempts as halfhearted and ordered a "bona fide" effort against the dam before the 7th left the line. 21


In ordering a third attempt to be made on the morning of the 11th, General Palmer authorized Colonel Harris to commit his entire regiment if he thought it necessary. Harris planned to launch a stronger effort in the belief that the Chinese defense of the dam consisted of mutually supporting positions in the heights immediately northwest of the Pukhan and on the two peninsulas on which the dam abutted and that reaching the dam required simultaneous attacks in all three areas. But he believed that he had neither sufficient supplies, particularly ammunition, nor the time to accumulate them for a full regimental advance. He planned to send a company of the 1st Battalion in a diversionary attack northwest of the Pukhan, to recommit the 2d Battalion on the western peninsula, and before dawn to dispatch the 4th Ranger Company reinforced with heavy weapons from Company M across the reservoir to attack up the eastern peninsula. He placed the 3d Battalion on call to reinforce the Rangers or pass through the 2d Battalion and occupy the dam site, whichever proved the necessary or better course. Two 8inch batteries of the 17th Field Artillery Battalion and a 155-mm. battery of the 1st Marine Division's 4th Field Artillery Battalion were now within range of Harris' objectives, but worsening weather-a mix of rain, sleet, snow, and fog-eliminated air support.22

Colonel Harris had considered a reservoir crossing operation on the 9th, alerting the 4th Ranger Company to that possibility and setting staff members to getting twenty assault boats from the division's 8th Engineer Combat Battalion. The engineers earlier had acquired amphibious equipment in anticipation of crossing operations at the Pukhan, but before Harris' request reached them they had returned part of the equipment to Ch'unch'on depots and turned the rest over to the marines relieving the division on the 10th. Attempts to retrieve equipment and transport it to the reservoir over the poor supply road produced just nine boats and four motors by the time set for the Rangers' crossing. Unable to obtain boat operators and mechanics in time for the operation, Colonel Harris hastily recruited from his own regiment men who had had some experience with motorboats.23

The Ranger company commander, Capt. Dorsey B. Anderson, embarked two platoons, artillery and mortar observers, and a machine gun section in the first lift. Concealed by darkness and paddling the boats to maintain silence, the first-wave forces reached the eastern peninsula undetected but were stopped by small arms and machine gun fire when they moved onto high ground above the landing point after daylight. Enemy fire striking the following waves of Rangers as they crossed the reservoir in daylight grew heavy enough to force part of the last lift to return to the south shore. Even with the bulk of the company available, Captain Anderson was unable to advance and by midmorning used most of his


ammunition in beating off counterattacks. Chinese troops meanwhile began moving across the dam from the western peninsula to reinforce those holding up the Rangers.24

As Anderson's attack bogged down, Colonel Harris ordered the 3d Battalion to the eastern peninsula. Company 1, which had assembled near the Rangers' embarkation point during the night, started across the reservoir about 1100. Forced by a shortage of boats to cross in increments, slowed to a paddling pace when most of the few outboard motors failed, and harassed by enemy fire, the company was not on the peninsula until midafternoon, and only one platoon by that time had joined the Rangers. Elsewhere, the diversionary attack across the Pukhan ended in its reconnaissance stage when intense fire from the northwest blocked all early morning attempts by a Company A patrol to search the still-swollen river for crossing sites. The 2d Battalion again lost momentum when its lead company, now Company E, stalled at the base of the western ridge under heavy fire from pillboxes above. All attempts to destroy the enemy fortifications with artillery fire failed. With the regiment stopped at every point, General Palmer, while Company I was crossing the reservoir to join the Rangers, authorized Colonel Harris to call off the attack. But Harris, though he no longer expected to occupy the dam area, deferred ending operations out of hope that by reinforcing the attack on the eastern peninsula he might be able to send Anderson's company in a raid to immobilize the dam's sluice gates.25

Following Company I's drawn-out reservoir crossing, however, Harris realized that the shortage of boats and motors would prevent the remainder of the 3d Battalion from reaching the peninsula before dark. Fearful of losing the Rangers and Company I to a Chinese night attack, he ordered them to withdraw. The Chinese made no attempt to follow the Rangers and Company I platoon as they withdrew piecemeal from their high ground positions to join the remainder of Company I on the beach. Bothered only by sporadic enemy fire, the two companies waited for darkness before shuttling forces to the south shore of the reservoir. Completing the return trip after midnight, they moved on to join the remainder of the regiment, which Harris had pulled back to line Kansas after ordering the evacuation of the eastern peninsula.26

As Harris began pulling his forces off the peninsula, General Hoge decided to forego any further separate action against the dam and authorized the relief of the 7th Cavalry by the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment on 12 April. Hoge attributed the 7th Cavalry's failure to reach the dam principally to the loss of surprise. Sharing the cause were hasty planning; shortages of equipment, particularly amphibious gear; and lack of normal direct support artillery fire. Certainly the canal-


ized terrain and the strength and fortified position of the defending forces also contributed. In any case, since General Ridgway meanwhile had ordered the opening of Operation DAUNTLESS, Hoge elected to wait until then, when the dam would be an objective of a full IX Corps advance to line Wyoming. The decision would not prove a great gamble. Although the Chinese had closed some of the sluice gates late on 10 April, they would not attempt to flood the Pukhan during the course of the DAUNTLESS operation.27

General Ridgway set an opening date for the DAUNTLESS advance late on 9 April after all but the X and ROK III Corps had reached line Kansas. (Map 31) While those two corps continued what had proved a battle more with terrain than with North Koreans, I and IX Corps forces were to start toward the Iron Triangle on the 11th. Utah, the initial objective line, arched eleven miles above Kansas between the Imjin River and the eastern slopes of Kungmang Mountain, its trace resting on the prominent Kumhak, Kwangdok, and Paegun mountain masses. The opening phase thus would be primarily a I Corps operation involving attacks by the 3d, 25th, and 24th Divisions while requiring only a short advance by the British 27th Brigade at the left of the IX Corps.28

Change of Command

The opening of the DAUNTLESS advance on the 11th coincided with a three-way change of command set in motion a week earlier when Congressman Martin, believing he "owed it to the American people to tell them the information I had from a great and reliable source," rose in the House and read the 20 March letter in which General MacArthur had reiterated, if mildly, some of his contrary opinions on how the war should be prosecuted.29 President Truman regarded the letter as one more instance of MacArthur's willful insubordination, and he reacted immediately. Between 6 and 9 April he met in closed sessions with Secretary of Defense Marshall, Secretary of State Acheson, General Bradley, and special assistant Averell Harriman to hear their views on what action should be taken against MacArthur. Truman had already decided that MacArthur should be relieved but wanted the record to show that he had acted upon the advice and with the support of his chief civilian and military aides. Only after 'receiving their unanimous recommendation of MacArthur's relief did he inform them of his prior decision. At the same time, he accepted the recommendations of Secretary Marshall and General Bradley that General Ridgway succeed MacArthur and that Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet, currently commanding the Second Army, take over the Eighth.30

Plans completed by the president and his advisers on 10 April called for MacArthur to be relieved summarily and for the dismissal to be presented to the


Map 31. Hwach'on Dam, 9-11 April 1951

public as a fait accompli. Behind both measures apparently was a desire to avoid taking the action amid outcries against the relief of a popular war hero, especially in the Congress where the Republican Party had gained considerable strength in the recent midterm election and where MacArthur had a dedicated following. The dismissal order was to be delivered to MacArthur by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, Jr., who had arrived in Japan on 9 April for a routine tour of the theater and at the moment was in Korea.31 To prevent any embarrassments that might result from a premature disclosure of MacArthur's relief, the dismissal order and Ridgway's reassignment order were to be sent in diplomatic code by Secretary Acheson to Ambassador Muccio at


the embassy in Pusan. Muccio was to pass the orders directly to Secretary Pace. Accompanying instructions from Secretary Marshall would direct Pace to return to Tokyo, arrange to meet MacArthur at 1000 on 12 April (2000 on 11 April, Washington time) at the general's American Embassy residence, and deliver the relief order personally and privately. Pace also was to arrange a simultaneous delivery of Ridgway's reassignment order by a Department of the Army staff member, Lt. Gen. John E. Hull, who was traveling with Pace.32

The careful plans for delivering the orders were upset almost immediately. Secretary Acheson dispatched the directives via commercial cable late in the afternoon of the 10th but at midnight was still waiting for Ambassador Muccio's signal of receipt; Unknown to Acheson or the cable company at the time, a power failure in Pusan had interrupted transmission of the orders. A Chicago newspaperman meanwhile asked Pentagon officials to confirm a tip from Japan, apparently from his paper's Tokyo bureau, that an important resignation was forthcoming. Either word of the impending command change had leaked, or, as General Bradley surmised, earlier press speculation and the White House meetings had led to "jumping at conclusions."33

When Bradley warned the president late in the evening of the 10th that the Chicago paper might print the story in its next edition, Truman instructed him to issue new orders immediately, in the clear and via the military communications system, one to General MacArthur relieving him, another to Secretary Pace in Korea so that General Ridgway could be informed of his new post.34 Truman also directed his press secretary, Joseph Short, to call a new conference at the White House at 0100 on 11 April to announce the command changes.35

As intended, Short's press conference virtually coincided with the arrival of the relief order in the message center of MacArthur's headquarters shortly before 1500 on 11 April, Japan time. But a half hour or more before the order was delivered to MacArthur at his residence, where he was entertaining lunch guests, he learned of his dismissal through an aide who had heard the news broadcast by a Tokyo radio station. Although accidental, the public disclosure in advance of official notice added an element of rudeness to the procedure of relief, which MacArthur viewed in all its aspects as a callous dis-


regard for ordinary decencies. Truman had ordered MacArthur to pass authority to Ridgway "effective at once."36 MacArthur thus directed General Hickey, the acting chief of staff, to assume command in Ridgway's behalf until Ridgway could take over personally.37

Word of the command changes took somewhat longer to reach General Ridgway and Secretary Pace, who on the morning of the 11th had gone to the I Corps front for a daylong tour of units involved in the DAUNTLESS operation. The second notice of Ridgway's elevation in command, sent by General Bradley over Secretary Marshall's signature, was relayed to Secretary Pace from Eighth Army headquarters late in the afternoon while he and Ridgway were visiting the headquarters of the 5th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Division. Late in the evening, after Ridgway and Pace returned from the front to Ridgway's Yoju command post, Pace received a call from the embassy in Pusan, which had finally received Secretary Acheson's cable. Ridgway and Pace flew to Pusan on the morning of the 12th to obtain any further information Ambassador Muccio could provide, then went on to Tokyo. There Ridgway and MacArthur, in the only conference they would have on the change of command, spent the late afternoon discussing the range of Ridgway's new responsibilities. Ridgway elected not to take command in person immediately but to return to Korea and direct Eighth Army operations until General Van Fleet, scheduled to arrive on 14 April, could take charge.38

In winding up affairs on 13 April, Ridgway put final touches to plans developed during his term of command for rotating Army troops.39 Under the rules established, officers and enlisted men alike would be eligible to return to the United States after serving six months in Korea with a division or other separate combat unit, a full year at higher levels of command or with separate service units, or a constructive year, such as three months with a combat unit and six months with a service unit. An eligible soldier could leave Korea, however, only after his replacement joined his unit. Over seventy thousand troops already were eligible under the length of service criteria. This backlog and troops earning eligibility later were to return to the United States in monthly quotas established on the basis of expected replacements. Since replacements currently exceeded casualty losses by more than 50 percent, Ridgway wanted the rotation processthe "Big R," as the troops would call it-begun before the month was out. The first quota of troops would leave Korea on 22 April.40

Ridgway rounded out his last full day in Korea by calling a conference at Yoju to canvass corps commanders for recent evidence of enemy offensive preparations and to discuss a plan completed


by his staff the previous day that was to govern withdrawals if enemy attacks forced the Eighth Army back from line Kansas. Three defense lines were established, these patterned much after lines B and C and the Seoul bridgehead occupied during the enemy New Year's offensive. Delta, the first line to the south, stretched coast to coast, centering on and running almost due east and west from Ch'unch'on. Nevada, the deepest line, also ran coast to coast, following the lower bank of the Han in the west, then sloping northeastward to the Yangyang area. For a defense of Seoul, which if successful would obviate a withdrawal to the Nevada line in the west, line Golden looped above the capital from a point on the Han six miles west of the city to a juncture with line Nevada near the town of Yongp'yong to the east.41

The officers meeting with Ridgway could offer little new information about the enemy's readiness to attack. Although the I Corps in pushing toward line Utah and the X and ROK III Corps in continuing toward line Kansas had encountered stiffening opposition over the past two days, the assault forces had discovered no indication that the enemy offensive was imminent other than the filling of tank traps previously dug along axes of Eighth Army advance. In the absence of other evidence, Ridgway and the assembled corps commanders agreed that enemy forces had no intention of attacking in the immediate future.42

General Van Fleet arrived in Korea at midday on 14 April. Earlier, in notifying General Ridgway of his successor in Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had authorized him to employ Van Fleet in some other capacity if, because of the expected enemy offensive, Ridgway wanted to retain direct control of the Eighth Army temporarily. Ridgway did not postpone Van Fleet's assumption of command, but in turning over the Eighth Army officially at 1700 on the 14th he instructed Van Fleet to inform him before sending forces above line Utah and reserved the right to approve any Eighth Army move in strength beyond the Wyoming line. Ridgway planned to incorporate the requirement for prior approval of operations above line Wyoming in a fuller letter of instructions after he established himself in Tokyo. He planned also to issue letters to General Stratemeyer and Admiral joy that would formally place limits on air and naval operations.43

Ridgway arrived in Japan during the evening of the 14th. General Hickey and William J. Sebald, Department of State political adviser for the occupation of Japan, met Ridgway at Haneda Airport and accompanied him to quarters in Tokyo's Imperial Hotel. Ridgway considered it a point of courtesy to avoid UNC headquarters until General MacArthur left for the United States. Sebald was present primarily to help General Ridgway prepare a statement concerning U.S. policy on the occupation and on the negotiations toward


a U.S.-Japan peace treaty which had opened in January. Apprehensive that the Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and his cabinet would resign as a gesture of responsibility for MacArthur's relief, Sebald had met with the prime minister late on the 11th to discourage such a step and to assure him that the change of command presaged no alteration of policy. Yoshida had told Sebald that there would be no resignation. Nevertheless, at the direction of President Truman, the U.S. representative in the treaty negotiation, John Foster Dulles, was currently en route to Tokyo to deliver the president's personal guarantee of no policy change. Ridgway's statement to the same effect was delivered to the press, Japanese and foreign, late on the 14th.44

Ridgway met with his staff for the first time on 16 April after attending early morning departure ceremonies for General MacArthur. Ridgway's first order appointed General Hickey Far East Command and U.N. Command chief of staff, the post Hickey had filled on an acting basis since September when General Almond, the officially designated chief of staff, had taken the X Corps into Inch'on. Ridgway felt "much personal pleasure" in rectifying what he regarded as a marked, if unintentional, slight to General Hickey. As Ridgway wrote later, "General MacArthur's ways were not mine."45

Before the month was out Ridgway issued instructions that defined, and confined, the latitude within which his ground, air, and naval commanders could operate. Written directives to General Stratemeyer and Admiral joy in the main only assigned over Ridgway's signature the missions previously undertaken by UNC air and naval forces. Similarly, Van Fleet's instructions were largely the guidelines under which Ridgway himself had operated: the general mission was to repel aggression against South Korea; Van Fleet could operate north of the 38th parallel but not above the combined trace of the Kansas and Wyoming lines without Ridgway's approval; operations were to aim not simply at gaining ground but at inflicting maximum personnel and materiel losses on enemy forces without incurring high casualties or risking the integrity of major units. Van Fleet also was to assume that he would receive no major reinforcements and that he might be ordered to hold a defensive line indefinitely, or to withdraw, or even to take his forces out of Korea.46

Although Ridgway did not alter previous missions in any material way by these instructions, he did formally attach a rein to each principal subordinate. He tightened the reins in a memorandum accompanying the directives. In marked contrast to General MacArthur's views on how the war should be conducted, Ridgway, aiming primarily at Stratemeyer and Joy since their forces were inherently more mobile than those of Van Fleet, demanded that his commanders avoid taking any action that might widen the war.


1 Eighth Army PIR 258, 27 Mar 51, and PIR 264, 2 Apr 51; Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, pp. 289-93; Field, United States Naval Operations, Korea, pp. 343-44; Cagle and Manson, The Sea War in Korea, p. 236.

2 Eighth Army PIR 266, 4 Apr 51.

3 Ibid. 261, 30 Mar 51.

4 Hq, FEC, History of the North Korean Army, 31 Jul 52; Hq, USAFFE, Intel Dig, no. 99, 2 Feb 53.

5 ROK reserves originally were known as the National (or Korean) Youth Corps, then as the National Guard, and later as the V Reserve Corps. Under cadres of regulars, the reserves operated ROK Army induction stations and, armed to some extent from ROK sources, took on internal security missions against guerrillas. President Rhee tried several times without success to coax the United States into arming the reserve units. They exceeded the ROK military establishment. that the United States planned to support.

6 Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Mar 51; Eighth Army, "Logistical Problems and Their Solutions"; Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, Mar 51.

7 Rad, GX-3-5348 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 29 Mar 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; 25th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51.

8 25th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; 24th Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; 24th Div G3 Jul, 4-6 Apr 51.

9 IX Corps Opn O 15, 30 Mar 51; IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; 1st Cav Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51.

10 Eighth Army G3 Jul, Sum, 6 Apr 51; IX Corps Engr Sec, Study of Hwachon Dam, 4 Apr 51.

11 Rad, GX (TAC) 58 KCG, CG Eighth Army to Eighth Army Engr, 28 Feb 51; Rad, G2-3871 KEN, CG Eighth Army Main to CG Eighth Army TAC, 28 Feb 51; Rad, GX (TAC) 75 KCG, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps and CG IX Corps, 6 Mar 51.

12 IX Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; IX Corps Engr Sec, Study of Hwachon Dam, 4 Apr 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 6 Apr 51.

13 Rad, GX-4-1372 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CG IX Corps et al., 6 Apr 51.

14 Interv, Blumenson with Gen Hoge, 15 Apr 51; Palmer, MS review comments, 1985. All interviews cited in this section are inclosures to Study, 1st Lt. Martin Blumenson, CO, 3d Historical Detachment, "Hwachon Dam," copy in CMH.

15 Intervs, Blumenson with Col William A. Harris, CO, 7th Cav, 18 Apr 51, and Maj James H. Webel, S3, 7th Cav, 16 Apr 51; 1st Cav Div G3 Jnl, 8 Apr 51; Palmer, MS review comments, 1985.

16 Intervs, Blumenson with Capt Arnold Frank, CO, Engineer Tech Intel Team, IX Corps, 15 Apr 51, and Capt George Mintz, Engr Intel Officer, IX Corps, 11 Apr 51.

17 1st Cav Div Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; ibid. G3 Jnl, 9 Apr 51; Intervs Blumenson with Hoge, 15 Apr 51, Webel, 16 Apr 51, and Frank, 15 Apr 51.

18 7th Cav POR 296, 9 Apr 51; Intervs, Blumenson with Lt Col John W. Callaway, CO, 2d Bn, 7th Cav, 17 Apr 51, Maj Russell J. Wilson, CO, 8th Engr Combat Bn, 18 Apr 51, Maj Paul Gray, S3, IX Corps Arty, 15 Apr 51, and Capt William W. Cover, Asst S3, IX Corps Art, 14 Apr 51; Palmer, MS review comments, 1985.

19 Intervs, Blumenson with Callaway, 17 Apr 51, Capt Dorsey B. Anderson, CO, 4th Rgr Co, 13 Apr 51, and Webel, 16 Apr 51.

20 Intervs, Blumenson with Hoge, 15 Apr 51, Harris, 18 Apr 51, Callaway, 17 Apr 51, Lt Col John Carlson, G3, 1st Cav Div, 18 Apr 51, and Maj Dayton F. Caple, Asst G4, 1st Cav Div, 18 Apr 51; 1st Cav Div POR 297, 10 Apr 51; 7th Cav POR 299, 10 Apr 51; Ltr, Col John W. Callaway to Maj Gen William A. Harris, 16 Oct 78, copy in CMH.

21 Intervs, Blumenson with Hoge, 15 Apr 51, Harris, 18 Apr 51, Webel, 16 Apr 51, Capt John R. Flynn, S3, 2d Bn, 7th Cav, 17 Apr 51, and Capt Thomas J. Kennedy, CO, Co 1, 7th Cav, et al., 16 Apr 51.

22 Intervs, Blumenson with Harris, 18 Apr 51, Lt Col Charles H. Hallden, CO, 3d Bn, 7th Cav, 16 Apr 51, Gray, 15 Apr 51, and Cover, 14 Apr 51.

23 Intervs, Blumenson with Harris, 18 Apr 51, Webel, 16 Apr 51, Wilson; 18 Apr 51, Anderson, 13 Apr 51, 1st Lt John S. Warren, Exec O, 4th Rgr Co, 13 Apr 51, and Hallden, 16 Apr 51.

24 Intervs, Blumenson with Anderson, 13 Apr 51, Warren, 13 Apr 51, and Webel, 16 Apr 51.

25 Intervs, Blumenson with Capt Carl W. Kueffer, S3, 1st Bn, 7th Cav, 17 Apr 51, Callaway, 17 Apr 51, Harris, 18 Apr 51, and Hallden, 16 Apr 51; Ltr, Maj Gen John G. Hill, Jr., to Maj Gen William A. Harris, 31 Aug 78, copy in CMH. General Hill commanded Company E in this operation.

26 Intervs, Blumenson with Harris, 18 Apr 51, and Webel, 16 Apr 51.

27 Interv, Blumenson with Hoge, 15 Apr 51; Rad, GX-4-1978 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 9 Apr 51; Palmer, MS review comments, 1985.

28 Rads, GX-4-805 KGOP, and GX-4-1978 KGOO, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 3 and 9 Apr 51, respectively; Eighth Army Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51; X Corps Comd Rpt, Nar, Apr 51.

29 Quoted in Trumball Higgins, Korea and the Fall of MacArthur (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 115.

30 Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, pp. 445-47; Schnabel, Policy and Direction, pp. 374-76; Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 521-22; Collins, War in Peacetime, pp. 284-85.

31 There have been other interpretations of Pace's purpose. In With MacArthur in Japan (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1965), William J. Sebald, political adviser to MacArthur for the occupation, writes that he assumed Pace's visit was connected with the Martin incident. The Welsh writer, Rees, in his Korea: The Limited War, states flatly that Pace was sent to Tokyo to prevent further provocations by MacArthur while his dismissal was being organized. In a 1975 interview conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Army Military History Research Collection, Pace himself stated that his Far East tour originally was a "routine inspection trip to Japan and Korea." He did add that shortly after reaching Tokyo he received a cable from Secretary Marshall instructing him to "proceed to Korea where you will wait until you hear from me," but he made clear that he went to Korea unaware of MacArthur's coming relief.

32 Testimony of Secretary Marshall, MacArthur Hearings, pp. 348, 422; Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 522-23; Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 376.

33 Acheson, Present at the Creation, p. 523; Schnabel, Policy and Direction, p. 377; Quotation is from Testimony of General Bradley, MacArthur Hearings, p. 747.

34 As Truman recalled some years later, Bradley warned him that if MacArthur learned of his relief before he received the official notice, he probably would resign. The prospect infuriated the president. MacArthur was not "going to resign on me," Truman responded, "I want him fired." See Miller, Plain Speaking, p. 305.

35 Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, pp. 449-50; Rees, Korea: The Limited War, p. 218.

36 Rad, JCS 88180, Bradley (Personal) for MacArthur, 11 Apr 51.

37 Collins, War in Peacetime, p. 285; Testimony of General Bradley, p. 1097, and Testimony of General MacArthur, pp. 26, 155, in MacArthur Hearings; MacArthur, Reminiscences, p. 395.

38 USAMHRC Senior Officer Debriefing Program, Interv, Lt Col J. Lapsey Smith with Mr. Frank Pace, Jr., 1975; Acheson, Present at the Creation, p. 523; Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, 12 Apr 51; Ridgway, Soldier, p. 223.

39 The Air Force and Marine Corps already had begun to rotate troops. The Navy rotated ships.

40 Eighth Army G1 SS Rpt, Mar 51; Mono, 1st Lt. Charles G. Cleaver, "Personnel Problems in the Korean Campaign," pp. 93ff., copy in CMH.

41 Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, 13 Apr 51; Rad, GX-4-2554 KGOP, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps et al., 12 Apr 51; Eighth Army G3 Jnl, Sum, 12 Apr 51.

42 Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, 13 Apr 51; MS, Ridgway, The Korean War, Issues and Policies, pp. 423-24.

43 Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, 14 Apr 51; Rad, JCS 88374, JCS to CINCFE, 12 Apr 51; Rad, GX-4-3070 KDC, CG Eighth Army to CG I Corps, 14 Apr 51 (announces change of command); Rad, CX 60388, CINCFE to EUSAK 19 Apr 51 (confirms oral instructions issued 14 Apr 51); Ridgway, The Korean War, pp. 162-65.

44 Eighth Army CG SS Rpt, 14 Apr 51; Ridgway, The Korean War, p. 161; Sebald, With MacArthur in Japan, pp. 228-31; Acheson, Present at the Creation, pp. 523-24; Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, p. 449.

45 Sebald, With MacArthur in Japan, p. 236; Ridgway, The Korean War, pp. 159, 163, 169-70; Interv, Appleman with Hickey, 10 Oct 51.

46 Ridgway, The Korean War, pp. 166-68, 267-68.

47 Ibid., pp. 165-66.

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