Monthly Archives: February 2014

Royal Australian Regiment and The Hook

2RAR bringing ammo to The Hook

2RAR bringing ammo to The Hook

 

9 & 10 July 1953 saw the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) relieving the King’s Regiment at the all too familiar Hook.  The 2nd RAR was given the left forward positions and the 3rd RAR the right flank bordering the Samichon River.  The Chinese defenders were no more than 200 meters from B Company/3RAR, at outposts Green Finger and Ronson.

A lot of work needed to be done at night to repair the bunkers and trenches from the May 1953 fighting.  A Contact Bunker, manned by a corporal and 6 men, situated in the “saddle” of the Hook, was established to connect the C Company of the left flank with the right flank of the 1st US Marine Division.  H Company/3rd Battalion was a 2RAR medium machine-gun position.  This was the Main Line of Resistance (MLR).

Outpost locations at the Hook

Outpost locations at the Hook

Very strong enemy pressure was being put on the infantry and on Hill 111, but this was not the enemy’s main objective; they were after outposts Berlin, East Berlin and Boulder City.  That did not stop the Chinese from battering the men on Hill 111 on 9 July and again, quite heavily, on 19/20 July.

Shelling and mortaring on all positions of the Battalion were constant and accounted for nearly all the casualties.  The nightly standing patrols were seldom missing a fire-fight.  It was afterwards revealed that enemy tunneling had occurred underneath the spur line to Green Finger .  As with all patrolling at this time in the war, the dash to make position first was important.  The loser usually had the most casualties.

A special report dated 24-26 July 1953 reads (condensed):

By 1200 hrs, 24 July, a very heavy build-up of wireless nets opposite the Commonwealth Div. was evident.  In a matter of hours, an attack of considerable size of the enemy were north and northwest of the Hook and others to the west for diversion.  Small groups moved in from the rear of Outposts Warsaw and Long Finger.

Simultaneously, the CCF was moving on OP Betty Grable and along the valley south of Seattle and Ronson, towards a point between Hills 111 and 121.  This latter group was about 5-8 strong and was flanked by 2 groups of about 10-15 each.  The task of these flanking groups was to make a fire corridor for the forward observation groups moving westward in order to allow them to get into position between the hills.

3 RAR, trench fighting patrol, July 1953

3 RAR, trench fighting patrol, July 1953

The movement of the southernmost forward observation group was successful; it got through although its flank guards were badly shot up.  Soon after it was giving fire directions onto friendly mortar positions from a sheltered spot.  The other group ran into difficulties and was not heard from again.  Heavy shelling and firing erupted especially at Outpost Betty Grable, who suffered heavy casualties.  But, the attacks were not very well organized and UN artillery, machine-gun and tank fire inflicted high enemy casualties as well.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Norman Anderson – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII

Joseph A. Bell – La Prairie, Manitoba; RC Navy, WWII (Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame)

Sid Caesar –  Yonkers, NY; USO, WWII (Comedian)Soldiers_saluting_siloutte1

Edward Cosentino – Chicago, IL; US Army, Colonel (Ret.), WWII

Alvie Followell – Brownwood, TX; WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers, 11th A/B

Patrick V. McCallum – New Orleans, LA & Plantation, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Leonard Miller – Burlington, VT & Miami, FL; US Army, Korea

William (Bill) Patterson – Christchurch, NZ; NZAF # 448085, Signalman

Emanuel Quartuccio – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Herman Shooster – Coral Springs, FL; US Army, medic, WWII, PTO

Ralph Waite – White Plains, NY; USMC, (beloved actor)

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Korean War (46)

HMAS Tobruk, Korean War

HMAS Tobruk, Korean War

 

15 July 1953, demonstrating their total disregard for life, communist ground forces suffered an estimated 27,973 casualties during their mass frontal attacks.  The HMAS Tobruk surprised and sank a large motor sampan in the vicinity of Songjin.

16 July, a 13-man combat patrol of the 5th Marines encountered and enemy squad; the enemy withdrew.  At 2400 hours, a 15-man recon patrol clashed with 30-40 of the enemy in an ambush supported by mortar and artillery fire.  Reinforcements arrived during the 45 minute battle, but when the enemy withdrew, 7 Marines were missing and believed captured.  The following day, the 5th Marines sent out a platoon         in the early morning to recover their 7 men – mission accomplished.

Chinese communist forces, Korean War

Chinese communist forces, Korean War

In the 7th Marines sector, a 30 man combat patrol engaged with 40-50 of the enemy in a short battle.  After which, the enemy withdrew, but one man was missing.  This search came up empty.  The next day, the 1st Korean Marine Corps RCT reported 4 separate engagements with the enemy.  In the 7th Marines, a 30-man combat patrol engaged 15 of the enemy.  

19 July, in the vicinity of the outposts Ingrid and Dagmar, the 7th Marines were attacked by enemy small arms, automatic weapons, mortar and artillery for one hour and 45 minutes.  Simultaneously, outposts Berlin and East Berlin were attacked by similar weaponry.  An intense fire fight resulted in heavy casualties and communications were lost.  The enemy continued to reinforce during the from their reserves on Hill 139. (This battle and more are in the following post as seen by the Royal Australian Regiment.)

Outpost Wars

Outpost Wars

20 July, at 0200 hours, the 2 outposts were reported as under enemy control.  Plans were initiated for a counterattack to begin at 0730, but the the Commanding General of I US Corps directed that this plan NOT be put into effect.  The division continued to reorganize and defend the MLR.

The CCF attacked with heavy artillery and took a ROK hill near the 187th RCT area of X-Ray Hill.  Chinese patrols were infiltrating and cuttine the barbed wire to enter the trenches.  Skirmishes continued for the next week.

Crew of the HMNZS Hawae, Korean War

Crew of the HMNZS Hawae, Korean War

21 July, about 150 North Korean soldiers attacked Ohwa-do island.  Utilizing 8 large junks, they swarmed ashore and succeeded in killing 7 officers and wounding 20 men.  The HMNZS Hawae arrived 4 hours later and enjoyed [what they called] a “fine turkey shoot” causing many enemy dead and wounded before evacuating the survivors.

24 July, heavy action erupted across the 1st Marine Division front lines and lasted 3 days.  In the 5th Marine sector, COP Esther was attacked by an enemy company at 2115 hours.  There was heavy fighting during which both sides reinforced.  Esther was secured the next day.

At 2040 hours, the MLR units of the 7th Marines on Hills 119 & 111 were attacked by 2 enemy battalions.  There was hand-to-hand combat at the trench-lines and was supported by mortar, artillery and tank fire.  At 2115 hours, the enemy began to withdraw, but some remained in the forward slope trenches.  The enemy was cleared out the following day.

CCF in action, Korean War

CCF in action, Korean War

26 July, action at the Berlin complex continued as an enemy company attacked Hill 119 again. It would see combat again at 2130 hours that night for about a ½ hour.  7th Marine artillery and mortar fire halted their advance.  Another enemy company stormed Hill 111 and engaged in hand-to-hand combat until the enemy withdrew and action ceased.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Botsford, Jr. – Washington DC; USMC, Corporal, Korea

An artist's view of war

An artist’s view of war

Alexander (Lex) Campbell – Mosgiel, NZ; RNZ Navy # 10884, WWII, the Ord Sea

George Combs – Emmitsburg, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII

John G. Gordon – Christchurch, NZ; RAF, WWII & RNZ Air Force Corps

David A. Laing – Vancouver, Canada; Royal Canadian Army, WWII

Larry Newman – Berrycille, AR; US Army, Colonel (Ret.), Korea & Vietnam

Brendon Richards – Venice, FL; USMC, WWII

C. Ronald Smith – Redmond, WA; US Navy, WWII, engineer in ship defense against magnetic mines

Mario Spagnuolo – Seaford, NY; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

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Korean War (45)

HMCS Athabsakan

HMCS Athabsakan

 

1 July, the HMCS Athabaskan trapped a southbound enemy train on the North Korean east coast.  The locomotive escaped, but about 20 boxes were left behind.  The USS Wiltsie and TF-77 joined in the operation and  17 of the boxcars were demolished.

8 July, during a battle with enemy shore batteries 10 miles south of Songjin, the USS Irwin received a shrapnel explosion near her mainmast.  This ruptured all electrical and electronic cables on the mast, seriously wounded the DESRON (Destroyer Squadron) – 24 commander and 4  other personnel were hurt.  Admiral Felix Stump took over as commander of the Pacific Fleet, relieving Admiral Hadford.

Nevada complex w/ Berlin outpost

Nevada complex w/ Berlin outpost

9 July, the 7th Marines were engaged with 2 companies of the enemy who were supported by artillery and mortar fire.  This occurred at COP (Command Outposts) Berlin and East Berlin.  The enemy withdrew after fighting for over 2 hours.

Major John F. Bolt, USMC

Major John F. Bolt, USMC

11 July, Major John F. Bolt, USMC, became the first jet ace in Marine Corps History when he shot down his 5th and 6th MiG-15 while leading a 4-plane F-86 flight in an attack on $ MiGs east of Sinui-Ju.  Major Bolt, who was on temporary duty with the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing of the 5th Air Force, was on his 37th sabre jet mission.  He used 1,200 rounds of ammo and 5 minutes to destroy the 2 enemy fighters.  Major Bolt passed away In September 2004.

John Bolt's ribbons

John Bolt’s ribbons

The communist gunners at Wonsan fired 48 rounds of 76 to 105mm at the USS St. Paul.  A 105mm hit gun mount #32 and damaged both guns.

12 July, the battleship, USS New Jersey fired 168 rounds of 16″ shells during a heavy gun strike in the Kojo area.  The big guns destroyed a radar tower, a control bunker and two bridges.  A 13 man recon patrol of the 5th Marines clashed with a 7-man enemy ambush.  After a short fire fight, all US troops returned safely.  A 39-man combat patrol of the 7th Marines engaged an enemy squad in a mortar and artillery battle; no reported casualties.

USS New Jersey engaging

USS New Jersey engaging

South Korean President Rhee was “persuaded” into accepting the terms of the armistice in exchange for military aid and a post-war alliance with the US.  But, this came too late to prevent a final communist attack; especially aimed at the ROK Army.  This began on the 13th and caused approximately 25,000 casualties on both sides in one week.

187th RCT

187th RCT

13 July, the CCF attacked IX Corps and broke through the ROK lines near Chorwon Valley.  The 187th Rakkasans moved across the valley and were in roughly the same position they had been in during the fall of 1952.  General Westmoreland sent the 1st Battalion onto Hill 624 to cover the corps’ front on what was described as “a black, rain-sodden night.”  Gen. William Barringer ordered Westmoreland, on threat of dismissal, to withdraw one battalion from a hill that was considered to be a key to the defense. (I was unable to locate the illogical reason for this order.)  A makeshift battalion of cooks, drivers and clerks were sent in their place.  Enemy fire was reported as persistent with firefights, sniper fire and infiltrators on a regular basis.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Theodaore Burtness – Centerport, NY; US Army, WWII

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross

William Bauers – Washington D.C.; US Airmy Air Corps, Colonel, WWII, Distinguished Flying Cross

Wm. Ronald Greer – Toronto, Canada; Royal Canadian Navy, WWII

Ralph Kiner – NYC; US Navy, WWII (Baseball Hall of Famer)

Lewis Leigh, Jr. – D.C.; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Victor Blyth Newman – Christchurch, NZ; MBChB NZ Army # 74600, WWII

Glen Myers – Franklin, PA; US Army Chaplain, 30 years

Robert F. Moog – Richmond, British Columbia; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Uganda

John Trapuzzano – Born: Tunisia; Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, Asia-Pacific Theater, Medical Unit

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1950’s President’s Day

vintage-double-american-flags-eagle1

 

In the 1950’s, there was no President’s Day, the holiday as it is today generated out of the 1980’s when holidays were being reorganized and celebrated on the Monday closest to their actual dates.  Therefore, during the Korean War era, the people of the U.S. had George Washington’s birthday to celebrate with family dinners, B-B-Qs and shopping for the best sales, whatever your heart desired.  Harry Truman said good-bye and “I Like Ike” was sworn in as President.  It was a great time to be growing up and for young WWII families that were just starting out…

Eisenhower sworn in as President

   Eisenhower sworn in as President 

Bye-Bye Harry

Bye-Bye Harry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800px-Washington_Bicentennial_1932_Issue2

Backyard BBQ

Backyard BBQ

 

 

Have a beer...

Have a beer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a ride in your new 1953 El Dorado

Take a ride in your new 1953 El Dorado

 

Too cold?  Have the family in for dinner...

Too cold? Have the family in for dinner…

 

 

...or go away for the long weekend.

…or go away for the long weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only today things seems to be like this……………

washington-3

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Baker – Scarborough, Ontario; Canadian Armed Forces, Corporal, Afghanistan

Frank Burke – Northbrook, IL; US Navy, WWII

Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Irving Cohn – Arlington, Heights, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Battle of the Bulge, Bronze Star

Vincent Dwyer – Malba, NY & Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Army, 242nd Infantry/ Rainbow Div., WWII, Purple Heart & Bronze Star

Hugh James Hamilton – Christchurch, NZ; RNZAF # 4215243

Thomas Lindsay, Sr. – Grand Rapids, MI, US Navy, WWII

Sherwood  Petry – Venice, FL; US Army, WWII

Leo Schlissel – Tamarac, FL & NYC: US Navy, WWII,  PTO

John Tillman Simpson – Greenforest, AR; US Army, WWII

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Korean War (44)

187th RCT returns to Korea

187th RCT returns to Korea

 

19 June, the 187th Airborne RCT (Regimental Combat Team) were ordered back to their Japanese base and to prepare for their third tour in Korea along with the 34th RCT from the 24th Division.   Their destination was to be sent outside Seoul.  The 674th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion also went to the front line, east of Chorwon Valley.  The truce talks halted due to the POW camp breakouts caused by Rhee.

674th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

674th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

20 June, nine enemy propeller aircraft bombed Seoul close enough to shake President Rhee’s residence.  This action killed two and injured 8 people.

23 June, Chinese communist troops from the Haeju area invaded Yongmae-do island held only be a small friendly garrison.  The HMAS Culgoa (k-408), evacuated the forces.  Two days later the CCF withdrew and the evacuees returned.

HMAS Culgoa

HMAS Culgoa

25 June, the Korean War entered its fourth year.  The 7th Marines were put on alert status when strong enemy probes struck in the sector of the 1st ROK Division of I Corps.

Task Force 77 deployed four F4U-5N Vought Corsair aircraft to the 5th Air Force because of repeated night attacks on Seoul by what was believed to be of the PO-2 type.  The 5th Air Force previously had not possessed propeller driven night fighters.

F4U-5 at Kimpo, Korea

F4U-5 at Kimpo, Korea

30 June, a night pilot from the USS Princeton, on TAD (temporary additional duty) at Kimpo  airfield, proved that the F4U-5N’s could effectively defend Seoul against the enemy’s slow propeller plane bight attacks by shooting down two of their YAK-18s.

Yak-18

Yak-18

Marine Aircraft Group 12 (Sgt. James O’Leary, my uncle, was with this unit) flew a record breaking 217 combat sorties and dropped an all-time high of 340 tons of bombs and napalm on the enemy.  American Navy and Marine pilots racked up 9,238 sorties during the month of June.  In addition to this, the British Navy pilots flew 864 sorties.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Burke, Sr. – Charlottesville, VA; US Army, Colonel (Ret.)

Earl Capper – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Gino Cicchetti – Sarasota, FL & Trenton, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Marine in Korea w/ kitten, courtesy of NJBiblio.com

Marine in Korea w/ kitten, courtesy of NJBiblio.com

 

David Denyer – Christchurch, NZ; Trewhitt Regiment RNZAF # 71769, Ft. Lt.

Adam Filipek – Evanston, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Missouri

William Peters Jordon – Toronto, Canada; RCN, WWII

Thomas Pawlowski – Chicago, IL; US Navy, Korea, submarine service on: Queen Fish, Carp & Sea Fox

Edward George Sawyer – Christchurch, NZ; RAF Squadrons 203, 345, 230, Service # 1320219

Roger Weaver – Pittsburgh, PA & Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Air Force, Korea

John Zaremski – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

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Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

High ranking commanders were assured beyond any doubt that Outpost Harry was to be attacked by a numerically superior Chinese force.  It was ordered that the 15th Infantry Regiment, a more experienced and battle tried unit be made responsible for the area, no later than 6 June 1953.

Harry is situated some 425 yards northeast of the friendly MLR, which is on a southeast/northwest line from the Chorwon Valley to the Kumwha Valley.  The hill is approximately 1280 feet high and is located 320 yards south and part of a larger hill mass occupied by the enemy known as Star Hill.  The post itself contains a communications trench which runs 315 yards to the forward observer bunker.  Here is where it joins another trench and makes a complete circle around the forward position, referred to as The Loop.  To the rear of this, another trench helps in support of defense for the right side.  The left side had a very steep drop.

Lt. Markley, K Company, in front of the company mess

Lt. Markley, K Company, in front of the company mess

Aerial reconnaissance from 1-8 June showed increased enemy activity: construction of new antiaircraft artillery positions, self-propelled gun revetments, artillery positions, supply bunkers, personnel bunkers and new bridge and road improvements.

The increased enemy counter battery fire on friendly artillery positions increased from 275 per day up to 670.  10 June at 2130 hours, an ambush patrol, west of OP Dick in the sector of the Greek Battalion, reported Chines numbering approximately 250 coming out of OP Jackson Heights.  This was recognized as an enemy feint; word came down that the CCF were in the trenches on OP Harry.  Bitter hand-to-hand combat was engaged by Company K/15th Infantry and the Chinese were killed or driven back.  The enemy reinforced their attack 4 more times during the early morning hours and were in the trench on the north side by 0430 on 11 June; repelled one hour later.

Greek Battalion, Korea

Greek Battalion, Korea

12 June at 0005 hours, the enemy moved through their own artillery, then friendly artillery and reached the rear of the outpost.  Another CCF attack occurred at 2200 hours and fought off in 47 minutes.  However, 3 hours later the CCF attacked from the north, northeast and northwest.  Bitter hand-to-hand fighting ensued as the enemy gained the trench on the north slope.  Company L reinforced and by 0450 hours the enemy was forced to with draw.  A platoon of tanks from the 64th Tank Battalion plus one platoon of infantry was dispatched as a diversionary force and all action ceased for the day.

13 June, action was sporadic with light enemy artillery and mortar fire falling on the outpost and MLR.  But, during the night of 14-15 June, about 0125 hours, the CCF moved through friendly artillery and defensive fires  and gained the rear trenches of the OP.  All during the intense hand-to-hand fighting the CCF reinforced, but friendly forces held OP Harry.  Company E/15th Infantry was committed to reinforce and again, another diversionary force was dispatched and action ceased.

The outpost wars

The outpost wars

It was a quiet night on 15-16 June and the regimental commander placed the GEF Battalion (Greek Expeditionary Force) in the area so that the battle-weary US battalions, all of which had suffered heavy casualties, could refit and reorganize.

On 17-18 June, the CCF returned at 0052 hours but were repelled.  At 0240 hours, the enemy attacked from the north under intense artillery and mortar fire.  They gained the trenches of the OP on the north slope at 0313.  Bitter hand-to-hand combat ensued as the enemy tried to reinforce.  Company N/GEF Battalion was committed to reinforce while one platoon of tanks from Heavy Tank Company/15th  and one platoon from Greek Infantry were dispatched to the valley east of OP Harry.  By 0402 hours, the enemy was forced out of the trenches and all action ceased with the enemy withdrawing, having fired 22,000 rounds in support of this attack.

Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

During this period the entire 74th CCF Division was utilized against this position and at the end of the engagement was considered combat ineffective.  Enemy rounds fired in support of their attack during the period 10-18 June amounted to 88,810 rounds over 81mm size: friendly mortar and artillery units in conjunction with friendly tank fires were 368,185 rounds over 81mm size.

Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute –

Mattie Baskin – Clarksville, AR; WAVES, WWIIVeterans_Day-thanks

Walter Chad – Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; RCAF, WWII

Louis Darin – Mattituck, NY; USN, WWII

Patricia Elizabeth Davidson (nee Stribling) – Ashburton, NZ; NZWAAC # 820183, 1942-48

John Imbra – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Steve Kingsley – Tampa, FL; US Army, Korea

James Rafferty, Sr. – Massapequa, NY; US Navy, WWII

Frederick Thompson – Arcadia, OK; US Navy, Korea

Warwick Kiernan Whelan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZAF # 441842, WWII

Bill Wicker – Oklahoma City, OK; US Navy; WWII, PTO

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Personal note – I was privileged to receive a link to a fellow blogger who had written a wonderful tribute to a veteran and a child.  If you get the time, I’m certain you will enjoy it as well, please read HERE.

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Associated Press View

Snygman Rhee

Snygman Rhee

To better describe some of the difficulties the United Nations was having with Pres. Syngman Rhee, I have interrupted my post schedule and  inserted this article from The Canberra Times, Tuesday, 9 June 1953:

Seoul, Monday,

Pres. Syngman Rhee said today that the “Korean people will pay no attention” to the signing of an armistice at Panmunjom.  Pres. Rhee was quoted by American Associated Press as saying, “Our boys are fighting the Communists on the front and now they want to open the back door and let the Communists in that way.  “I am being criticized by everyone – except the Korean people.”

Copy of actual article, Canberra Times, 9 June 1953

Copy of actual article, Canberra Times, 9 June 1953

Dr. Rhee made his statement a few minutes after the South Korean Cabinet and the nation’s Assembly representatives had resolved to continue the war against the Communists.  Pres. Rhee has denounced the proposed armistice because it does not call for the withdrawal of Chinese Communist troops.

In a speech yesterday he threatened that his forces would march north against the Communists if a cease-fire were not reached on his terms.  Dr. Rhee told Reuters today he “had not made up his mind” about a reply to Pres. Eisenhower’s letter offering to negotiate a mutual defense treaty with South Korea after   the armistice was signed.

Later, however, he issued a statement to the people warning against any violence against United Nations personnel in Korea.  He said there was a strong possibility of spontaneous demonstrations and popular campaigns against the United Nations move.  He cautioned his people against “improper words or deeds” against Allied nationals.  “We should not harbour any hard feelings against them or resent them.  Instead, we should reassert our determination to risk our lives to fight on to a decisive end in case the United Nations accepts the truce and stops fighting.”

ROK troops, Korean War

ROK troops, Korean War

National police were alerted today to guard United Nations installations throughout Korea in the event of any trouble….  The South Korean Government today plastered walls in Seoul with thousands of posters saying, “The United States, which is responsible for the division in Korea following WWII, has a duty to unify it.”  They appeared at every available site, printed in English and Korean.  They added, “We will oppose with force the landing of Indian or other Communist nation representatives on Korean soil.  Young men fight, march and unify the Fatherland.”

Asked what steps would be taken by UN forces in Korea if the South Koreans ignored a cease-fire, the official would say only that plans had been made for every contingency.  According to Lt.Gen. Maxwell Taylor, 8th Army Commander in Seoul, South Korea’s army could not by itself sustain a successful offensive against the Communists in North Korea…  Gen. Taylor said the loss of more than a dozen Allied outposts in recent weeks was not serious to the Allied cause….

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Pres. Eisenhower & Gen. Van Fleet

Pres. Eisenhower & Gen. Van Fleet

The letter from Pres. Eisenhower that was mentioned was briefly explained in another article. – excerpts:

According to Gen. Clark, it was in effect serving notice on Mr. Rhee that the Allies were prepared to go ahead with the armistice, and offering consolation commitments, such as a security pact…  The letter said, “We could not be justified in prolonging the war, with all the misery in involves, in the hope of achieving by force the unification of Korea.”

Economic and military aid was also promised in the letter.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Claude Acton – Indianapolis, IN; US Navy, WWII

Thomas Newton Bevans – Falls Church, VA; USMC, SSgt., WWII, PTO

Ray Calley – Westland, NZ; RNZ # 5551, King Empire veteran

The Missing Man formation

The Missing Man formation

Sidney Camras – Chicago, IL; US Army Medical Corps, WWII & Korea

Arthur Owen Hildahl – Yuma, AZ & Seattle, WA; USMC, PTO, WWII

William Wilson Jones – Kipling Acres, Canada; RCAF, WWII

Steve Kingsley – Tampa, FL; US Army, Korea

Walter McGilligan – Geraldine, So. Canterbury, NZ; RNZAF # 432038

Robert Vozzola, Sr.; – Manassas, VA; 80th Fighter Group in Burma and India, WWII

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Korean War (43)

Bombing raid

Bombing raid

In June 1953, the us 8th Army made the decision to not try and take back outposts Vegas, Elko and Carson that had been overrun by the Chinese in late May.  With an armistice apparently imminent, destruction of North Korean airfields became the prime targets for the naval air effort.  Thailand naval officers began their training to conduct mine-sweeping during this month.

"Clarion River" LSMR-409

“Clarion River” LSMR-409

4 June, the shore guns from Wonsan scored 2 direct hits on the USS Clarion River LSMR-409 causing 5 casualties and damaging the mess compartment and radio room.  (Wikipedia states that the LSMR-409 received no damage.  My statement comes from the US Naval records.)  The enemy had fired 30 rounds of 76mm before being silenced by over 200 rockets fired by the LSMR in retaliation.

7 June, Typhoon Judy, which crossed over the Japanese island of Kyushu, delayed Task Force-77’s flight operations for three days.

East view of MLR

East view of MLR

7-19 June, during this period the naval air efforts were primarily against the CCF front lines and supporting the counterattacks as the enemy attempted to gain as much ground as possible during the talks.  Flight operations were carried out on a round-the-clock basis and were not suspended for fueling operations.  Replenishment ships were retained with the task force and effected what might have been the largest scale night replenishment operation ever attempted by any navy.  Nighttime hostile aircraft activity was seen near Chodo.

West view of the MLR

West view of the MLR

9 June, the communists launched their largest offensive ground campaign in 2 years by sending 4-8 divisions against the ROK II and US X Corps fronts.  The enemy pushed the ROK troops back about 3 miles per week.  This terrain was without any military or tactical importance and was done by the CCF without regard for the human life of their troops. (By the 15th, 16,300 of the enemy were killed or wounded.)  It merely offered propaganda support for their willingness to sign an armistice while they were “winning the war.”  According to the naval history sheets, all-out air strikes from 4 US carriers in support of the UN ground troops was a herculean effort.

F9F "Able Eagles" Pohang 1953

F9F “Able Eagles” Pohang 1953

10 June, 68 F9Fs from VMF-115 (the “Able Eagles”) and VMF-311 (the “Fighting 311th), spread napalm on a 333-building troop billeting area in the Chaeryong area.  Recon photos later showed that 230 buildings were destroyed and 40 damaged.

13 June, the action behind the wire in one of the POW camps was reversed – Korean non-repatriate prisoners beat up on 8 communist agents, killing one.

14 June, in an effort to slow the communist offensive, YF-77 aircraft struck the Hasepori marshaling yard, a supply bottleneck for the Red Army.  In support of UN troops, the carriers of TF-77 launched no less than 508 sorties.

Polikarpov U-2 "Night Heckler"

Polikarpov U-2 “Night Heckler”

16 June, one enemy PO-2 (Polikarpov U-2 also known as “night hecklers”), was shot down by an AD (Douglas Skyraider) over front lines.  Two unidentified enemy planes dropped 5 bombs on the POL dump at Inchon, causing considerable damage.  Fire ignited 97,950  93-gallon drums and 48,000  5-gallon drums of petroleum products.

17-19 June, still furious at the US and in an attempt to sabotage the peace negotiations, Pres. Syngman Rhee ordered the ROK troops to release all enemy POWs.  Approximately 25 to 27,000 escaped from Sangmundai, Nonsan and Masan POW camps with the aid of the soldiers.  That night, North Korean POWs in Camp No. 10 near Abcom City attempted a breakout.  The Marines of the 1st Shore Party Battalion were the only Americans available to try and stop the breakout.  Forty-one prisoners were killed, one Marine wounded and 469 POWs were missing.  Company A of the Amphibian Tractor Battalion were sent to support the guards the following day.

11-20 June, a combined total of 703,637 of artillery and mortar fire fell on UN troops during this 10 day period, surpassing any previous record.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Alstrin – VillaPark, IL; US Army, Koreaplane-gun

Elaine (nee Cole) Andrrews – Christchurch, NZ;  WAAC, Cpl.

Edward Cynar – McLean, VA; US Army MSgt., WWII

Jean Elizabeth Geyer – Seattle, WA; Red Cross & India, WWII

Bobby Lugabihl – Lithia, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Thomas McClennan – Kerikeri, NZ; RNZE # 43077, Cpl., Egypt & Italy

Malcolm Mellington, Jr. – Washington DC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Hugh Miller – Webster City, Iowa – US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, D-Day

Donald Phillips – Chicago, IL; USMC, Korea

Barend (Barry) Volkers – Dauphin, Manitoba; 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, WWII

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Korean War (42)

 

USS Maddox (DD-731) in Korea

USS Maddox (DD-731) in Korea

1 May 1953, enemy shore guns on Hodo Pando scored one direct hit on the USS Maddox and one near miss at the USS Owen.  The communists fired over 200 105mm shells at the destroyers during their attack.  Both ships had minor material damage to their hulls.

USS James C Owens (DD-776)

USS James C Owens (DD-776)

The 1st Marine Division assumed control of the 14th Infantry Regiment and the 5th Marines and opened a new command post at Camp Casey.  A combat patrol engaged in a small fire fight, as did the recon patrol.  By 7 May, the 1st Marine Division, after 20 months of fighting, was relieved and deployed to rear areas.

Company G of the 2nd Battalion/65th Infantry Regiment/3rd Infantry Division relieved element of the 2nd Battalion/15th Infantry Regiment on outpost Harry during daylight hours 15 May on Line Missouri.  On the night of 15-16 May, they were required to defend the outpost and defeated an intended 3-prong attack by a battalion size enemy force.  Fourteen Bronze Stars were awarded to 4 officers and 10 enlisted men as a result of their performance.  From 15-31 May, this unit had 38 ambush patrols, one raid and 4 miscellaneous combat patrols.  Seventeen of the regiment were KIA.

Line Missouri

Line Missouri

13-16 May, 5 main irrigation systems were bombed on the Yalu River.  The flooding that resulted caused the destruction of the enemy’s rice crop.  16 May, in a message intended for Mao Tse-tung, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, told President Nehru of India that the U.S. would use the A-bomb if necessary.

 

25 May, all sides at the Panmunjom peace talks accepted a modified version of the UN General Assembly Resolution 610 (originally written back on 3 December 1952), whereby prisoners of war who refuse repatriation should be passed to a Neutral National Reparations Commission (NNRC) supervised by India.  South Korean President Syngman Rhee went into such a rage that became so bad that Eisenhower considered using Plan Ever-Ready.  This was a contingency plan to depose him and seize control of the South Korean government.

Panmunjom peace talks building

Panmunjom peace talks building

27-28 May, in an effort to silence the ever increasing enemy coastal battery activity, the USS New Jersey joined TF-77 aircraft in a heavy air/gun strike on Wonsan coastal defenses.

Shortly after midnight, 6 enemy aircraft bombed a United Nation airfield and the POL (petroleum or oil) pipeline between Inchon and Yongdungpo.  One man was injured, 2 F-80s and one F-86 received minor damage and the POL pipeline was punctured.

The 1st Marine Division units prepared for 8th Army CPX (Command Post Exercise).  Strong enemy attacks in the US I Corps sector caused the alerting of the 1st Marines for a move to blocking positions.

29 May, the 8th Army CPX was postponed because of a continuation of enemy attacks across the Army front.  The 1st Marines passed to operational control of I Corps and moved into positions in the 25th Infantry Division sector.  The Recon Company moved in along the east bank of the Imjin River.

Reno, Vegas and Carson outposts marked

Reno, Vegas and Carson outposts marked

30 May, Outposts Vegas, Elko and Carson had fallen due to persistent enemy attacks.   31 May, at the 5th Marines parade field, MGeneral Pollock and RAdmiral Harp, Jr., Chief of Naval Chaplains, conducted Memorial Day ceremonies.

Click on images to enlarge.

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WWII Update – 

3 February is the day set aside to recognize the sacrifices of the four chaplains during WWII.  I regret that this information is belated, my apologies.  For the remarkable story  – Read –

The Four Chaplains Stamp

The Four Chaplains Stamp

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WWII Update – 

The Japanese soldier who refused to surrender…

Courtesy of The Week magazine

Courtesy of The Week magazine

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Farewell Salutes – 

Hubert DeBolt – Gig Harbor, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII PTO, Company A/127 Engineers

Alan Friedland – Boca Raton, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Missing in Action tags

Missing in Action tags

Albert Gonzalez, Sr. – W.Tampa, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa

Alexander LePage – Tampa, FL; US Navy, WWII and then US Air Force (Ret.)

Joseph Mann – NY, NY & Miami, FL; US Navy, WWII

Ronal James McDougall – Ashburton, NZ; Serv. # 648638, bombardier, 25 Battery J Force

Robert Shawver – Oklahoma City,OK; US Navy, WWII

David John Smith – Rangiora, NZ; Serv. # 098687, 23rd Battalion, WWII

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Pork Chop Hill

Pork Chop Hill

Pork Chop Hill

Officially this area was designated Hill 255, but its contour lines and a 1959 film made it famous as Pork Chop Hill and as a two-day battle in April 1953.  In reality, that hill claimed the lives of soldiers from the United States, Thailand, Columbia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China in a series of battles that went on for more than a year and did not end until the armistice.

Much of the focus on Pork Chop was a result of Communist political structure; whenever negotiations reached critical stages, the Chinese military was used to test the UN’s will and stamina on the battlefield.  On the night of 23 March, elements of the CCF 67th Division and the 47th Army’s 141st Division launched simultaneous ground assaults on Old Baldy, Pork Chop and Hill 191.

Pork Chop/Hill 255

Pork Chop/Hill 255

In April 1953, two platoons of E Company/31st Regiment/7th Division, under 1st Lt. Thomas Harrold, garrisoned Pork Chop.  The total strength within the perimeter came to 96 men, including attached artillery, engineer and medical personnel.  The 1st and 3rd platoons mustered only 76 riflemen, and 20 of them were stationed at listening points outside the perimeter.

At 2000 hours on 16 April, a patrol from the 31st Infantry, consisting of 10 GIs from Fox Company and 5 from Easy, advanced to withing 100 yards of the shallow stream at the valley bottom and set up an ambush.  About 2300 hours, about 50 CCF approached and Sgt. Henry Pidgeon threw grenades at them – and the battle was on.  He ordered the patrol back, but they were cut off.  The advance patrol’s encounter failed to raise alarm among Pork Chop’s defenders and 2 full companies of CCF infantry reached the ramparts before anyone knew they were there.  Sgt. Carl Pratt and his 1st Platoon troops could hear the enemy, but remained in their bunkers because of the heavy Chinese shelling.  The 3rd Platoon, separated from it by terrain, was unaware of the 1st Platoon’s situation and increasing peril.

a sight of war as artillery falls

a sight of war as artillery falls

The 3rd Platoon was pinned in the bunkers, while only 6 wounded soldiers remained of the 1st Platoon.  By systematically killing the occupants and capturing the bunkers, the CCF , aided by reinforcements, secured most of the hill by 0200 hours.   Returning to Love’s command post with only 12 men, 2nd Lt. Denton reported to the company commander, 1st Lt. Forrest Crittendon, that the 3rd Platoon’s attack had failed.  The battalion commander, Lt. Col. John Davis, ordered King and Love companies to counterattack at dawn.  Love would launch its second assault with only 2 platoons and incredibly, never knew it was in a joint operation with King Co.

With the 2nd Platoon deployed on the right, the 1st on the left and the 3rd in reserve, King Co. reached the assault line.  At 0430 hours, the artillery barrage lifted and King stepped off.  Although they were not fired on, it too King’s men 29 minutes to travel 170 yards to the nearest bunker.

engagement

engagement

As the battle entered its second round, Love Company had launched its second attack about the same time as King, but met a Chinese barrage more intense that the earlier one.  Both of its platoons were crushed and sent tumbling back to Hill 200, leaving King Company on its own.  Sgt. Maxwell stated, “Pork Chop was a maze, a rat’s nest of bunkers, line and commo trenches, shell holes and rock clumps.  The Chinese kept feeding fresh troops into their counterattacks.  We fought with the men we had and every hour, we numbered less.”

At 1640, Clemons reported to the regiment, “We have about 20 men left, if we can’t be relieved, we should be withdrawn.”  Gen. Trudeau decided to hold the hill.  Col. Kern ordered Capt. King of Fox Company to move onto Pork Chop and relieve Clemons’ force as soon as possible.  Fox’s troops arrived at 2130 just as the CCF attack.  Fox Co. lost 19 men.  This battling went on throughout the night.

2919517813_6e49e20d2d_b

Pvt. Angelo Palermo, 21, Able Co./17th Infantry, said, “The Chinese were on their loud speakers telling us to surrender.  If we did not, they said, we were all going to die.  On the night of 6 July, as it started to get dark, the Chinese attacked in force.  I was on a .50-caliber machine-gun when they started to swarm up the hill.  I could have sworn that all of China was on that slope.  We fired till we ran out of ammo and by that time the Chinese were in our trenchline, so we fought them with rifle butts, bayonets and even fists and helmets.”

11 July, General Taylor ordered the hill abandoned, Col. Harry Summers was critical of this decision, calling it a political move and Marshall Peng praised the outcome as an example of Chinese effectiveness.

With the signing of the armistice, Pork Chop Hill became part of the demilitarized zone.

Much of this article was written by James Marino and published in the April 2003 issue of “Military History” magazine. [The remainder was gpcox from research notes.]

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alan Brunt, Sr. – Lithia, FL; US Army, Vietnam, Purple Heart & Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Bronze Star

Charles Buckenberger – Port Richie, FL; US Army, WWII

Stephen Farris, Jr. – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, Colonel (Ret. 30 yrs.) WWII, fighter pilot

Victor Frankenberger – Rochester, NY & Homosassa,FL; USMC, Korea

Stanley Gould – Waihi, NZ; Serv. No. NZ 15438

Winifred Knott – Falls Church, VA; 60 years Dept. of Defense service, Exec. Secretary, Fort Belvoir, VA

Frank Noel – Albany, NZ; WWII, RAF # 572283 & RNZAF # 76731

Edward Repicky – Cleveland, OH & Tampa, FL; US Navy, WWII

Bennie Stave – Fremont, NE; US Army Air Corps, 511th A/B, WWII, PTO

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