Blog Archives

Korean War (18)

Operation Ripper - Tanks of the 25th Div. cross the Han River, March '51

Operation Ripper – Tanks of the 25th Div. cross the Han River, March ’51

17 March 1951, Operation Ripper had started to meet its objectives. Ridgeway was handling the problems of bad weather and rough terrain by using Korean porters, with A-frames strapped to their backs, to assist the troops with the equipment. Large enemy forces appeared to be drawing north. MacArthur flew in wanting a jeep tour of the 1st Marine Division, making it his 12th visit to the country and the day before Hill 399 had been taken.

When Marshall returned to the Dai Ichi HQ in Tokyo, he received a complaint from Washington that they had not been informed of Operation Ripper; this time MacArthur was innocent, he did order Ridgeway not to cross the 38th parallel. With the UN in plans for negotiations, Gen. Marshall, Acheson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 19 March, drafted a proposal to rein in MacArthur and sent it to a vacationing Truman in Key West, FL. 21 March (in Japan), MacArthur responded that his existing orders gave him whatever authority he needed.

Operation Ripper

Operation Ripper

With a top-secret message NOT to cross the 38th, Ridgeway changed the operation’s name to Tomahawk on 23 March and made a drop at Munsan, north of Seoul and astride of the parallel. Ridgeway and his pilot, Lynch, took off to watch the paratroopers and saw that the planes had released them too early. While under fire, Lynch landed and told the men they were 10 miles off their target DZ (drop zone). He then led a squad out, silenced the enemy machine-gun and returned with 4 prisoners. The troopers turned the plane around so that he and the general could take off again and meet MacArthur at Kimpo airfield.

 MacArthur

MacArthur

MacArthur stayed at Kimpo a short time, but when he returned to Japan, he released a communique that thwarted efforts for easy peace talks. It was still 23 March when Robert Lovett, undersecretary of defense was made aware of the message by the Pentagon. He was at Dean Acheson’s home at the time, along with Dean Rusk and Soviet expert Alexis Johnson. The 4 men decided to wake Truman and demand MacArthur’s removal. “Newsweek” published a story stating that the general was in violation of orders from Washington and that he should stay out of foreign policy.

3 April, as I and IX Corps were about to start Operation Dauntless, MacArthur made, what he did not know, would be his final visit to Korea. Ridgeway met him at K-18 air base near Kangnung on the east coast and they went by jeep to Yangyang; recently occupied just above the 38th. He made his inspection and then returned once again to Japan. General Peng informed Beijing that he felt the meeting of the 2 generals must mean a frontal attack in the east coordinated with an amphibious operation on Wonsan and Tongchon.

General Peng, 1951

General Peng, 1951

6 April, Bradley brought a recommendation to Truman to authorize MacArthur on a preemptive nuclear strike if the Chinese decided to push south of the 38th. The Bomb, Truman said, might be used beyond Korea’s borders, but he would reserve the decision until the National Security Council’s special committee on atomic energy held their meeting. AEC Chairman, Gordon Dean, then gave Gen. Vandenberg authorization to transfer 9 nuclear cores.

Residents return to Seoul

Residents return to Seoul

7 April, the 99th Medium Bomber Wing picked up the bombs for delivery to Guam, not Okinawa as originally requested. The president had Paul Nitze draw up orders for MacArthur’s dismissal, it began bluntly, “You will turn over your command at once to Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgeway. You are authorized to have such orders as are necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you may select…” But, this was not yet signed.

On this same day, Judge Irving Kaufman made his famous decision on the fate of the otherwise notorious Rosenbergs. They were sentenced to die in the electric chair for treason.

9 April, The US I and IX Corps and the ROK I Corps, on the east coast fought their way to Line Kansas; this was the onset of Operation Rugged. From 11-14 April, the Fast Carrier Task Force (TF-77) began air operations in the Straits of Formosa. They were outside the 3 mile limit of mainland China to photograph possible targets on land.

Click on images to enlarge.

#####################################################################################

F-86 Sabre

F-86 Sabre

16 February 1951 – 27 July 1953, Wonsan was reduced to rubble by the longest siege in American Naval history. (I will include here, in future posts, only a handful of the individual battles fought during that period, the naval records for this is quite extensive.) Hugnam and Sagjim endured similar fates. In the air was the US F-86 Sabres, British Fleet Air Arm aircraft; the Australians and South Africans also supplied a fighter squadron each, to add to the existing UN force.

######################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

Phillip Nowak – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Howard Woltman – Westchester, IL; US Navy, WWII

Melvin Shapiro – Lauderhill, FL; US Navy WWII

Joseph Garbacz – Alexandria, VA; US Army Air Corps, Colonel Corps of Engineers (Ret.), WWII & Korea

Hugh Harvey – Childs, MD; US Coast Guard, WWII

######################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: