Korean War:Intro, Task Force Smith, Inchon, and Integration Lsn 20
North Korea Attacks: 25 June 1951 • North Korean army crosses the 38th parallel with an invasion force totaling over 90,000 troops and 150 Soviet-built tanks • By the night of June 28, Seoul had fallen and the South Korean forces were in disarray. • The United Nations passes a resolution recommending that "the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security to the area."
Force Comparison• North Korean People’s • U.S. Armed Forces in Army (NKPA) 1950: – 14 Divisions (9 in – 10 Army divisions (4 invasion force) in Japan) – Soviet trained, armed – 48 USAF air groups and advised – 331 combatants (64 in – 150 tanks, almost 100 Pacific) modern aircraft – 2 Marine divisions (-)
Task Force Smith• 30 June – MacArthur instructs Eighth Army to order the 24th Infantry Division to Korea• 1 July – Eighth Army orders 24th ID to deploy a delaying force of two rifle companies, under a battalion commander, reinforced by two platoons of 4.2 inch mortars and one platoon of 75mm recoilless rifles to Pusan
Task Force Smith• 4 July – Part of the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion joins TF Smith• 5 July – Task Force Smith begins occupying defensive positions at 0300 – 0700 begin seeing enemy movement – 0816 begin firing artillery – 1430 Smith decides to withdraw
• 6 July – Smith arrives at Ch’onan and counts 185 of his men (began with 540)• After all stragglers returned, the total loss to TF Smith was 35%
Implications of Task Force Smith“ No more Task Force Smiths” -- GEN Gordon Sullivan, Army Chief of Staff, 1991-1995 (administered the post Desert Storm Army downsizing)
“Hollow Army”- WWII peak Army strength was 8,268,000- 89 combat divisions in June 1945- June 1950 strength was about 591,000 (1/14 the peakWWII size)- 10 active combat divisions - But to keep them fielded, one battalion from each infantry regiment and one firing battery from each field artillery battalion had been eliminated - This move effectively reduced combat power by 1/3
Far East Command• 108,500 troops under GEN MacArthur• 4 infantry divisions in Japan (7th, 24th, 25th and 1st Cavalry)• Authorized peacetime divisions strength was 12,500 (13,500 for the 25 th )• Authorized wartime strength was 18,900• 3 of the 4 divisions in Japan had about 11,000 men • In addition to the missing infantry and artillery battalions each • Lacked three anti aircraft artillery batteries • Lacked the regimental tank companies • Had only a company of M24 Chaffee light tanks in place of the divisional tank battalion• Estimated the divisions could field 62% of normal infantry firepower, 69% ofnormal AAA capability, and 14% of armored support
Equipment in FEC• Mostly outdated WWII equipment and much of it wasunserviceable • Of 18,000 jeeps only 8,000 were serviceable • Of 13,780 2 1/2 ton trucks, only 4,441 were serviceable• Had none of the new 3.5 inch antitank rocker launchers • Only the 2.36 inch Bazooka which had proved inadequate in 1944 – 1945• Hydraulic fluid for recoil mechanisms in the M24 tanks hadbeen on backorder for two years, so most of their 75 mm guns hadnever been fired• Some men were wearing tennis shoes because of a lack of boots• ¼ of the small arms were defective
Training• Occupation duties take precedence over training• No unit training above the company level hadtaken place in Eighth Army before April 1949• Limited maneuver area and an annualpersonnel turnover rate of 43% impeded training• The four divisions were rated as 65% to 84%combat ready – Some senior officers felt that 40% was more realistic
Pusan Perimeter:27 June to 15 Sept • The American forces were unprepared for the North Korean attack. • By the end of July, the North Koreans had pushed the U.N. forces to the southeast corner of the peninsula, where they dug in around the port of Pusan.
Inchon (Operation Chromite) 15 Sept • MacArthur completely changed the course of the war overnight by ordering -- over nearly unanimous objections -- an amphibious invasion at the port of Inchon, near Seoul. • The Americans quickly gained control of Inchon, recaptured Seoul within days, and cut the North Korean supply lines. • American and ROK forces broke out of the Pusan Perimeter and chased the retreating enemy north.
Inchon and Principles of War• Surprise – Inchon was an unlikely landing site because of strong tides and mud flats• Maneuver – Amphibious turning movement• Offensive – Had to do something to reverse Pusan situation and gain the initiative• Objective – Landing at Inchon facilitated capture of Seoul; both the South Korean capital and the site of important road and railroad intersections
Facets of Operational Art• Synergy• Simultaneity and depth• Anticipation• Balance• Leverage• Timing and tempo• Operational reach and approach
Facets of Operational Art (cont)• Forces and functions• Arranging operations• Centers of gravity• Direct versus indirect• Decisive points• Culmination• Termination
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Operational reach and approach – The distance over which military power can mass effects and be employed decisively. – As the North Koreans moved south, they overextended their lines of communication. – Conversely, shorter American lines of communication allowed the strengthening of the Pusan perimeter.
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Culmination – The point in time and space at which an attacker’s combat power no longer exceeds that of the defender – Because of operational reach, by 23 August, numerical parity between the two forces north of Pusan was surpassed in favor of the Americans – The NKPA had reached its culminating point while Eighth Army was getting stronger.
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Direct versus indirect – Where direct attack means attacking into an opponents strength, commanders should seek an indirect approach. – MacArthur’s concept was to “rely upon strategic maneuver to overcome the great odds against me… [T]he alternative is a frontal attack which can only result in a protracted and expensive campaign.” – Amphibious turning movement
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Center of gravity – Those characteristics, capabilities, or sources of power from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight. – If the enemy CoG was the North Korean People’s Army, how did Operation Chromite succeed when it took place some 140 miles north of the main NPKA forces? • By focusing on a critical vulnerability, the enemy lines of communication
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Decisive points – A point, if retained, that provides a commander with a marked advantage over his opponent. – Seoul was decisive both for its symbolic value as the capital and as the most critical node in the supply line of the enemy attack.
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Simultaneity and depth – The simultaneous application of power against key adversary capabilities and sources of strength. – Air Force, Navy, and Marine Air struck targets ranging from the enemy’s strategic marshalling areas to tactical forces – Included both the amphibious turning movement and the breakout from Pusan
Inchon and Selected Facets of Operational Art• Termination – Knowing when to terminate military operations and how to preserve achieved advantages. – Success leads MacArthur to continue attack into North Korea; a strategic miscalculation that ultimately leads to his relief.
Integration• On 26 June 1948, Truman signs an executive order calling for the equal treatment and opportunity of blacks in the military• The Army initially moved slowly to follow this order, but military necessity brought on by the Korean War accelerated the process – By 1952 integration was a fate accompli in the Far East Command
Results• The Army’s integration was “the great victory of the Korean War” – The Compact History of the Korean War, Middleton, 1965, p. 90.• “Jim Crow died on the hills of Korea” – A Short History of the Korean War, Stokesbury, 1988, p. 232
Review• What were the training, personnel, and equipment readiness problems with Task Force Smith and the post-WW II Army in general?• How has the Army corrected these?• Describe Inchon in terms of the principals of war of surprise, offensive, maneuver, and objective.• What were the broader social implications of the Army’s integration policy?