In many ways, it has been considered a forgotten War. In between the devastation of World War II and the extreme controversies of the Vietnam War, The Korean War is just a whisper in cases where a Korean War veteran is present, and completely quiet when no one who was there is around.
But with all the political moves as of late between President Donald Trump and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, the Korean War has come to closer attention… A War that really never officially ended until just recently… Or has it?
I recently wrote a post about the start of the Korean War; when North Korea invaded South Korea and the United States rushed in and General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur was given the command of the United Nations forces.
By the time of their arrival, the North Koreans had captured Seoul and had killed many South Koreans and drove many more to the Southern boundaries.
The U.N. Defensive set up a strong perimeter at Pusan going approximately 100 miles North and 50 Miles East. The North Koreans tried several times to break this defense, but they were stopped. It was now time to go on the offensive before the North Koreans could find a way to annihilate them.
In today’s post, I am going to take you through the U.N. Offensive in the Korean War.
“You are remembered for the rules you break.” Douglas MacArthur
September 15th To The 29th, 1950
The plan was daring… General MacArthur had planned and ordered an amphibious landing of troops and equipment at Inchon which was West of Seoul by a short distance. Keep in mind, the North Koreans controlled this area.
Major General Edward Almond was in command of the assault troops.
On September 15th, the 1st Marine Division captured Wolmi Island just off the coast of Inchon. Those Marines pressed forward into the port on the 16th during high tide. The Marines moved toward Kimpo Airfield and Seoul.
The 7th Infantry Division also came ashore with some joining the Marines while others moved Southeast toward Suwon.
The troops captured Kimpo Airfield on the 18th which gave strips for Navy supply planes to land. The 187th Royal Canadian Troops were flown in to add to defensive forces for the airfield.
There was heavy fighting but on the 29th of September, Seoul was returned to the South Koreans.
During this whole time, the Eighth Army as well as other U.N. troops along with South Korean troops pushed North from the Pusan Perimeter. There was heavy fighting everywhere, but morale was high and the North Korean forces were in retreat mode. There were over 100,000 prisoners taken.
“We are not retreating – we are advancing in another Direction” Douglas MacArthur
Other posts you may enjoy:
- U.N. Defensive – Phase 1 – Korean War
- The Korean War: 24 Cool Facts
- Honorable Immigrants: Korean and Vietnam Wars
- Anna Mae Hays: The First Female Army General Officer
September 30th, 1950
It was determined that for the biggest part, North Korean troops were back on their side of the 38th Parallel. But leaving it at that would just allow them to come South again.
President Truman sent a top secret National Security Council memorandum, to MacArthur reminding him that operations north of the 38th parallel were authorized only if “at the time of such operation there was no entry into North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist forces, no announcements of intended entry, nor a threat to counter our operations militarily…”
And on September 30, Defense Secretary George Marshall sent an eyes-only message to MacArthur instructing MacArthur “We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel.”
It was on!
“The enemy is in front of us, the enemy is behind us, the enemy is to the right and to the left of us. They can’t get away this time!” Douglas MacArthur
North Korean troops quickly pushed North of the 38th to capture the seaport of Wonsan. U.N. troops all pushed Northward throughout October capturing towns and cities in North Korea.
Airborne soldiers dropped in North of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and they made their way Southward toward the city killing and capturing North Korean troops coming at them.
It was victory after victory and many were thinking the Korean War would soon be over… But…
“Once war is forced upon us, there is no alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory-not prolonged indecision.” Douglas MacArthur
The Chinese Communists sent a warning to MacArthur to back off and not come any closer to their border.
But North Korean soldiers were going into China and coming back to the battle fully armed and with renewed vigor.
The North Koreans had found a defensive maneuver and an ally in China who now would become an offensive opponent.
As U.N. troops, moved closer to the Chinese border, Chinese troops came into the War… And they came in furious.
That takes us to the next phase which I will write about soon… Chinese Intervention.
A War that would have ended quickly dragged on just because the Chinese came in.
Many people wonder why President Trump and the United States didn’t just go bomb the Firetruck out of North Korea several months ago…
The same reason we couldn’t win quickly in 1950… China.
So what are your thoughts? Should the United States had handled things differently or did they do the right thing then?
Let’s hear your thoughts and opinions, and thank you for visiting.
And to all Korean War veterans, you are NOT forgotten!