TWENTY FIFTH INFANTRY DIVISION

TWENTY FIFTH INFANTRY DIVISION

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT OF ALL THE UNITS IN THE FAR EAST, THE 24TH INFANTRY REGIMENT OF THE 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION WAS THE ONLY UNIT WITH ENOUGH MANPOWER TO RETAIN THE NORMAL THREE BATTALION REGIMENTAL STRUCTURE.  THIS WAS BECAUSE IN A STILL SEGREGATED MILITARY AND BECAUSE OF ITS STATUS OF HAVING BEEN DESIGNATED BY CONGRESS TO BE A SEGREGATED UNIT, MOST AFRICAN-AMERICANS ENLISTING IN OR BEING DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY WENT TO THE 24TH INFANTRY REGIMENT.  IT'S OFFICERS WERE ALL CAUCASIAN, HISPANIC OR ORIENTAL.

JULY 1:  Headquarters Eighth Army ordered the Division to move one RCT (Regimental Combat Team) to Kyushu to relieve the 24 Infantry Division of security, administration and logistic responsibility on that island and Shikane Prefecture by 1200 hours 5 July 1950.  The 35th Infantry Regiment was assigned this responsibility

JULY 5:  The CG (Commanding General) Eighth Army in a radio message dated 051334 July 1950 ordered the Division to move to Korea.

JULY 7:  Troops and equipment of the 27th RCT left Osaka for the port of Moji.  Entraining points were established at Osaka Main Station, Umeda station, Nara, Kyoto AND Gifu for shipment of men and weapons, vehicles and other materials to the ports of Moji and Sasebo.

JULY 8:  Division Commander Major General William B. Kean, accompanied by twelve key officers and ten enlisted men who made up the advance party of his staff flew from OSAKA to PUSAN.  Brigadier General Crump Garvin, Port Commander, was contacted to arrange for reception of the Division at PUSAN.  At 1600 hours General Dean, Lt. Colonels Hardman, Hogan, Michaelis, Walker and General Kean's Aide, Captin Riggins, flew to Taejon for a conference with Major General William F. Dean, Commander of USAFIK (US ARMED FORCES IN KOREA) and plans were made for use of the Division.  The Division was initially directed to relieve the 19th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Division.  It's ZR (Zone of Responsibility) extended from TAEGU and extend generally north and east to the city of Yechon.  Its mission included the defense of the airfield at Yonil and the port of Pohang-dong to the north of the airfield.

9 JULY:  The Division Commander, General Kean, Lt. Colonel Hardman and Lt. Colonel Michaelis left at 1600 hours in an L-17 artillery spotter aircraft for Taegu.  The 8th Army Advance Command Post and the Commander of the 19th RCT of the 24th Division were contacted.  Plans were made for the relief of the 19th RCT.  On the return trip, an aerial reconnaissance of the area around Pohang-dong and the airstrip at Yonil was conducted.  The group arrived back at Pusan at 2113 hours.

L-17 ARTILLERY SPOTTER AIRCRAFT

10 JULY:  The 27th RCT, less the 2d Bn was the first unit of the 25th Division to move into an assigned positions.  Lt. Colonel John H. Michaelis was assigned as Commander.  They moved by train from Pusan to Uisong with the mission of securing the high ground north of Andong and to block the enemy from moving from the north.  the 2d Bn moved to Pohang-dong to protect that port and the vital airfield at Yonil as well as to block any enemy movement from the north and along the east-west roads north of Yongdok. 

     Major Jack Blohm, Division Light Aviation Section arrived in Pusan at 1715 hours accompanied by 13 planes and pilots.

     Company A, 65th Engineer Combat Bn arrived in Pusan and began a move to the vicinity of Pohang-dong.

11 JULY:  The 8th FA Bn arrived in Pusan and moved by motor and rail to join the 27th RCT near Uisong.  The 27th RCT CP opened in Uisong at 1800 hours.  The 1st Bn, 27th RCT occupied defensive positions near Uisong.  The 2d Bn moved to the vicinity of Pohang-dong to protect that port and the airstrip at Yonil to the south.  Co. A, 65th Combat Engineers contacted the retreating 17th ROK Regiment north of Pohang-dong.  They prepared three bridges for demolition and set one road cratering charge.  Co. A, 79th Heavy Tank Bn (In spite of being designated a Heavy Tank Company, Company A, like ALL tank units in the Far East was equipped only with M-24 Chaffee tanks, the lightest in the US Army inventory.)  left Pusan at 2100 hours for Taegu.

12 JULY:  The 2d Battalion, minus Company H departed Pusan for Pohang-Dong (1235-1481) and remained overnight with elements of the 27th Infantry Regiment.

13 JULY:  The 2d Battalion left Pohang-Dong and arrived at Kumchon (1110-1469) where Company H rejoined the Battalion direct from Pusan, with part of the Battalion's vehicles.  Most of the Battalions organic transportation and equipment was still en-route from Pusan.  The 3d Battalion departed Pusan at 0650 and arrived at Kumchon at 1554.  At 2300 hours the 2d Battalion and 3d Battalion were in Kumchon  The 1st Battalion departed Pusan at 2400 hours.  The Third Battalion was to block roads to the north of Hamchang to stop an enemy force moving in that direction.

14 JULY:  The 24 RCT (Regimental Combat Team) commanded by Colonel Horton White, arrived at a bivouac area near Yonchon.  They were to block enemy movement southward from the Taegon and Chongju sectors.  It was also designated as the EUSAK (Eighth US Army in Korea) Reserve.  The 3rd Battalion arrived at Kumchon minus Company C and organic Battalion vehicles..  The 3d Battalion was alerted for movement to Yechon.  The mission was to Seize Yechon and block all roads North of Hamchang (1115-1524).  At 0345 hours the Battalion was ordered to move at daybreak.  The Regimental Commander, accompanied by a Division Liaison Officer arrived at the Battalion CP at 0500 hours and issued orders  for movement and developed plans for a defense of Yechon.  The Battalion Intelligence Section preceded the movement as neither the Regimental I&R Platoon nor South Korean Police were available. The order of march was: Company I with 75mm Recoilless Rifle and 81MM Mortar sections and one section of Heavy Machine Guns (HMG's) attached, Battalion March Command Post (CP), Companies L, K, M, Battery A, 90th Field Artillery (FA)  Battalion and Headquarters Company 3d Battalion.  Troops carried only combat packs (buttpacks).  The convoy arrived at 600 hours.  The CP was established by 1630 hours.  All troops were at assigned positions by 1745 hours.  Vehicles were sent to Kumchon for additional supplies and ammunition.  Two 155mm howitzers were emplaced as anti-tank guns.  Companies I and L blocked the Yong-dong, Yechon, Tangyong and Yong-ju roads.  Company K was in reserve.  Battery A, 90th FA was in support of the Battalion.  The 1st Battalion moved into the positions vacated by the 3d Battalion.  The remainder of the 2d Battalion vehicles and kitchens arrived at Kumchon.

15 JULY:  During the night the 35th RCT moved to positions near Pohang-Dong with one Bn near Kyong-ju, relieving the 2d Bn, 27th RCT, which then joined the rest of the 27th RCT near Andong.  The 3d Battalion consolidated positions and established contact with the 27 Regimental Combat Team (RCT).  The Assistant Division Commander, General Wilson, visited the 3d Battalion CP at 1000 hours.

The Divison ordered the regiment to prepare fo counter-attacks in the Hamhung (1115-1524) and Taejon (1043-1493) areas.  The Regiment continued to assemble in the Kumchon area, less the 3d Battalion.  At 2245 hours, all units except the 3d Battalion had received plans for movement and for counter-attacking in the Taejon and Hamchang areas.  At the end of the day, 30 Regimental vehicles were still enroute by rail.

Air Force F-51's made frequently made airstrikes in support of the units at Andok and Yongdok.

Naval Task Force 96.5, commanded by Rear Admiral J.W. Higgins, fired repeated missions to block the road along the coast north of Yongdok, and on concentrations of the enemy.  Their fire was adjusted by liaison officers on the ground and by observers in the Division Artillery planes.

During this period, Division units held blocking positions in support of South Korean forces who were being driven back by North Korean troops.

16 JULY:  Operational control of the 3d Battalion was passed to the 27th Regimental Combat Team (RCT).  Reconnaissance patrols of the 1st and 2d Battalions departed Kimchon to reconnoiter roads, contact the 24th Infantry Division and select defensive positions in the Taejon (1043-1493) areas.  Elements not on patrol readied themselves for combat.  The 3d Battalion dispatched patrols on all roads leading onto the Battalion zone.  A landing strip for Artillery spotter planes was completed in a river bed.  The Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division, Major General Kean, arrived at 0845 hours, inspected front line positions and remained overnight.  Company A, 79th Tank Battalion (Headquarters Platoon) arrived from the 27th RCT.  Company I was fired on by an unidentified aircraft and returned fire.  The same plane made two strafing runs over the Battalion CP and and then withdrew to the south. (Comment:  the plane obviously was an American or Australian Air Force plane as a North Korean aircraft would have flown North.)  After an equipment check, it was found that about one third  of the equipment shipped from Gifu, Japan, was still missing.  Most automatic weapons were in poor condition. (All weapons and equipment were left over from WW 2).  Lt Bartholomew, Company A, reported seeing North Korean soldiers at 1325 hours.  At 1805 hours, Major Evans KMAG (Korean Military Advisory Group), attached to the South Korean 16th Division phoned that his unit was under attack at Mun'gy (1109-1540) and needed supporting mortar or artillery fire.  The area needing fire support was out of range of any 3d Battalion weapons.   Because the 27th RCT was closer, the request was relayed to them.  No enemy contact was reported during the period.

17 JULY:  The 3rd Battalion conducted extensive road reconnaissance of the Kumchon-Yechon area (1110-1469)(1117-1525) and Taegu (1156-1438) areas.  Several flares were fired over the 3d Battalion zone.  No enemy action was reported.  At 1401 Company I reported receiving enemy fire.  Two men were wounded, one with a gunshot wound and the other suffered only a concussion.  Colonel Han, Liaison Officer from ROK II Corps reported that North Koreans had obtained the exact location of Company K's positions.  Four complete company defense positions were prepared as a result.  At 2330 hours, the Battalion was alerted for a move to Hamchang (1115-1534) with the mission of securing and defending Hamchang and blocking the road fron Hamchang to Kumchon.  Lt Colonel Bennett, Regimental Executive Officer was evacuated as a non-battle casualty and was succeeded by Lt. Colonel Roberts, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion.  Major Carson, Battalion Executive Officere assumed command of the battalion.  Information received from the KMAG group that the ROK Sixth Division had made contact with the enemy who were presumed to be moving on Sangju (1094-1508).  At 1230 hours a reconnaissance patrol from E Company commanded by Lt. William Hilyer with hone section of Heavy Machine Guns mounted on 1/4 ton trucks commanded by Lt. Harris, Company H departed Kumchon to locate a reported 60 man enemy patrol in the vicinity of Suwun-ni (1099-1595).  They were to determine their exact strength and composition and then return to the 2d Battalion.  While en-route back, the patrol was met by Birgadier General Wilson, Assistant Division Commander, who informed them that the mission had been changed and that the patrol was to assist South Korean Police in preventing North Korean forces from entering the city of Sangju (1113.8-1504.8).  The
Second Battalion was ordered to Sangu with the mission of securing the town and departed by motor convoy at 1925 hours, arriving at Sangju at 2356 hours.  Companies G and H and the supply train remained at Sangju and the remainder of the Battalion continued West to occupy high ground in the vicinity Yangam-ni (1105.7-1503.6).  Informationwas received that enemy forces were by-passingYechon and moving to the South and West on the Hamchang-Sanju area.  To counteract this movement, the 3d Battalion moved from Yechon to Hamchang and the 2d Battalion moved to a location west of Songju.

18 JULY: Task Force Able was formed by Division Headquarters.  The Task Force consisted of the 2d battalion, 24th RCT with Battery A, 159th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd platoon Heavy Mortar Company attached to the 3d Battalion, 245h RCT with Battery A, 90th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd platoon, Heavy Mortar Company and Company A, 79th Tank Battalion attached.  Brigadier General  Williams was in command of the Task Force.  The mission was: (1) secure and defend the Hamchung area. (2) Block the Hamchang, Sangju, Kumchon road from the North and Northwest. (3) Secure and defend Sangju area from the north and west.  (4) Prepare to defend or counter-attack in any direction.  (5) Maintain contact with ROK forces in the area.  The 3d Battalion was relieved from operational control of the 27th RCT and attached to Task Force Able. Company E of the 2d Battalion moved into positions at approximately 0210 hours at (1105.7-1503.6) and the 2d Battalion's forward CP was established.  Company F in reserve protected the 2d Battalion CP.  Companies E and F had received some small arms fire at approximately 0830 hours.  Mortars fired and dispersed the enemy groups.  One prisoner was captured and found to be a member of the 8th Company, 779th Infantry Regiment.It must be noted that the prisoner was in poor physical condition and was only 15 years old.  Patrols were sent out from Sangju to contact the 3d Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment at Hamchang and to secure all flanks and to the rear.  Positions were strengthened and three more prisoners were captured.  The 17th ROK Regiment secured the Battalion's right flank.  Liaison with the 17th ROK Regiment was established and South Korean Officers were sent to Company E to assist in locating the enemy and distinguishing friendly forces from the enemy.    An attack was planned on enemy positions at 1000 hours, however, the enemy had withdrawn to the next ridge line.  Companies E and H received some small arms fire at approximately 0210 hours

Unit Commanders assembled at 0300 hours to receive march orders.  Order of march is: the Tank Platoon with Company K riding the tanks, reinforced by one section of Heavy Machine Guns (HMG), 3d platoon, Heavy Mortar /Company, Company I, one platoon of Combat Engineers from the 77th Engineers, Battery A, 90th Field Artillery (FA) Battalion, March CP, Company M, Company L and Medical platoon.  Company B, 65th Combat Engineer Battalion was ordered to cover the withdrawal of the Battalions.  Breakfast was scheduled for 0500 hours and afterwards each man was to receive a C-ration for one meal.  Engineers were ordered to blow all bridges and cut communication lines leading to Hamchang.  The 3d Battalion moved out at 0900 hours, arriving at Hamchang at 1100 hours.  General Wilson ordered Lt. Col Pierce to send the Tank Platoon, one section of HMG's and one section of 75MM Recoilless Rifles to help Company B, 65th Engineer Battalion hold Yechon until the Battalion could move back in force.  These elements departed Hamchang at about 1700 hours enroute to Yechon.  Battery B, 159th Field Artillery (FA) battalion was attached to the task force at Hamchang.  Battery A, 90th FA Battalion was relieved from attachment and departed at about 1600 hours.  No enemy contact was made up to 2300 hours. 

JULY 20:  Yechon, on the Division left, fell into enemy hands as ROK (Republic of Korea) troops were driven back.  The 3d Bn was ordered to retake and hold the town.  Leading elements were hit with mortar fire from the hills near town at 1900 hours when they reached a point one mile from the town.  Troops were deployed and an attack was launched around the right flank of the enemy.  The attack halted at 2130 hours and defensive positions were established.

     On this date, the Eighth Army ordered the Division to assemble east of and astride of the HAMCHANG- SANGJU - KUMCHON road and to relieve the ROK First and Second Divisions in that zone but leaving one battalion at POHANG-DONG.  This task force was to clear out enemy forces west of the SANGJU -HAMCHANG area in order to permit the unopposed advance of the remainder of the Division into this zone.  The mission was accomplished and the task force disbanded when all units of the Division arrived in the area.

     The assigned Division Zone was about 27 miles wide.  With only 7 battalions of about 1,000 men each, that meant that each battalion would have to cover about four miles of front.  This was complicated by the mountainous terrain, which made coverage much more difficult.  Only areas where the enemy was most likely to advance would be held by large numbers of men.  The other areas would have to be covered by reinforced patrols.

     The commanding officer of the 35th RCT was placed in command of a force consisting of the 2d Bn, 35th RCT and the 2d and 3d Bns of the 24th RCT.

JULY 21:  Just before dawn the attack was resumed and the enemy was forced to withdraw.  In the afternoon, ROK forces reoccupied the town and the 3d Bn rejoined the 24th RCT at HAMCHANG.   The Division CP moved from YONGCHON to SANGJU.  The Defense Department recognized this event to be the first sizeable American ground victory of the Korean War.

JULY 22:  The 27th RCT moved into an area northwest of HWANGGAN where they relieved the 2d ROK Division.  The 24th RCT moved into positions west of SANGJU with the task of relieving the 1st ROK Division.  The 35th RCT less the 1st Bn, which was at POHANG-DONG, moved to positions south of HAMCHANG in order to guard the northern portion of the Division zone.

     The 24th RCT moved into position in the SANGJU area to the right of the 27th RCT with the 3d Bn joining the 1st and 3d Bns  to complete the relief of the 1st ROK Division.  They initially experienced very little enemy activity but there were indications of a buildup of the 15th North Korean Division along their front.

JULY 24:  Early in the morning, Company (Co.) A, 27th RCT  made initial contact with the enemy west of HWANGGAN and by mid day the entire RCT was heavily engaged.  Later intelligence verified that the enemy was the advance party of a large force made up of the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) consisting of the Third Division and elements of the Fourth Division who were attempting to go around the 27th RCT's right flank.  Some excerpts of communications during the battle follow:

     240400:  "Co. A encountered an enemy patrol and engaged it in a fight lasting about 10 minutes.  The enemy withdrew as enemy mortar rounds wer falling into the platoon on our right."

     240705:  Relayed from First Cav Division- "Michaelis is getting hit pretty hard from the front and west.  Getting small arms fire on the left side.  He can hear tanks but cannot see them because of the heavy fog in the valley.  He has air support....."

     241200: " Must have immediate air support immediately or position will fold.  Enemy tanks in position, believed to be eight with two batteries of field artillery."

     241300:  "Eight enemy taks have broken through.."

     241315:  "Enemy has broken through my 3d Bn."

     241345:  Air strikes have knocked out 2 tanks.  Air strikes are continuing every 20 minutes.  Enemy infantry not yet in my position, am using everything I have including my reserve.  Tanks open fire accurately at a range of 1500 yards."

     241624:  enemy attacked in force reinforced by tanks.  Enemy infantry stopped in front of our positions.  Tanks penetrated, three destroyed within perimeter, two now being chased."

     241924:  Reds have been repulsed.  We are still in position.  Six tanks destroyed within our position.  Reds estimated at one regiment reinforced with tanks and artillery (8 guns).  Four 76mm being used for counter-battery fire.  Mortars are at least 82mm.  Am pulling in my perimeter slightly to tighten up for the night..."

JULY 25:  To reinforce the heavily hit 27th RCT, the Division Commander attached Co. A, 79th Tank Bn and Co. A, 90th FA (Field Artillery) Bn, who moved to the vicinity of HWANGGAN.  With those reinforcements, the 27th RCT was able to hold its position.  Air Strikes and artillery fire systematically destroyed enemy positions, drove off a renewed attack and enabled the RCT to hold its positions.

JULY 26:  Fighting continued throughout the day.  The 1st Bn of the 35th RCT moved to the right flank of the 27th RCT and temporarily sealed off most of the right flank from penetration by the NKPA infantry.

     Massed artillery and mortar fire helped drive back attacks on the 1at and 3d Bns of the 24th RCT by the North Korean 15th Division, which had been building its strength since 24 July.  The entire 3d Bn area received heavy mortar and artillery fire and a penetration of the position of Co. I resulted in the withdrawal of some units.  Division Liaison aircraft (L-5's-photo below) were utilized to drop ammunition to Co. L which had been surrounded.  Parts of the 1st Bn helped relieve L Co.  Enemy artillery rounds began striking the rear areas of the RCT.  Friendly troops helped cover withdrawal of the 24th RCT during the night.

JULY 27:  A large enemy force moved around the south (left) flank in the 1st Cavalry's zone.  The 1st Cavalry Division met the threat by moving a battalion into position.  Resupply of front lines was a problem due to continual heavy artillery and mortar fire by the enemy.

     Pressure along the front of the 24th RCT continued and the RCT was receiving heavy automatic weapon, mortar and artillery fire.  Enemy tanks participated in the attacks.  Some units made withdrawals.  The 2d Bn counter-attacked, trying nto retake its former positions, but were repulsed by heavy fire of the numerically superior enemy.

28 JULY:  Relentless, heavy attacks throughout the day enabled the enemy to penetrate the line of the 27th RCT in two places.  one penetration was made by North Korean troops dressed in U.S. uniforms  and using U.S. equipment.  The 1st Bn, 8th Cavalry Regiment moved forward to take the high ground in the rear of the 27th RCT.  The 7th Cavalry Regiment occupied positions on the left flank and closed the gap between the 7th Cavalry Regiment and the 27th RCT.  The Division Light Aviation Section dropped ammunition and medical supplies from L-5's (photo below) to the left flank company, which had been temporarily cut off by the North Korean attack.  With the loss of the left flank, the position was impossible to hold, so the RCT was ordered to withdraw under cover of nigh to the high ground immediately to their rear.

     The 1st Bn, 24th RCT launched an attack and took the high ground to its front.  Several enemy counter attacks assisted by three enemy tanks failed to dislodge them.  One  tank was destroyed and the other two retreated under heavy fire.  Heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire began before noon and continued throughout the afternoon.  A strong enemy attack at dusk drove the 2d Bn back to a new defensive line. 

THE STINSON L-5 "SENTINEL" COULD TAKE OFF FROM LANDING STRIPS AS SHORT AS 50 FEET.  THERE WAS SPACE ENOUGH BEHIND THE PILOT FOR A LITTER WHEN THE OBSERVERS SEAT WAS REMOVED.

29 JULY:  New positions were successfully established during the night of 28-29 July by the 27th RCT on the high ground south of HWANGGAN while units of the First Cavalry Division covered the withdrawal.  The Commander of the 1st Bn, 35th RCT, which was still attached to the 27th RCT. requested airstrikes against enemy tanks and artillery which were advancing on his position.  The airstrikes stopped that enemy advance.

     There was very little activity in the 24th RCT area for most of the day with intermittent mortar fire  with the enemy registering our positions.  At 1800 hours the enemy struck on all battalion fronts en an effort to break through.  Some of our tanks were emplaced in the 1st Bn Area and were effective in helping to repel the enemy.  A penetration between the 2d and 3d Bn positions enabled the enemy to bring heavy fire on the road connecting the two units.  Simultaneously a strong attack hit the front of the 2d Bn positions.  That attack was stopped and attacks ceased by midnight. 

     During the period 26 thru 31 July, the 25th Reconaisance Co. had been probing enemy lines to the north of the 27th RCT, between the 27th and 24th RCT's.   On the 28th of July, a portion of the company was surrounded by the enemy.  That portion of the company dashed through the enemy lines with minor losses.

30 JULY:  All three Bns of the 24th RCT were attacked by the enemy, using tanks, mortars and other heavy weapons.  The enemy infiltrated between company strong points.  A wedge was driven between the 2d and 3d Bns and 2d Bn positions were overrun.  The 1st Bn CP was forced to move after receiving mortar and automatic weapons fire.   Under cover of darkness, the 1st and 3d Bns moved to new defensive positions while the 2d Bn moved behind the lines to receive reinforcements, and replace supplies and equipment.

31 JULY:  AUTHORIZED STRENGTH: 13,650 - ASSIGNED STRENGTH: 12 ,167 - CASUALTIES: 904 - POW'S 16 - ESTIMATED ENEMY CASUALTIES - 2,500.

1-3 AUGUST:  The division moved by train and truck over 100 miles to the city of Masan to counter an anticipated enemy attack.  By 3 August, the Division had established a defense lin 20 miles in length from the southern coast north to the juncture of the Nam and Naktong Rivers.  The 24th Regiment was tasked with holding the center of the line        

AUGUST 5:  A radio net was established using thirteen LST's and one APA (picture of an APA below) , which were anchored off MASAN in support of the First Provisional Marine Brigade.  The net supported all units operating in the MASAN area and was also tied into the PUSAN area network.