Korean War (23)

41st Royal British Commandos

41st Royal British Commandos

 

31 October 1951, the Communists agreed to a demarcation line for the armistice based on the MLR (Main Line of Resistance).  In response, Gen. Ridgeway ordered Van Fleet to not participate in any operation larger than a battalion (about 1,000 men) without authorization.  The Eighth Army offensive actions were basically brought to a halt and veterans began to return home.

17 November, the Americans proposed that the MLR should be the armistice line if the Chinese signed the papers within 30 days.  All they really resulted in doing was give the CCF a month to improve their positions.  During the reprieve, they constructed 77 miles of tunnels and 3,427 miles of trenches , which constituted a defensive line 14 miles deep and 155 miles long from coast to coast.  Then they allowed the deadline to run out.

Korean peace conference guard

Korean peace conference guards

1 December, the HMS Cockade was hit by shore battery fire while assisting a friendly-force evacuation from Tashwa-do after a Chinese assault.  There was one casualty.  Between 3-4 December, a unit of the 41st Royal Marine Commandos, from the USS Horace A. Bass, conducted a landing raid on the east coast to destroy enemy installations in an area around Tachon.

5 December, the enemy sortie count of 310 MiG-15s engaged or encountered by the U.N. air force was the highest amount in a single day as yet seen in the war.  By 12 December, an increase in air cover was ordered for troop movements (by sea) into Inchon.  This was a joint effort by the U.S. Navy and the FEAF (Far East Air Force)

17-18 December, Ung-do and Changyang-do, on the west coast , were overwhelmed by an enemy attack.  The guerrillas pulled out of the area to allow the planes to strafe and bombard the sector.

19 December, Operation Farewell went into effect at 0700 hours when one infantry battalion was airlifted by the 1st Marine Air Wing helicopters to Hill 864 and the occupying battalion of Hill 884 were returned and put in reserve.  Despite the high gusting winds of 30 to 40 knots, the mission went as planned.  This continued the following day with air support.  They received no fire from the enemy, but opposing the ground forces was the North Korean 1st, 15th and 47th divisions.  A coordinated air and sea bombardment was held on Wonsan as well.

 

HMAS "Tobruk"

HMAS “Tobruk”

Patrols were sent out at the Chaho-Hungnam area with orders to prevent the enemy from re-mining the sector, eliminate any enemy encountered, prevent any fishing and destroy any junks and small craft.  In the vicinity of Cho-do and Sokto Islands on the west coast, anti-invasion stations were assumed by the USS Manchester, USS Eversole.  HMAS Tobruk, HMS Alacrity and other UN ships.  The Tobruk received one hit from enemy shore fire while covering a LST landing.

 

West coast island map

West coast island map

22 December, a jet aircraft similar to a F-86 was spotted, the third such sighting in the past 2 weeks.  The FEAF considered this a confirmation of MiG-21s in Korea.  LST 661 was hit by enemy shelling from Sokto Island.  Two days later, the evacuation of 7,196 refugees off Cho-do, Taechong-do and Paengnyong-do Islands (west coast) was complete.

 

Wonsan Harbor map to show island locations

Wonsan Harbor map to show island locations

26 December, the ROK ship PC-740 (subchaser) blew up and sunk after striking a mine off To-do Island in Wonsan Harbor.  27 December, the enemy captured Sosuap-To on the west coast, but was re-captured 2 days later by friendly guerrillas.  The USS Eversole received strafing fire that night as they patrolled the waters south of Skto Island.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eugene Ostlund – Fargo, ND & Fredericksburg, VA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Abert “Tito” Leon – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, 2 tours Vietnam

Albert McElroy – Chicago, IL; US Army,  WWII

John Hough – Long Island, NY; US Navy, WWII

John Paul Christian – Silver Springs, MD; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 26, 2013, in Korean War, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. One thought that crossed my mind strongly as I read it was, “How could we be back at war again after such a bitter and brutal world war just ended six years earlier?” Obviously, the “players” (poor choice of words, I know) are the same…and at the end, young men are dead.

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    • Isn’t it awful! The progress of mismanagement of Korea, or should I say, the lack of concern for Korea caused this inevitable result; starting with more than half a century before the young men left for another war.

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  2. Hope and trust don’t work very well with enemies, unfortunately. Yet the yearning for peace must have been so strong at this point.

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  3. They used the month to dig in? Nooooo … surely not!

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  4. On average, how long does it take you to do research for a post?

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    • That’s hard to say. I have books on the subject that need to be read, notes taken, etc. Then I’m always checking magazines like Smithsonian that might apply and last but not least, the government websites. I started this research many years ago on my father’s division and just kept going. I start with a basic post and then as I double check facts, I may come across one of those rare stories and that gets inserted. That pretty much accounts for why some posts are about 500 words and others go over a 1,000.

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  5. I keep wondering how successfully areas of Korea have been de-mined. And there must still be tunnels every where.

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  6. like always, very good reading material, thank you for posting the information.

    ted

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  7. Amazing what was done in 30 days. I sent you a couple of WWII emails I thought you might like. Probably stuff you already know! 🙂

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  8. Well done. I always love the B&W photographs…the lack of color emphasizes the situations and are powerful statements.

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  9. Nice to see the HMAS Tobruk getting a mention.( What is unfortunate is that she was scrapped in early 1970’s I believe ?) What is amazing about the Korean War amongst Australians is that not a lot of us know of the contribution the Australian navy and army made there (regardless it was small compared to other nations) “Aussies” are obsessed with the two world wars and possibly the efforts made in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  10. Unbelievable that they used the time to reinforce themselves–hard to believe they dug over 3400 miles of trenches. Once again, very few people know this stuff–or care, unfortunately.

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  11. About the Mig-21 encounter…

    Can’t be.

    Source of information here on a forum. Very interesting.

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/post-war/mig-17-korean-war-33230.html

    Looks like it was a Mig-15 or a La-15. I am no expert, but I know it can’t be a Mig-21. I would go along with what is posted on that forum that it was a La-15 and not a Mig-17.

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    • I learned something new today…
      La-15.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavochkin_La-15

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    • I agree with you, Pierre. We know that now. The reports at the time had many sightings of unknown aircraft, (the naval reports list them all thru 1952) so they needed to designate them as something. The operative words here are “considered to be.” After a while, there were enough UN planes downed that the enemy put together in piece- meal fashion; operational aircraft with UN markings and were actually using our own planes against us.

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      • In that case they were refering to the Mig-17 not the Mig-21.
        The Mig-21 flew for the first time in 1955.

        The MiG-21 jet fighter was a continuation of Soviet jet fighters, starting with the subsonic MiG-15 and MiG-17, and the supersonic MiG-19. A number of experimental Mach 2 Soviet designs were based on nose intakes with either swept-back wings, such as the Sukhoi Su-7, or tailed deltas, of which the MiG-21 would be the most successful.

        Development of what would become the MiG-21 began in the early 1950s, when Mikoyan OKB finished a preliminary design study for a prototype designated Ye-1 in 1954. This project was very quickly reworked when it was determined that the planned engine was underpowered; the redesign led to the second prototype, the Ye-2. Both these and other early prototypes featured swept wings—the first prototype with delta wings as found on production variants was the Ye-4. The Ye-4 made its maiden flight on 16 June 1955 and made its first public appearance during the Soviet Aviation Day display at Moscow’s Tushino airfield in July 1956. (Wiki)

        The Mig-17 first flight in 1950.

        Serial production started in August 1951, but large quantity production was delayed in favor of producing more MiG-15s so it was never introduced in the Korean War. It did not enter service until October 1952, when the MiG-19 was almost ready to be flight tested. During production, the aircraft was improved and modified several times. The basic MiG-17 was a general-purpose day fighter, armed with three cannons, one Nudelman N-37 37mm cannon and two 23mm with 80 rounds per gun, 160 rounds total. It could also act as a fighter-bomber, but its bombload was considered light relative to other aircraft of the time, and it usually carried additional fuel tanks instead of bombs. (Wiki)

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  12. I have enjoyed reading your history of the Korean War!

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  13. Another excellent write — well done !

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