|◄ SEPTEMBER ►|
|◄ 1950 ►|
|President:||Harry S Truman (D)|
|Vice-President:||Alben W. Barkley (D)|
|House:||260 (D)||167 (R)||2 (Other)||6 (Vacant)|
|Southern states:||101 (D)||2 (R)||2 (Vacant)|
|Senate:||54 (D)||42 (R)|
|Southern states:||22 (D)|
|US killed in action,||3,453||(This month)|
|Korean conflict:||8,182||(Since Jun 28, 1950)|
Note: Romanization of names for Asian people and places have changed since 1950. Asian names on this page are given as reported in original news reports. In Korea, official U.S. communiques and the American press typically used Japanese-based romanization schemes for Korean cities, rivers and other landmarks. This practice stems from using outdated maps which reflected Japan’s occupation of Korea before and during World War II. In China, a number of inconsistent romanization systems were used. China adopted the Hanyu Pinyin romanization standard in 1982. South Korea adopted its Revised Romanization of Korean standard in 2000. Contemporary romanization renderings are given in parentheses in the text wherever they differ from original reports.
September: Coronet magazine warns of a “new moral menace to our youth.” Author Ralph H. Major, Jr., writes that “an alarming increase in the incidence of homosexuality” will result in rampant criminality, drug use, and sexual assaults against children “of both sexes.” According to Major, homosexuals “descend through perversions to other forms of depravity, such as drug addiction, burglary, sadism and even murder. Once a man assumes the role of homosexual, he often throws off all moral restraints.” Major also warns that while some homosexuals are obvious, “other sex aberrants look, act, and dress like anyone else. It is they who are the real threat.”
▲Friday, September 1
Sep 1: September begins with the the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) long-awaited all-out assault on a fifty miles front stretching from Tuksong (Deukseong-Ri), just twelve miles southwest of the temporary South Korean capital of Taegu (Daegu), all the way south along the lower Naktong (Nakdong) River to the coast. Three days earlier, American Army intelligence warned that an assault aimed at severing the railroad and highway between Taegu (Daegu) and Pusan (Busan) “may be expected at any time” Today’s assault follows preliminary assaults launched north and west of Pohang earlier this week, where the KPA had apparently hoped to draw U.N. forces away from defensive positions along the Naktong. At Hyongpung (Hyeonpung), where the KPA’s 10th division has been encamped on Hill 409 to the west since August 12, elements of the division stream off the hill in the early morning hours and attack the right flank of the U.S. 2nd Division at Hyongpung. South of Hyongpung, the KPA launches several coordinated river crossings and push to within five miles (8 km) of Changnyong (Changnyeong). The First Battalion of the U.S. 23d Infantry, operating on the north shore of the Upo wetland, tries to withdraw eastward to Changyong, but finds that the KPA had cut off the road to the east. The battalion, surrounded and stranded about three miles (5 km) from from the nearest friendly units, will fight in place to disrupt KPA resupply efforts. Further south at the Naktong Bulge, the KPA 9th Division pours across the Naktong at several places and, in a sweeping north-to-south maneuver with its artillery, captures the mountains within the bulge that hold a commanding view of Yongsan (Yeongsan). Before dawn, the KPA holds the best positions between the river and Yongsan, leaving the Americans with the task of defending Yongsan with very poor and exposed defensive positions. The KPA’s apparent aim at Changyong and Yongsan are the secondary roads and footpaths that wind their way through the mountains to Miryang and Samnangjin, which straddle the Korean peninsula’s main rail line to Pusan. South of the mouth of the Nam River, the KPA plan of attack appears to be to capture the cantilever steel bridge crossing the Naktong at Namji-ri and take control of the road south to Chung-ri (Jung-ri), while other KPA forces drive eastward along the road from Koman-ni (Geoman-ri). Early in the morning, KPA forces rush into the lowlands between Namji-ri and Koman-ni. When American forces counterattack, they soon discover that KPA forces have infiltrated behind American lines and operate as far east as Chirwon-ni (Chilwon-eup) and Chung-ni, leaving the Americans effectively surrounded. At the same time further south, KPA forces attack Haman, sending the town into flames and its American defenders fleeing into the mountains along the east side of the valley. With the road between between Chindong-ni (Jingdong-myeon) and Koman-ni cut by enemy forces, Koman-ni is now threatened from the north and south. In official communiqués, United Nations commanders put on a brave face and tell the world that these assaults, like the others previously, will be quickly repulsed. But on the ground, the situation is dire and growing worse by the hour. If the KPA can maintain their assaults and keep their supply lines open, they stand a very real chance of achieving total victory and taking the last five percent of the peninsula still in South Korean hands.
Sep 1: African-American folk singer Josh White testifies as a “friendly witness” before the House Un-American Activities Committee. (“Friendly witness” simply means that the witness is appearing voluntarily.) With his wife Carol by his side, White denies having ever been a member of the Communist Party, but adds that he has supported a number of progressive causes. “The fact that Communists are exploiting grievances for their own purposes does not make those grievances any less real,” he says. “I do know what injustice and discrimination and Jim Crowism mean. I know these things not as theories, but as cruel facts that I’ve seen and suffered in my own life. Against these things I have protested and will go on protesting,” He defends his responsibility as a folksinger to sing as “the voice and the conscience” But his testimony, which includes criticism of Paul Robeson, angers the left, while his refusal (or inability) to name Communist Party members dissatisfies the right. He will be one of the few artists to be black-listed by both sides in America. He will move to London, where he will host a BBC radio show and find new success as a recording artist in Europe.
▲Saturday, September 2
Sep 2: The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) continues its all-out assault against United Nation forces in all sectors of the defensive perimeter around the vital port of Pusan (Busan). In the northeast, the KPA 5th Division has dug in on Hill 99, which overlooks Pohang from the north. American forces attack northwest from Pohang in a futile effort to help Republic of Korea (ROK) forces recapture the hill. At the same time, the KPA 15th Division presses against ROK forces defending Yongchon (Yeongcheon), a vital transportation crossroads in the Pusan Perimeter. In the sector north of the temporary South Korean capital of Taegu (Daegu), a sector that has been relatively quiet until now, KPA forces launch a massive attack along the narrow valley between Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri) and Chonpyong-dong (Cheonpyeong-ri), a valley that American troops named the “Bowling Alley” last month. The attack takes the U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment off guard. It is forced off of its mountain positions west of the Bowling Alley. American forces in the mountains east of the Bowling Alley find their left flank exposed, and are also forced to fall back. By the following morning, American defenders will take up new defensive positions south of Tabu-dong. Southwest of Taegu, KPA forces drive American defenders out of Hyongpung (Hyeonpung), which becomes a smoking no-man’s land for the next two weeks. At Changnyong (Changnyeong), American forces notice the unmistakable sign of approaching enemy troops: the entire population of Changnyong is packing up and leaving. The KPA approaches Changnyong from the northwest and southwest and are seen inside the deserted town by evening. The KPA also enters Yongsan from the south, but after a hard day’s fighting, American forces are able to drive them back out of town. South of the mouth of the Nam River, American forces strike out northward from Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) and re-establish defensive positions along the Nam southwest of Namji-ri. Another Americab counterattack at Haman succeeds in driving the KPA out of the village and into the mountains to the west.
▲Sunday, September 3
Sep 3: At Pohang, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) 12th Division begins executing its part of a coordinated attack shortly after midnight when it strikes against the Republic of Korea (ROK) Capital Division on the high hills south of the Kigye valley. By dawn, the KPA has penetrated to Highway 29 three miles (5 km) west of Angang-ni. By nightfall, the ROK Capital Division is in complete disarray and all but collapses. The KPA then enters Angang-ni, and establishes positions along the railroad line south of town. This essentially cuts the supply routes to United Nations defenders in Pohang. The KPA presence in Angang-ni also places Kyongju in jeopardy along with the vital rail link alongside Highway 1. In fighting north of Taegu (Daegu), the KPA 1st Division force a platoon from the U.S. 8th Cavalry Division and a detachment of South Korean police from the ancient walled fortress of Ka-san (Gasan), four miles (6 km) east of Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri). Ka-san is a dominant 2,960-foot (902 m) mountaintop just ten miles (16 km) north of Taegu. Along the lower Naktong (Nakdong) River, the KPA 10th Division is seen infiltrating into the roadless mountain region between Yongpo and Hyongpung (Hyeonpung). This is especially concerning to U.N. command because the KPA 10th can now either threaten Taegu from the south, or press southward around Hyongpung and assist KPA forces at Changnyong (Changnyeong), where the KPA drive to Miryang has been checked by hastily-assembled U.N. forces. At Yongsan (Yeongsan), U.S. Marines attack across low rice paddy land westward, advancing about 2 miles (3 km) before thick fighting and heavy rains impede further progress. Near Koman-ni (Geoman-ri), American forces attack westward along the main road to capture the higher ground overlooking a bend in the road they called the Horseshoe. The Americans succeed in taking the high ground, but they suffer heavy casualties in the process. By mid-afternoon, U.N. command decides that the position is untenable. KPA forces have infiltrated behind the lines and are wreaking havoc on the road between the Horseshoe and Koman-ni. KPA forces are also still active in areas far to the east of the front lines, as far east as Masan. In the most alarming incident, KPA guerrillas attack a radio relay station at Changwon, killing seven Americans and South Koreans.
▲Monday, September 4
Labor Day (US)
Sep 4: Fighting throughout the Pusan (Busan) perimeter is severely hampered by heavy rains due to a passing typhoon, which limits U.N. air power for most of the day. On the eastern front, the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) have set up roadblocks about three miles (5 km) north of Kyongju on the road to Angang-ni. The KPA has also taken up positions in the mountains southwest of Angang-ni, threatening the main railroad and highway running from the South Korean temporary capital of Taegu (Daegu) to the all-important port of Pusan (Busan). But the expected attack on Kyongju and the crucial rail line never comes. Instead, the KPA turns east, crosses the road a few miles north of Kyongju and heads toward the abandoned airfield southeast of Pohang. To the west, American forces try to mount a counterattack on the ancient mountain fortress of Ka-san (Gasan), a tall 2,960-foot (902 m) mountaintop that provides commanding views of the temporary South Korean capital of Taegu (Daegu), just ten miles (16 km) to the south. After the understrength force fails to take Ka-san, the KPA launches an attack on Hill 755, a southeastern ridge of Ka-san, which the American defenders are able to repel with heavy losses. By early afternoon, with heavy rain, fog, and low ammunition supplies, it soon becomes apparent that they will not be able to hold Hill 755. The Americans fight their way back down the mountain. When the three companies finally re-assemble in the valley to the south, they discovered that half of their men are killed, missing, or wounded. To the east, American forces capture Hill 303 as part of an effort to push the KPA off of Suam-san, a 1,700-foot (518 m) peak to the north. From Hill 303, they will be able to provide cover for American troops fighting on Suam-san’s southern slopes. But while American forces pound Suam-san with artillery, air strikes, and infantry assaults, the KPA quietly infiltrate behind American lines and take Hill 464. Unbeknownst to American commanders, by the next day there will be more KPA troops on Hill 464 than those defending Suam-san. The situation is so desperate for U.N. commanders at Taegu that the Eight Army headquarters leaves Taegu for Pusan, taking its radio and teletype equipment with it to prevent it from being damaged or captured. If that happens, the U.N, will lose its entire command and control capability on the Korean peninsula because there is no replacement equipment available in the entire Far East command. Along the lower Naktong River at Yongsan, American forces resume their counterattack westward, and find little opposition at first. Americans find an abandoned KPA command post with equipment scattered about and two abandoned T34 tanks in excellent condition nearby. Americans proceed cautiously westward another three miles (5 km) westward. Further south, American forces attack KPA infiltrators in the high ground around Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) in a desperate bid to keep forward elements west of Koman-ni from being surrounded and cut off. Heavy rains impede the fighting, but by the end of the day, American forces are able to capture the high ground and secure the crossroads village.
Sep 4: A twin-engined bomber bearing the red star of the Soviet Union is shot down off of the west coast of Korea, over the Yellow Sea just above the thirty-eighth parallel. At 1:30 p.m. local time, the bomber passes over an American destroyer supporting the U.N. in the Korean war, when the bomber opens fire on an allied fighter patrol. The patrol returns fire and downs the bomber before it is able to return to the massive Soviet naval base at Port Arthur. The destroyer fishes the body of a crew member out of the drink, bearing identification papers for Lt. Mishin Tennadii Vasilebiu of the U.S.S.R. armed forces.
Sep 4: Typhoon Jane, the worst typhoon in almost two decades, strikes Japan, leaving some 539 people killed and more than 300,000 homeless. The typhoon sinks at least 700 ships and fishing boats, including at least 100 ocean-going vessels.
Sep 4: A Robinson Airlines DC-3 crashes shortly after take-off from Utica, New York, killing thirteen, including all five members of one family, and the pilot, co-pilot and steward. Ten on board are injured, and three of them will die of their injuries over the next few days. Witnesses say the cowling fell off of the left engine of the Newark, New Jersey-bound flight before the pilot tries to land in a field 1½ miles from the Oneida County Airport. The plane clips some trees, shearing the left wing off and send the fuselage into cartwheels before coming to rest in a corn field and bursting into flames. Robinson Airlines will rechristen itself as Mohawk Airlines in 1952.
▲Tuesday, September 5
Sep 5: The day begins with the United Nations command grappling with the greatest crisis of the Korean War. All around the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter, the North Koreans are penetrating defensive positions, making spectacular gains in some places. With just one wrong guess by the U.N. command in where to send its exhausted reserves, one wrong calculation in how to manage its rapidly dwindling supplies of ammunition, and they may well find themselves pushed into the Sea of Japan. Prominent South Koreans with the means to do so have already made up their minds and are piling into every available boat to Japan. Wealthy Chinese residing in the Pusan area are preparing to smuggle themselves away to Taiwan. The only thing that is preventing a wholesale exodus right now is a typhoon that is lashing the peninsula and surrounding seas with heavy rains and winds. The New York Times< war correspondent Bill Lawrence writes, “The current enemy thrust is in some respects stronger than we though him capable of making at this juncture in the war. There is considerable amazement here that the foe has chosen to attack at four separate places on the defensive perimeter instead of seeking that one ‘soft spot’ through which he might be able to pour all his reserve strength (for) a clean knockout blow.” An unnamed general says that the next ten days will be the KPA’s last chance for victory. After that, he claims, the possibility of a KPA breakthrough will be virtually eliminated. The unnamed general’s optimism can’t break the gloom shared among Democrats back home, who fear a spectacular wipeout in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Sep 5: In the Perimeter’s northeast, the North’s Korean Peoples Army (KPA) enters Pohang and move toward the now-evacuated airfield southeast of town. Another KPA division enters Yongchon (Yeongcheon), which cuts the all-important main railroad line from Pusan to Taegu (Daegu), as well as the lateral east-west road from Pohang to Taegu. With supplies to Taegu beginning to run low, American forces in that sector are forced to give up their attempts to drive the KPA off of Suam-san. They abandon Hill 303 and being their withdrawal northwest of Taegu. But there is a glimmer of good news to the south at the Naktong (Nakdong) Bulge. Just before dawn, the North Koreans launch a massive attack during an intense downpour, but they are quickly thwarted by American forces. Later in the morning, the Americans launch a counterattack, which brings them to Obong-ni Ridge and CLoverleaf Hill by mid-afternoon. According to prisoner statements, the American counterattack destroys the KPA’s supply and communications lines so completely that the KPA is rendered incapable of resuming their offensive. South of the bulge, eight transport planes take advantage of a break in the clouds to resupply American forces, which resume their attack to the rear to clear out enemy forces behind their lines. By evening, they have cleared the supply road and are ready to resume their advance against the front lines. The day is a costly one throughout the Perimeter. By the end of the day, American forces count 1,245 casualties, including 137 killed.
Sep 5: Just as the situation in Korea reaches its most precarious position of the entire war, a firestorm breaks out in Washington, D.C. when comments by President Harry Truman seen as insulting to the U.S. Marines hits the newspapers. Two weeks earlier, Rep. Gordon McDonough (R-CA) sent a letter to President Truman urging him to give the Marines a separate voice on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Since the reorganization of the War Department into the Department of Defense and the concurrent unification of the armed forces three years ago, the Marines have felt that they have been relegated to a second-tier status due to the dominance of the Army, with the Army’s Air Corps also given a separate voice as the newly-organized Air Force. The President fires back in a feisty note: “For your information the Marine Corps is the Navy’s police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain.” As if that weren’t enough, Truman added, “They have a propaganda that is almost equal to Stalin’s.” He then reiterated his position: “The Chief of Naval Operations is the Chief of Staff of the Navy of which the Marines are a part.” Truman sent the letter without any member of his staff seeing it. McDonough inserted Truman’s reply into the Congressional Record on September 1. Four days later, Sen. Sen. Bourke B. Hickenlooper (R-IA), a persistent Truman critic, discovers the Congressional Record entry, calls attention to Truman’s “astoundingly insulting letter about a glorious American institution” on the Senate floor, and challenges Democrats to come to Truman’s defense. None do. Gen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) says, “It was fantastic and unpatriotic for the Commander in Chief to compare our boys who are fighting and dying in Korea with Stalin’s instrument of propaganda. If it is possible to sabotage the morale of fighting men, he certainly has sabotaged the morale of the Marines out there fighting.” Gen. Clifton B. Cates, Marine Corps Commandant, declines to comment, but Marines in Japan who are preparing for the September 15 invasion of Inchon (Incheon), make their feelings known. They write on the tarps covering their trucks and tanks, “Horrible Harry’s Police Force.”
▲Wednesday, September 6
Sep 6: President Harry Truman responds to the controversy sparked by his gaffe when he wrote that the U.S. Marine Corps “is the Navy’s police force,” and that calls for the Marines to be given an equal voice in the Joint Chiefs of Staffs are products of “a propaganda that is almost equal to Stalin’s.” He writes a letter to Gen. Clifton B. Cates, Marine Corps Commandant, apologizing for his “unfortunate choice of language … concerning the Marine Corps.” Truman explains his propaganda crack this way: “I have been disturbed by the number of communications which have been brought to my attention proposing that the Marine Corps have such representation. I feel that inasmuch as the Marine Corps ls by law an integral part of the Department of the Navy, it is already represented on the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the Chief of Naval Operations. … It is my feeling that many of the renewed pleas for such representation are the result of propaganda inspired by individuals who may not be aware of the best interests of our defense establishment as a whole, and it was this feeling which I was expressing to Mr. McDonough. I am certain that the Marine Corps itself does not indulge in such propaganda.” He pays tribute to the Corps’ “magnificent history” and writes, “Since Marine ground and air forces have arrived in Korea I have received a daily report of their actions. The country may feel sure that the record of the marines now fighting there will add new laurels to the already illustrious record of the Marine Corps.”
▲Thursday, September 7
Sep 7: The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) continues to exert tremendous pressure on U.N. forces defending the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. In the east, U.N. forces held in reserve at Kyongju stopped a KPA drive from Yongchon (Yeongcheon) to Kyongju. In the Taegu (Daegu) sector, the KPA takes Hill 570, which overlooks the road to Taegu and is only eight miles (13 km) from Taegu. Eighth Army Intelligence says that this “represents what is probably the most immediate threat to the U.N. Forces.” To the west, the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division is forced to withdraw out of Waegwan and establish new defensive positions astride the main highway to Taegu. They will hold that position through six days of intense battles. In the Masan sector, recent heavy rains have caused flooding on the Nam and Naktong (Nakdong) rivers, which reduces the danger of further KPA crossings for the time being. Meanwhile, fierce fighting resumes for control of Battle Mountain. The battle will last for the next three days until American forces are forced to pull back to defensive positions in the hills east of the mountain. Meanwhile, a South Korean naval spokesman tells reporters that they have made surprise landings on two more un-named west coast islands off of Kunsan (Gunsan) and Mokpo. U.N. air forces have been heavily bombing roads and bridges around Kunsan in the kind of raids that are typically expected before an amphibious invasion. The spokesman says that this is “very important naval operation” will lay the groundwork for “a really powerful naval action.” The actions at Kunsan and Mokpo are intended to lead the North Koreans to believe that an attempted landing is imminent.
Sep 7: President Harry Truman pays a surprise visit to the Marine Corps League convention, which is meeting in Washington D.C. He is there to apologize for his controversial letter to a California Congressman saying the Marines were only “the Navy’s police force” with “a propaganda machine almost equal to Stalin’s.” Conventioneers had spent the previous day harshly denouncing Truman’s comments. Those denunciations largely ended after Truman’s letter of apology was read to the convention. Today, Truman arrives with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Clifton B. Cates, who introduces Truman to a standing ovation. After the applause dies down, Truman provokes a round of laughter when he turns to Cates and says, “You succeeded in enticing me over here.” He thanks the delegates for their reception and says, “When I make a mistake I try to correct it. I try to make as few as possible. … I hope that from now on there will never be any misunderstanding between us.”
Sep 7: President Truman says that he will not sign the Internal Security Act of 1950, which is currently being debated in the Senate. Also known as the McCarran Act for its author, Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV), the law would require Communist organizations to register with the Attorney General, prohibit the employment of Communists in the federal government, prevent Communists from holding passports, and set up the Subversive Activities Control Board to ferret out suspected Communists. It also has a clause called the “Detention Act,” which would give the President the power to declare an emergency and place suspected Communists or Communist sympathizers into concentration camps. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover says that he already has a list of 12,000 “dangerous Communists,” about half of them U.S. citizens, that the bureau is prepared to round up when an emergency is declared. But Truman says that the bill, as written, imperils the free-speech rights of loyal citizens and should be restricted to dealing with spies and saboteurs.
▲Friday, September 8
Sep 8: Three weeks ago, a South Korean and American task force set up shop on the island of Yonghung-do (Yeongheung-do). There, they recruited men and teenage boys to serve as a small security and reconnaissance force. They created a small fleet of sailing junks, sampans, and a motorized junk, armed with machine guns to scout possible amphibious landing sites at Inchon (Incheon) and the outskirts of Seoul. A secondary goal is to entice the North Koreans to redeploy part of its small defense force at Inchon further south. That goal is partially achieved when the small armed armada successfully fights off a North Korean attempt to land on Yonghung-do.
Sep 8: President Truman signs the Defense Production Act of 1950, giving him emergency powers to direct production and distribution of materials, set caps on wages and prices, and to institute rationing if necessary. Minutes after signing, the Federal Reserve Board acts under separate provisions of the new law to announce restrictions on installment plans, requiring one-third down and a maximum of twenty-months to repay for autos and eighteen months for other items costing $100 or more (about $1,050 today). The following day, Truman will announce the establishment of the Economic Stabilization Agency.
▲Saturday, September 9
▲Sunday, September 10
▲Monday, September 11
Sep 11: Thirty-three soldiers are killed and sixty-eight injured while riding in the last three cars of a troop train when the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Spirit of St. Louis rams the rear. The troop train, with 700 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 109th Field Artillery on board, is on its way to Camp Atterbury, Indiana when it stops automatically due to a broken air hose at about 6:10 a.m. about seven miles west of Coshocton, Ohio. The train’s fireman places lanterns and flairs about a hundred yards (100 m) down the tracks to warn approaching trains. Five minutes later, the Spirit of St. Louis, performing its regular run from New York to St. Louis in the pre-dawn fog with 240 on board, plows into the rear cars of the troop train. The Spirit’s engineer is the only person injured on that train. The railroad’s signaling system had issued a caution signal several miles back, which required the Spirit’s engineer to slow down to 30 mph (about 45 kmh), but he doesn’t heed the signal. By the time he reaches the stop and proceed signal, he is still moving at about 70 mph (115 kmh). He will later admit that he was running half an hour late and was trying to make up time to meet schedule. He applies the brakes when he sees the stopped troop train, but the Spirit is still moving at about 50 mph (80 kmh) when it rams the train. All but one of the dead are from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and nearby communities.
Sep 11: Ireene Wicker, popular host of children’s television program The Singing Lady on ABC, reveals that Kellogg, her program’s sponsor, has suddenly cancelled the show. She says that she finds it a “curious coincidence” that the action came after the publication last June of Red Channels, which is quickly becoming the basis of a blacklist in the entertainment field. Red Channels alleges that Wicker served on a committee to re-elect a Communist New York City councilman, and that she sided with leftists during the Spanish Civil War. Wicker denies knowing the New York councilman, and none of the records from his campaigns list her as a volunteer or supporter. Her alleged support for Spanish leftists stems from a 1945 benefit she hosted in her home for Spanish refugee children. Wicker has hosted The Singing Lady for Kellogg since 1931 on the NBC Blue radio network and since 1948 on ABC television. She is the second known celebrity, following Jean Muir’s dismissal from General Foods and NBC, to lose her job thanks to Red Channels, although Kellogg claims that their decision was “just business” due to low ratings. Wicker won’t return to television until 1953, after an apology from the House Un-American Activities Committee.
▲Tuesday, September 12
Sep 12: South Korean forces have succeeded in clearing out North Korean troops in Yongchon (Yeongcheon), and have pushed the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) almost eight miles north and east. ROK forces press northward from Kyongju (Gyeongju) to close the gap in their lines. It now appears that the KPA offensive in the east has ended, with scouts reporting that North Korean troops are spotted moving northward and eastward. The greatest danger at the moment is in fighting north and northwest of the Taegu (Daegu), where the KPA has captured Hill 314, bringing it that much closer to Taegu. A counterattack drives the KPA off of the hill, an Americans will hold it for the next six days. Other forces hold the line west and northwest of Taegu, but only with the greatest difficulty. Ammunition shortages have grown critical. The Army has reduced the ration of 105-mm. howitzer ammunition from fifty to twenty-five rounds per howitzer per day, except in cases of emergency. Carbine ammunition is also critically scarce. The 17th Field Artillery Battalion, with the first 8-inch howitzers to arrive in Korea, can’t fire due to a lack of ammunition. On the western perimeter along the Naktong (Nakdong) river, the KPA offensive has stalled out. Repeated pounding by United Nations air strikes and ground artillery have effectively destroyed the KPA’s offensive capabilities in that area, and now both sides are dug in for fierce battles to hold their respective lines.
Sep 12: Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson resigns, effective September 19, “to promote national and international unity.” Johnson acknowledges in his resignation letter that in his eighteen months as Defense Secretary, he has made “more enemies than friends.” He also recommends Gen. George C. Marshall to succeeds him, a recommendation that Truman accepts. Johnson has come under withering criticism for the military’s lack of readiness to react to the Korean invasion. Johnson and other Defense Department officials have also irked the Administration with their foreign policy criticisms which are seen as undermining Secretary of State Dean Acheson. In recent days, a small handful of Democrats have joined Republicans in calling for his ouster. Johnson’s resignation is expected to lead to a wider housecleaning at the Defense Department.
Sep 12: Rep. Karl Stefan (R-NE) calls on the FBI to investigate the high death rate among hogs in Nebraska. Local farmers told Stefan that they have been losing almost half of their hogs after they were vaccinated for cholera. Stefan says he thinks the deaths are the result of biological warfare waged by enemies of the United States. “This could wipe out our pork population, and it is apparently some kind of a plot to ruin our pork supply. It has been going on since 1949 and appears to be getting work.” Stefan says he thinks that Communists have infiltrated laboratories that manufacture the anti-cholera vaccine.
▲Wednesday, September 13
▲Thursday, September 14
Sep 14: Now that the September offensive by the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) has apparently stalled, it is now the U.N. forces’ turn to launch a counter-offensive along the northern part of the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. American commanders say that the intent is to go after the KPA before it has a chance to regroup and launch a new assault. In the east, The South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) forces press northward from Kyongju (Gyeongju) and are now at the southern edge of Angang-ni. Reconnaissance reports indicate that the KPA is moving northward to Kigye. The Taegu (Daegu) sector however remains the most critical situation facing U.N. forces, where fierce battles for key hilltops have waged non-stop. North of Taegu, U.S. forces attack from their positions on Hill 314 and take back part of Hill 570, alleviating somewhat the threat to Taegu from the north. At the same time, ROK forces attack from the southeast and take Hill 755 by nightfall, with some elements reaching the stone ramparts of the ancient fortress on top of Ka-san (Ga-san) at about the same time. U.N. commanders say that they see raised moral and newfound confidence among South Korean soldiers. Reconnaissance reports indicate that the KPA is withdrawing into within the walled fortress, while other elements at Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri) are seen moving northward. But on the main road west of Taegu and in the mountains northwest of the city, savage fighting by both sides have yielded very few gains for either side, leaving the U.N. command with little choice but to continue preparations for a possible close-in defense of Taegu. While preparing for the worst, Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army, promises his troops that they will soon begin an offensive that will cause the KPA to “fold.”
Sep 14: Four weeks ago, a South Korean and American task force set up shop on the island of Yonghung-do (Yeongheung-do). There, they recruited local men and teenage boys to serve as a small security and reconnaissance force. Last week, a small North Korean contingent that had been defending Inchon moved south and tried to land on Yonghung-do, but the local security force, consisting of sailing junks, sampans and a motorized junk armed with machine guns, thwarted the attempt. Today, the KPA brought a larger force to bear on the island. The American and South Korean task force evacuate the island, and set off for Palmi-do, where they re-ignite the light house, which they had disabled earlier, to help guide an approaching U.N. invasion force. Back on Yonghung-do, the KPA round up and shoot fifty men, women, and children left behind. Meanwhile, big guns from American and British warships begin shelling Inchon and planes from aircraft carriers are bombing and strafing 100 miles (160 km) of coastland.
▲Friday, September 15
Sep 15: A massive naval armada, consisting of ships from the U.S., South Korea, Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand and Great Britain, arrive in the pre-dawn hours off of Korea’s western coast near Inchon (Incheon). Their mission is a surprise landing at the the port city of 250,000 people. Timing the invasion with the tides is critical. When the tide is out, most of Inchon is surrounded by large mud flats, with only a couple of very narrow shipping channels dug out for access to the port’s facilities. Those narrow approach channels are only about twelve feet (3½ m) deep during low tide, while the rest of Inchon is surrounded by mud flats. September 15 coincides with the highest tides at Inchon for the month, with high tide bringing a 30-foot (9 m) rise. This gives the U.N. landing craft a couple of hours in which to operate without becoming beached in the mud. Morning high tide peaks at 6:59 a.m., and evening high tide peaks at 7:19 p.m. In preparatory action over the past several days, U.N. navies and air forces have been pounding a large swath of Korea’s western coast, with a special emphasis on the island of Wolmi-do, which is just west of Inchon and connected to it by a causeway. Just the day before, Womli-do was hit with naval forces firing 1,732 5-inch (127 mm) shells, and air force raids dropping 93 canisters of napalm. By noon that day, the guns on Wolmi-do fell silent. Now, with the approaching morning tide, the Advance Attack Group heads to Wolmi-do’s western side, codenamed Green Beach, for the first wave of an amphibious assault. The plan calls for capturing Wolmi-do during the morning tide, and for the Marines to use positions on Wolmi-do to provide cover for landings on Inchon itself during the evening high tide. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command, watches from the bridge of command ship USS Mt. McKinley as the first wave reaches Green Beach at 6:33 a.m. They encounter very little opposition. One group of Marines raise the American flag on Wolmi-do’s 335-foot (105 m)) peak half an hour after landing. Another group crosses the Island and seals off the causeway to Inchon. The entire island is secured by 7:50. As the tide goes out, some of the landing craft wind up getting beached in the mud before all of their supplies can be offloaded. Later that morning, a squad of Marines cross the causeway to Sowolmi-do, where they encounter of platoon of North Koreans. Some surrender, others are killed or swim into the sea. In the morning’s operation, American casualties are light: no one killed, and only seventeen wounded. The Marines spend the rest of the morning and afternoon preparing defensive and firing positions, while anxiously waiting for a North Korean attack once word of the landing reaches KPA commanders in Seoul. Says MacArthur, “The Navy and the Marines have never before shone more brightly than this morning.”
Sep 15: The 7:19 p.m. high tide at Inchon (Incheon) provides the next opportunity for United Nations forces to launch its assault on Inchon proper. Throughout the day since the Marines captured Wolmi-do, United Nations air and naval forces have been bombarding areas up to twenty miles (32 km) west of Inchon to prevent the North Koreans from dispatching reinforcements from Seoul. At about 5:30, U.S. Marines begin scaling the sea walls with ladders near the northern industrial portion of Inchon, codenamed Red Beach. They encounter an intense firefight on the northern end of Red Beach, but are able to suppress it quickly. Twenty minutes after landing, a Marine company fires a flare from atop Cemetery Hill, signaling its capture. Other elements reach Observatory Hill by midnight. At another site to the south, codenamed Blue Beach, Marines scale a high seawall and move northward to the main highway to Seoul. By the end of the day, Marine casualties are twenty killed, one missing in action and 174 wounded. This marks the end of America’s first amphibious assault since landing at Okinawa in April of 1945.
Sep 15: Jazz pianist Hazel Scott appears before the House Un-American Activities Committee to deny that she has been a Communist or Communist sympathizer. A child prodigy and Juilliard graduate, the Trinidadian-born Scott is one of the first persons of African descent to host a national network television program. Her name appeared in the booklet Red Channels last June. She appears voluntarily before the HUAC but just as the hearing was about to get underway, chairman John S. Wood (D-GA) says he has other commitments and she will have to return another time. But with the press present, Scott stays and reads from her prepared statement. “It is the activity of Counter-Attack which prompted me to ask for a hearing,” she says. “I, myself, am one of the victims of their technique of half-truth and guilt-by-listing… I, for one, am not ready to hand over American’s entertainment industry to Moscow.” She denies ever knowingly participating in Communist Party or its front organizations. She acknowledges supporting Communist Party member Benjamin J. Davis’s run for City Council, but argues that Davis was supported by socialists, a group that “has hated Communists longer and more fiercely than any other.” Scott is married to Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY), who in 1944 became the first African-American to be elected to Congress from New York. The Hazel Scott Show premiered on the DuMont network on July 3, and airs on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 7:45 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (Fifteen-minute programs are still common in 1950). Despite critical acclaim and decent ratings, the program is soon without a sponsor and DuMont will cancel it on September 29. She will continue to perform in the U.S., but by the late fifties she will move to France and won’t return to the U.S. until 1967.
▲Saturday, September 16
Sep 16: The two Marine regiments on shore in Inchon link up at about 7:30 a.m. and create a solid line around Inchon (Incheon). Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines conduct mop-up operations in Inchon while the Americans begin pushing eastward. Marine aircraft from the USS Sicily engage six North Korean T34 tanks moving toward Inchon on the Seoul-Inchon highway just north of Kansong-ni (Ganseok-dong), about three miles (5 km) from Inchon. The Corsairs take out three of them, and an advance platoon of Marines and accompanying Pershings take out two more. The sixth T34 apparently hightails it back to Seoul. After that, the Marine advancement goes smoothly against light resistance, and by evening reach their objectives at the former village of Taejong-ni, better known now as Ascom City, where the U.S. Army once had its Army Support Command depot during its occupation following World War II. The Marines encounter very little resistance and their casualties are light: four killed and twenty-one wounded.
Sep 16: The U.N. forces try to launch a massive effort to break out of the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. U.N. commanders choose to wait one day following the Inchon (Incheon) landing to allow the news lift the spirits of U.N. soldiers while depressing the morale of the enemy. American, British and South Korean morale soars as predicted, but the North Korans keep their soldiers uninformed about what’s happening 160 miles (260 km) to their rear. Consequently, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) is able to maintain the initiative, and its attacks continue to pin down U.N. forces in most sectors, limiting the U.N. forces’ ability to move troops around to launch a major attack. The general attack, set for 9:00 a.m., doesn’t have much effect because throughout the perimeter, heavy fighting is already taking place anyway. In most areas, it’s practically impossible to tell the difference in the intensity of the fighting at 9:00 from what it was at 7:00, or even from the day before. Furthermore, the morning dawns with cloudy skies and heavy rain, severely curtailing operations by U.N. air forces operating in the perimeter.
Sep 16: In the eastern sector, Republic of Korea (ROK) forces continue their advance into Angang-ni, fighting their way through the streets. The town is cleared by the end of the day. Over to the east, the ROK crosses the Hyongsan (Hyeongsan) River just south of Pohang. The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) is slowly retreating northward into the mountains, but it will continue fighting stubborn delaying actions for the better part of a week. In the Taegu (Daegu) sector, the KPA continues to battle American and ROK forces to a standstill. Fighting in the lower Naktong (Nakdong) River sector, north of the Bulge and west of Changnyong (Changnyeong), affords the U.N. their only opportunity to advance when, at about midafternoon, the KPA begins to vacate their positions and flee toward the Naktong. American forces capture Hill 208 overlooking the river. With the skies clearing, air strikes with napalm, rockets and strafing, combined with ground artillery, decimates KPA forces as they try to cross the Naktong. The slaughter of the KPA at the Naktong will continue through much of the next day.
Sep 16-18: After Communist China consolidated its power near the Vietnam border earlier this year, the government of Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) started training Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnamese independence movement, the Viet Minh, transforming it from a band of guerrillas to a relatively modern, well-equipped army. The Viet Minh’s greatest obstacle now in taking its war for independence to the French is its ability to move easily from China into northern Vietnam. The French have established a string of fortifications along Route Coloniale 4, which runs from Cao Bang to Lang Som along the Chinese border. These forts serve as a de-facto border between China and French Indochona, and block the Viet Minh from moving between China and Viet Minh-held territory. In recent months, the Viet Minh have stepped up attacks along RC4. Earlier this month, the French command in Saigon concluded that holding the isolated, lonely outposts was now untenable, and drew up plans to evacuate Cao Bang in early October. They designated Dong Khe, guarded by a French Foreign Legion garrison of 300 troops, as the rendezvous point. The Viet Minh have apparently learned of the evacuation plans. To forestall the evacuation and cut Cao Bang off from the rest of Vietnam, the Viet Minh hurl five infantry and heavy weapons battalions at the Dong Khe cluster of fortifications. On the first day, they make quick work of several outlying forts. On the second day, the Viet Minh work their way into Dong Khe itself. The main fortress finally falls after 54 hours of fighting. Only twelve French survivors escape to That Khe. The Viet Minh take 140 prisoners, with the rest either killed or missing in action. This battle is the first victory for the Viet Minh using conventional (non-guerilla) equipment, tactics, and command and control. In doing so, they sever a link in the French defense system along the Chinese border. This is the opening phase of a series of battles along RC4 over the next month that will lead to France’s worst defeat in the war so far.
▲Sunday, September 17
Sep 17: Just before dawn, six more North Korean T34 tank, accompanied by about 200 infantry, are spotted coming down the highway from Seoul to Inchon (Incheon), apparently unaware that the Marines are a little beyond Ascom City. The Marines quickly take out the attack, killing all six tanks and crew, and mowing down much of the infantry. Later that morning, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command, goes ashore at Inchon (Incheon). He makes a quick tour of the landing sites and heads out toward Ascom City, where he inspects the still-smoking hulls of the North Korean T34 tanks killed a few hours earlier. Shorty after MacArthur’s entourage leaves, seven dazed North Koreans crawl out of a culvert where MacArthur’s jeep was parked and meekly surrender. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines move slowly northeast from Ascom City against light resistance and arrive at the southern edge of Kimpo (Gimpo) field by nightfall. With darkness falling, the Marines stop short of taking the airport itself in case it is sabotaged or mined. Kimpo had been Seoul’s main airport before the war. Along the main highway to Seoul, another Marine battalion encounters heavy resistance at Sosa, slowing its advance.
Sep 17: The newly-activated National Production Authority orders inventory controls on thirty-two important war materials in order to shield the defense industry from shortages due to consumer or industrial hoarding. Materials falling under the order include lumber, steel, rubber, and nylon yarn. Because shortages so far are more potential than real, the new regulations aren’t expected to cause new shortages to develop.
▲Monday, September 18
Sep 18: The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) launch several small attacks overnight against U.S. Marine positions just south of Kimpo (Gimpo) Airfield west of Seoul. Both attacks are easily repelled, with the KPA remnants fleeing toward the Han River. U.S. Marines take control of Kimpo Field and its surrounding villages shortly after dawn. The airport boasts a 6,000-foot (,1830 m) hard-surface runway with a weight capacity of 120,000 pounds (54,400 kg). The Marines are surprised to discover that the airport hadn’t been mined and the runway is still in good shape. They also find a Soviet-built Yakolev Yak-3 fighter and two Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack fighters, all in close to flyable condition. A damaged Marine Corsair makes an emergency landing at Kimpo at 2:09 p.m., making it the first U.N. landing at the field. Later in the day, advance elements of a Marine Air Group flies in from Japan. Marine Corsairs and cargo flights will arrive the next day. Shortly after taking Kimpo Field, the Marines arrive at the south bank of the Han River. Along the main highway to Seoul, the Marines take Sosa, but encounter stiff resistance in the hills east of town. Back at Inchon, U.N. forces are making good use of the port. Despite the shallow waters around Inchon, they’ve managed to offload 25,606 soldiers, 4,547 vehicles and 14,166 tons (12,851 metric tons) of cargo. Among the reinforcements are the U.S. 7th Division, which will be sent to the area south of Highway 2. Their job will be to press toward Korea’s primary highway and railroad line at Anyang and cut off KPA movement from the south.
Sep 18: This is the first day in which a North Korean communiqué mentions Inchon, but without admitting that U.N. forces have landed. “On 15 September and 16 September detachments of the People’s Army’s coastal defenses in the area of Inchon brought down two American fighter planes.” Another four days will pass before the North Koreans mention Inchon again.
Sep 18: In the eastern sector of the Pusan (Busan Perimeter), Republic of Korea (ROK) forces and their Korean People’s Army (KPA) opponents have battled each other to the point of exhausted. The KPA’s 8th Division is showing strains, and 15th division is practically destroyed. This gives the ROK an edge in strength, and it is slowly pushing the KPA northward. The ROK’s greatest victory comes in the Taegu (Daegu) sector, where it finds a gap in the enemy’s positions in the high mountains and plunges down into a point in the road from Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri) to Kunwi (Gunwi), about ten miles (16 km) north of Tabu-dong. The ROK is now in the KPA’s rear, in a position to cut off a main supply line and avenue of retreat. Northwest of Taegu, American forces finally take hill 268, which dominates the southern approach to Waegwan. This prevents the KPA from sending reinforcements northward and makes its positions along Highway 1 between Waegwan and Taegu untenable. But the most important event of the day takes place along the lower Naktong (Nakdong) River. American forces cross the river near Pugong-ni (Bugok-ri), and discover that the high ground on the west side of the river is clear of enemy troops. By evening, American forces take Hill 308 a mile (1½ km) west of the river. The hill gives troops a view of the road to Chogye. This is the first time any U.N. unit has stood on the west bank of the Naktong River since their withdrawal to the Pusan Perimeter in July. Further south, American forces drive the KPA out of the Naktong Bulge with the exception of Hill 201, which the North Koreans stubbornly cling to despite repeated assaults.
▲Tuesday, September 19
Sep 19: U.S Marines reach the western outskirts of Yongdungpo (Yeongdeungpo), a large industrial suburb southwest of Seoul. They reach their objectives with little effort on the northern approaches along the Han River, but the battalions moving along the main highway from Sosa are slowed by anti-tank mines in the road. The U.S. Army’s 7th Division, which is deployed south of Sosa, spends the day mopping up and makes little forward progress to Anyang.
Sep 19: News of the Inchon (Incheon) landing appears to be filtering down to soldiers in the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA). KPA leaders have apparently been withholding news about what’s happening 160 miles (250 km) to their rear. But that appears to be changing now, perhaps aided by some three million leaflets dropped by American B-29s the day before. The KPA’s 3rd Division’s defenses at Waegwan collapses by 9:00 a.m. and what’s left of the division begins a panic-stricken retreat across the Naktong (Nakdong). Aerial spotters report an estimated 1,500 enemy troops crossing the river and by afternoon, when U.S. forces enter Waegwan, spotters say the roads north of town are jammed with enemy soldiers. But fierce fighting continues in the hills between Waegwan and Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri), despite Republic of Korea (ROK) forces continuing to cut off North Korean supply roads by capturing the crossroads village of Pyongsu-dong (Byeongsu-ri) and threatening to surround KPA forces on top of Ka-San (Ga-san) by capturing Kumhwa (Geumhwa-ri). Six miles (10 km) south of Waegwan, U.S. forces cross the Naktong just before dawn just south of Kuman-dong (Geuman-ri). Despite withering enemy machine gun, mortar and artillery fire, the American forces, supported by air napalm and strafing strikes, complete the crossing and take Hill 174 by noon. Another battalion crosses and takes the next hill further north toward Waegean. In the Naktong Bulge, American forces finally capture Hill 201 after a hard day’s fight. Further south at Masan front, American forces discover that the KPA has abandoned the crest of Battle Mountain overnight, allowing them to advance westward from Koman-ni (Geoman-ri) to Chungam-ni (Jungam-ri).
Sep 19: The Philippine 10th Infantry Battalion Combat Team began unloading at Pusan (Busan). They represent the third U.N. allied force to land on the Korean Peninsula. They join American and British forces fighting alongside Republic of Korean troops defending the Pusan Perimeter. American, Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand naval and air forces have also joined the battle.
Sep 19:While South Korea’s U.N. allies debate whether to pursue the North Korean invaders beyond the 38th oarallel, no such debate exists in the mind of South Korean President Syngman Rhee. He tells a mass meeting in Pusan (Busan), that he doesn’t expect his allies to stop at the 38th parallel, but even if they do, “we will not allow ourselves to stop. We have to advance as far as the Manchurian border until not a single enemy soldier is left in our country.” Home Minister Chough Pyung Ok tells the cheering crowd, “The day of reunion of the long-separated fellow citizens in South and North is not far off.”
Sep 19: The government of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee scores an important victory when Parliament votes 306 to 300 to support the Labour Government’s decision to put into effect a law providing for the nationalization of Britain’s iron and steel industry. The vote comes on a censure motion put forward by Conservative Party leader Winston Churchill criticizing the Government for moving forward on the controversial measure during this time of international crisis. The Iron and Steel Act, which allows for the nationalization of Britain’s iron and steel industries, was enacted last November before the February election that reduced Labour’s large working majority to seven.
▲Wednesday, September 20
Sep 20: At 8:00 p.m. night before, fourteen U.S. Marines dipped into the chilly waters of the Han River at a ferry crossing site three miles (5 km) northeast of Kimpo (Gimpo) Airfield and cross safely to the north side. The swimming party verified that the crossing site was suitable for amphibious troop carriers and that the coast was clear. But as soon as the noisy amphibious tractors were in the water, they were met with mortar and machine gun fire. The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) is well aware of the likelihood that the Marines would try to cross at the former ferry site and placed a carefully camouflaged battalion in the under brush along Hill 125. This brings the crossing attempt to a temporary halt. At 6:45 a.m., following a heavy U.S. artillery preparation against the KPA’s positions at Hill 125, the Marines launch an assault crossing. Automatic and small arms fire from Hill 125 cause heavy casualties, but the Marines capture it by 9:40. Another battalion moves a mile (1½ km) inland to cut the main national railroad line near Nung-dong (Neunggok-dong). Meanwhile, the Marines launch an intense bombardment of the sprawling industrial suburb of Yongdungpo (Yeongdeungpo), setting it into flames. South of Yongdunggpo, the U.S. 7th Division sweeps eastward and takes Anyang, cutting off the main national railroad and highway south of Seoul and blocking any attempt by the KPA to rush reinforcements from the south to Seoul.
Sep 20: With Kimpo (Gimpo) Airfield secured, the U.S. Air Force quickly activates it as an Air Force base and inaugurates an airlift of supplies, equipment, with flights arriving every eight minutes. Located just nine miles from Seoul, the airfield is in excellent position to support American and South Korean troops approaching the former South Korean capital.
Sep 20: North Korean radio remains silent the Inchon (Incheon) landing or the fighting near Seoul. Instead, it confines its bulletins to events at the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. “In the area of Taegu and Masan, units of the People’s Army are firmly holding positions they occupied previously. The enemy, with the support of aircraft and tanks, several times undertook counter-attacks. The People’s Army beat off all counter-attacks of the enemy and inflicted heavy blows on him.” The reality on the ground is very different. Republic of Korea (ROK) combat patrols had reached the edge of Pohang the night before, and in the morning, it captures the destroyed fishing and harbor village, with one regiment driving on through town to the high ground north of it. North of Taegu (Daegu) the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) ensconced in the hills astride the road to Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri) continue to frustrate efforts by American forces to push northward. This comes despite impressive gains by the ROK Capital division that has pushed north of the ancient walled mountain fortress of Ka-san (Ga-san). Meanwhile, forces move north from Waegwan and capture two hills north and northeast of town. Later that evening, they begin crossing the Naktong about a mile (1½ km) north of the blown-out Waegwan railroad bridge. Another battalion moves from Waegwan eastward along a road that threads its way through a narrow valley between two mountain ranges to Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri). The plan is to take Tabo-dong, meet up with the South Korean as they work their way south from Kumhwa (Geumhwa-ri), and encircle the KPA on the Ka-san and the mountains west of the road from Taegu to Tabu-dong. The battalion’s progress is hindered by mines, ambushes, roadblocks, dead oxen and broken oxcarts, disabled T34 tanks, and other abandoned and broken military equipment and supplies. By evening, they only get as far as Togae-dong (Dogae-ri). South of Waegwan, where U.S. forces yesterday crossed the Naktong, those forces move up into the hills on the west bank overlooking Waegwan to block any enemy reinforcements that might try to move up from Songju (Seongju). Further south, just above the Naktong Bulge, U.S. forces make another crossing, without opposition. The pre-dawn crossing catches the KPA by surprise. A lead element captures a North Korean Lieutenant colonel and his staff still asleep. Captured maps reveal the locations of ther remnants of three KPA divisions in the Sinban-ni area. The Americans capture undefended hills overlooking Sinban-ni by nightfall. Further south, American forces capture Chungam-ni (Jungam-ri) early in the morning, along with the ridgeline that extends northwest from Chungam-ni to the Nam River. It is now evident that the KPA is in full, orderly retreat along the southern front. Between Chugan-ni and the Naktong river, they have withdrawn to the northwest banks of the Nam, and they will abandon the massive Sobuk-san mountain stronghold, with its numerous ridges and abandoned coal mines, sometime during the night.
Sep 20: Congress defies President Truman’s veto threat and passes the Internal Security Act of 1950. Known as the McCarran Act for its author, Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV), it requires Communist organizations to register with the Attorney General, prohibits the employment of Communists in the federal government, prevents Communists from holding passports, and sets up the Subversive Activities Control Board to ferret out suspected Communists. It’s most controversial clause, known as the “detention act,” gives the President the power to declare an emergency and place suspected Communists or Communist sympathizers into concentration camps. J. Edgar Hoover says he has already drawn up a list of twelve thousand people should the President declare such an emergency. The House vote is 312-20; the Senate’s is 51-7. Both are veto-proof majorities.
Sep 20: While Congress is wrapping up work on the Internal Security Act of 1950, commonly known as the McCarran Act, Attorney General J. Howard McGrath pleads for calm at a joint meeting of the American and Canadian Bar Associations in Washington, D.C. “We appear,” he says, “to be going through a period of public hysteria, in which self-appointed policemen, and alleged guardians of Americanism, would have us fight subversion by prescribing an orthodoxy of opinion, and stigmatizing as disloyal all who disagree or oppose them. McGrath ridicules the proposed requirement for Communist party and communist-front organizations to register with the Justice Department. He says new law will “count for little in fighting wily persons trained in and bent upon intrigue and deception.”
▲Thursday, September 21
Sep 21: U.S. Marines on the north bank of the Han River repulse a small counterattack by the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) before heading down the main national railroad line toward Seoul. They encounter virtually no opposition and by afternoon reach to within four miles (6½ km) of downtown Seoul. There, KPA resistance suddenly stiffens and it will take another week of desperate fighting to move those final four miles. South of the Han, U.S. Marines begin battling KPA forces at the sprawling industrial suburb of Yongdungpo (Yeongdeungpo). KPA offers stubborn resistance on the northern flank along the Han and at the southern flank where the railroads converge and enter the city. But a Marine battalion between the two locations are surprised to discover that the center is undefended. They walk right into Yongdungpo, attack KPA troops rushing up to the fighting along the Han, and reach all the way to the other side of town to the blown-out bridges crossing into Seoul. They spend the rest of the day harassing supply lines. The KPA will attempt another tank attack on the main Seoul-to-Inchon road late that evening before abandoning Yongdungpo overnight and retreating back across the Han into Seoul. Meanwhile, the U.S. 7th Division captures Anyang after a day-long delay caused by extensive mine fields along the narrow dirt road leading into Anyang from the west. With the occupation of Anyang, they can block any KPA forces that may be rushing northward from the Perimeter to defend Seoul.
Sep 21: North Korean radio finally acknowledges that U.N. forces have landed at Inchon. The official communiqué says, “In the Inchon direction, troops of the People’s Army continue to wage a stubborn defensive battle against American landing units.”
Sep 21: In the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter, Republic of Korea (ROK) forces push the KPA northward throughout the eastern sector. The ROK has effectively destroyed the KPA 8th division as a combat force and survivors are now fleeing through the back roads and mountain trails to Yechon (Yecheon). This allows the ROK 6th and 8th divisions to exploit a second northern breakthrough towards Uisong (Uiseong). Above Taegu (Daegu), the American battalion at Tongae-dong resume their push eastward toward Tabu-dong (Dabu-ri). They reach Tabu-dong at about 1:00 p.m., where they encounter heavy KPA resistance. They clear Tabu-dong after a 3½-hour battle. An hour later, they move south down the road to Taegu, as American forces to the south begin moving north. They complete the first encirclement by nightfall. The second encirclement around the ancient mountain fortress of Ka-san (Ga-san) takes place at about the same time when ROK forces at Kumhwa (Geumhwa-ri) attack southward and meet American forces north of Tabu-dong. To the west along the Naktong (Nakdong) River, American forces encounter savage fighting as they widen their beachheads northwest and southwest of Waegwan. Along the lower Naktong, American forces also encounter heavy opposition while taking several hills overlooking Chogye. Further to the south, American forces capture a sharp, narrow bend in the road known as the Notch. From there, they sweep westward eight miles without resistance, blowing past the Munchon-ni road fork to high ground at the Chinju (Jinju) pass. Progress further south is slower, not so much because of enemy action, but because challenges posed by the rugged terrain. Sobuk-san (Seobuksan), along with other mountain ranges further to the south, with their many ridges, abandoned coal mines, gullies and deep valleys, afford countless opportunities for the enemy to ambush advancing troops. Undoubtedly, memories of the horrific ambushes of Bloody Gulch are still fresh in the minds of American soldiers. But by the end of the day, it becomes apparent that the KPA has completely withdrawn from the area.
Sep 21: In London, Britain’s Attorney General Sir Hartley Shawcross says that the Government will not introduce sweeping legislation to curb the activities of “the Communist enemies within our gates.” He doesn’t preclude such legislation sometime in the future, but says, “We must keep our heads for panic legislation on such matters is not wise.” Sir Hartley says that the best way to deal with Communists is through a robust and strong public opinion.
▲Friday, September 22
Sep 22: U.S. Marines on the Han River’s north bank approach Seoul’s western city limits, where they’re blocked by KPA forces. Hill 296, with its numerous ridges and adjoining hills, serves as a natural fortification at Seoul’s western approaches. Used by Japanese occupation forces for tactical training, its ridges are already dug out for firing positions, command posts and observation sites. About 10,000 KPA soldiers are in the hill complex. After a hard day’s fight, the Marines take the crest of Hill 296 by nightfall. But KPA soldiers occupying extensive defenses on its ridges and surrounding hillsides are well positioned to provide withering crossfire. Another Marine battalion takes the crest of Hill 105-South after suffering heavy losses. They, too, come under devastating cross-fire as they try to hold it. Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines try to take Hill 56, a low ridge that extends south from Hill 296, but relentless fire coming from multiple directions halt their advance. The two sides will remain locked in pitched battles with neither side gaining much ground. South of Seoul and across the Han, the KPA abandoned the sprawling industrial suburb of Yongdungpo (Yeongdeungpo) overnight after failing to dislodge the U.S. Marines from the eastern town limits the previous day. Marines spend the day performing mop-up operations and preparing sweep the rest of the Han’s south bank before crossing into Seoul. The U.S. 7th Infantry extends its control northward to the Marine positions in Yongdungpo, while other units race south to Suwan, taking the ancient city and its airfield before dark. They will spend the next three days fortifying the area south of Suwan for an expected attack by the KPA’s 105th Armored Division which is reported to be moving north from Chochiwon (Jochiwon), just fifty miles (80 km) away.
Sep 22: The Pusan (Busan) Perimeter breakout accelerates as the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) effectively disintegrates as a fighting force. Along the east coast, Republic of Korea (ROK forces continues its strong attacks northward from Pohang, capturing Hunghae (Heunghae) and Chongha (Cheongha) as the the North Korans fall all the way back to Yongdok in disorder. Above Taegu (Daegu), ROK Army and National Police units begin the day by capturing the ancient walled mountaintop fortress of Ka-san. Northwest of there, KPA resistance completely collapses as the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division and the ROK 1st Division embark on a twenty-mile (32 km) dash all the way to the ferry crossing at Naktong-ni (Nakdong-myeon), where they stop overnight. West of Waegwan, the U.S. 24th Division advances eight miles (13 km) toward Kumchon (Gimcheon). KPA resistance remains stiff between Songju and the Naktong Bulge. But below there, the US. 25th division and ROK units rush southwest to Taechon-ni (Daecheon-ri) and Samchonpo (Samcheonpo-si), and arrive on the high ground overlooking Chinju (Jinju).
Sep 22: President Truman vetos the McCarran Act. In a strongly-worded veto message, He calls it “the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798,” a “mockery of the Bill of Rights” and a “long step toward totalitarianism.” As expected, the House of Representatives override Truman’s veto the same day in a 286-48 vote. Senate action is held up by an overnight filibuster by Sens. Herbert H. Lehman (D-NY), William “Wild Bill” Langer (R-ND), Paul Douglas (D-IL), James Murray (D-MT) and Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN). Langer, who is diabetic, speaks for five straight hours before collapsing on the Senate floor. He is rushed to the hospital, where he will recover. The Senate finally overrides Truman’s veto late in the afternoon the next day in a 57-10 vote.
Sep 22: Congress approves a bipartisan bill to raise personal income taxes by a range of from 12 to 20%. The increase becomes fully effective next year, but would also apply to a fourth of this year’s income. The top marginal tax rate for incomes above $200,000 (about $2.1 million today) remains unchanged at 91%. The bill also raises corporate taxes by an average of 15 percent, and will apply to half of this year’s income. Thirty-two House Republicans had demanded a tax on excess profits. They signed a statement declaring, “It is intolerable to send American youth into battle, or even to freeze wages and prices, without at the same time removing the excess profits resulting from war.” House leaders agree to consider an excess profits tax as a separate measure. The income tax increases are intended to raise revenue to help finance the Korean war and military rearmament. The House approves the emergency measure 328 to 7. The Senate approves it in a voice vote with no audible “noes”.
Sep 22: The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight in jet aircraft ends when U.S. Air Force Col. David C. Schilling lands his Republic F84E Thunderjet at Limestone Air Force Base in Maine. He completes the flight from Manston Air Base, seventy miles (110 km) southeast of London, in ten hours and two minutes with three in-air refuelings. Schilling was part of a two-plane flight. Lt. Col. William D. Ritchie, pilot of a second F-84E, is forced to bail out over Labrador after he fails to connect to an aereal tanker in choppy weather and runs out of fuel at 30,000 feet (9,100 m). He tries to glide to Goose Bay, but he’s about a hundred miles (160 km) short when he is forced to eject. He’s rescued by helicopter with no injuries.
▲Saturday, September 23
Sep 23: The North’s Korean People’s Army’s (KPA) stranglehold on the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter is no more, with American, South Korean and British forces continuing the make advances throughout the area. The biggest breakout occurs northwest of the temporary South Korean capital of Taegu (Daegu). American forces cross the Naktong (Nakdong) River at the abandoned ferry crossing at Naktong-ni (Nakdong-myeon) and travel another ten miles (16 km) to Sanju, where they discover the town abandoned by the enemy. They halt for the night while they wait for their tanks to finish making the crossing at Naktong-ni. Another American force west of Waegwan continues its attack along the principle national highway toward Kumchon (Gimcheon), the perimeter headquarters for the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA). The Americans are stopped at Pusang-dong (Busang-ri), where elements of the KPA 105th Armored Division blocks the way with dug-in camouflaged tanks, antitank guns, and extensive mine fields.
Sep 23: Disaster strikes among British forces fighting near Songju, due west of Taegu. Their objectives are a string of hills guarding the entrance to Songju (Seongju) from the west and southwest. The Middlesex Battalion took Hill 325 the day before, while the Scottish Highlander Argyll Battalion moved up to attack Hill 288. Just before dawn, the Highlanders scale Hill 288 and surprise a North Korean force eating breakfast. The Highlanders quickly seize the hill, but enemy troops across a saddle on Hill 390, supported by artillery and mortar fire, immediately move to counterattack Hill 288. Enemy fire increases in intensity throughout the morning. Shortly before noon, American supporting artillery is withdrawn without explanation and sent northward. Five supporting American tanks remain, but terrain features block their shots. The Argylls call for an air strike on Hill 390. Just before noon, three F-51 Mustangs circle Hill 288 where the British display their ground-to-air recognition panels – two brightly colored silk sheets, three feet long by a foot wide (1 x ⅓m). But an Air Force spotter tells the pilots to ignore them because the KPA often lays out similar decoy panels. Suddenly, at 12:15, the Mustangs attack the wrong hill with napalm and machine gun fire across Argyll positions. In two short minutes, Hill 288 is a sea of orange flame. Survivors plunged fifty feet (15 m) down the slope to escape the burning napalm. The North Koreans take advantage of the chaos and re-take Hill 288. British casualties number almost half of the hill’s defenders: thirteen dead including two officers, seventy-four wounded and two missing. Two-thirds of the casualties are believed to be directly due to the napalm attack. U.S. commanders, shocked at the mishap, order an investigation and relieve all of the U.S. Air Force officers involved. Two days later, Julius Holms, American Ambassador to London, issues an apology to the British government.
Sep 23: Bao Dai, Vietnam’s former emperor and current head of state of the semi-autonomous French State of Vietnam, says his country is ready “for any eventuality, especially since the invasion of Korea,” and is “watching with a vigilant eye” at Communist Viet Minh activity. Bao Dai says this from Cannes, France, where he is vacationing with his family. He has been in France since June, showing very little interest in returning to Vietnam to govern his country despite the French government’s urging. Premier Tran Van Huu has also been in France to attend talks on French Indochina’s economic and customs framework, although his personal attendance is unnecessary. U.S. officials working on military and economic aid programs complain that essential decisions aren’t being made in the leaderless Vietnamese central government, while the French are barely able to conceal their irritation at the two men’s extended absence. Bao Dai was already unpopular when the State of Vietnam was established in January. His absence is only compounding its problems.
Sep 23: President Truman signs the Revenue Act of 1950 into law. The law raises personal income taxes by a range of from 12 to 20%. The increase becomes fully effective next year, but will also apply to a fourth of this year’s income. The top marginal tax rate for incomes above $200,000 (about $2.1 million today) remains unchanged at 91%. The bill also raises corporate taxes by an average of 15 percent, and will apply to half of this year’s income. When the House first approved the bill earlier this year, it began as a bill to reduce excise taxes. But by the time it reached the Senate, the Korean War had broken out and priorities shifted toward funding a major defense buildup. The Senate re-wrote the bill as an income tax increase and returned it to the House. Before the House brought it up for a vote, thirty-two House Republicans signed a statement demanding an additional tax on excess profits. They declared, “It is intolerable to send American youth into battle, or even to freeze wages and prices, without at the same time removing the excess profits resulting from war.” House leaders agreed to consider an excess profits tax as a separate measure. The House approved the emergency measure 328 to 7. The Senate approved the final version in a voice vote with no audible “noes”.
▲Sunday, September 24
Sep 24: A company of U.S. Marines finally captures Hill 56 west of Seoul, with both sides taking heavy losses in three days of exhaustive battles. Company D, with 206 men, suffers 176 casualties — 36 killed, 116 wounded and evacuated, and 26 more wounded but present for duty. But their seizure of Hill 56 finally breaks the back of North Korean defenses. The Marines’ capture their next objectives, the taller Hills 105-North and 105-Center, by mid-afternoon with surprisingly little effort. With those advances, the western defenses of Seoul have fallen. Parts of the U.S. force then shifts to Seoul’s northwestern mountains in a move to cut across the northern edge of Seoul and block escape routes there. Another Marine company along the Han seizes Hill 79 by nightfall and raises the first flag in Seoul proper. Meanwhile, Marines south of the Han have been performing mop-up operations and are preparing to cross the Han into Seoul tomorrow, while the U.S. Army continues to push south from Suwon to just a few miles north of Osan.
Sep 24: The Pusan (Busan) Perimeter breakout accelerates dramatically from the northeast and northwest corners of the perimeter. The South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) forces pursue fleeing North Korean troops along the coastal road to Kugye-dong (Gugye-ri), just 6 ½ miles (11 km) south of Yongdok (Yeungdeok), and through the mountains to Kunwi (Gunwi), Uisong (Uiseong) and Andong. To the east, American Task Force 777 at Sanju spent the night waiting for its tanks to complete their Naktong (Nakdong) river crossing at Naktong-ni (Nakdong-myeon). When the tanks finally arrive shortly before noon, a platoon is sent thirty miles (50 km) further up the road to Poun (Bouen), where it is ordered to halt for the night and wait for further instructions. This move shortens the gap between American forces fighting just north of Osan and the perimeter to about sixty miles (95 km). The task force also sends a contingent south to break the logjam at Kumchon (Gimcheon) and north to Hamchang. West of Taegu, in the aftermath of the accidental napalming of the British Argyll Highlanders the day before, a battalion of the American 19th Infantry down the road from Waegwan and captures Songju (Seongju) at 2:00 a.m. South of Songju, the U.S. 2nd Division fighting in the hills northwest of the Naktong Bulge, surround and take Hyopchon (Hapcheon), cutting off an estimated two enemy battalions still in the town. A furious day of bombing sends the enemy scattering into the mountains in utter disorder.
Sep 24: Heavy smoke from forest fires in northwestern Alberta, Canada, turns mid-afternoon skies dark as night across much of the Great Lakes, Pennsylvania, and New York. Automatic streetlights come on in downtown Buffalo, Pittsburgh and other cities. Residents on the outer fringes of the smoke trail report that the sun has turned a purple or silver color. Residents of Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and elsewhere deluge police and newspaper switchboards calling for information. Many are worried that there had been an atomic explosion. Some think it might be the end of the world. An American Airlines pilot, flying between Cleveland and Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania, smells the smoke and momentarily thinks his plane is on fire. Farm wives report that their chickens have gone to roost in in the middle of the day. Afternoon ball games in Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York are played under lights. The smoke trail, some 600 miles (1,000 km) long and 200 miles (320 km) wide finally floats over the Atlantic by late afternoon. Meanwhile in Alberta, more than 700 fire fighters are continuing a week-long battle against more than thirty fires threatening small towns, farms and valuable timber tracts. The worst fire is raging at the tiny ranch community of Wanham, about 340 miles northwest of Edmonton, where more than fifty square miles have been blackened, destroying homes, cattle, crops and farm machinery. Three days later, the same massive cloud will darken skies over London and northern Europe.
▲Monday, September 25
Sep 25: At 6:30 a.m., U.S. Marines cross the Han at the Sinsa-ri ferry site and move up the slopes of Nam-san, or South Mountain, which sits at the heart of Seoul. North Korean positions on Nam-san are lightly manned and the assault apparently surprises them. The marines take Nam-san with little resistance . Another battalion crosses the Han at 8:30 a.m. and takes Hill 120, which secures the southeastern approach to Seoul. Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines cross the Han and head immediately toward Hill 348 to engage an all-night attack on the western summit. Another ROK battalion joins the U.S. Marines on Nam-san and clears the rest of the mountain by 3:00 p.m. The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA), surprisingly, won’t counterattack until the next morning. Marines northwest of Seoul begin sweeping across the northern mountains after receiving air reconnaissance reports of “enemy fleeing city of Seoul” on Highway 3. At 9:40 p.m., X Corps commander Gen. Edward M. Almond, believing that the KPA is abandoning Seoul, orders a general night attack throughout the city “to the limit of your objectives in order to insure maximum destruction of enemy forces.” But before their overnight attack can get underway, the KPA mounts a ferocious counterattack which prevents the Marines from moving from their evening positions.
Sep 25: Along the east coast, the ROK 3rd Division, with heavy support from U.S. naval gunfire, overrun Yongdok (Yeungdeok). They apparently catch the KPA 5th Division by surprise. The engines of some of their abandoned Russian-built trucks are still running, and artillery pieces are still in position with ammunition at the ready. Whatever remains of the KPA 5th has melted into the mountains and ceases to exist as a fighting force. Other ROK units advance westward toward Yechon and Hanmchang, with some moving as much as sixteen miles (26 km). This is a remarkable feat, considering that the ROK Army, unlike its U.S. and British counterparts, is not motorized. Everything and everyone moves on foot. The ROK’s performance catches the attention of U.S. 8th Army Commander Gen. Walton Walker: “Too little has been said in praise of the South Korean Army which has performed so magnificently in helping turn this war from the defensive to the offensive.”
Sep 25: At dawn, the U.S. 38th Infantry heads out to the northwest from Hypchon (Hapcheon-eup) to their next objective, Kochang (Geochang). But the road is made impassable by tons of abandoned and destroyed North Korean vehicles and heavy equipment abandoend by the KPA 2nd Division the day before. This is virtually the only thing that slows the U.S. Infantry, which is forced to detruck and proceed on foot. After advancing about thirty miles (50km) that day, they stop for the night only a few miles from the napalmed, rocketed and completely destroyed town. Further to the south, U.S. forces overlooking Chinju (Jinju) from across the Nam River learn that the bridges leading into town are blown. So at 2:00 a.m., under the cover of darkness, they cross the Nam about 2½ (4 km) miles southeast of Chinjuz. They then attack and seize Chinju, supported by tank fire from south of the city. Engineers work all night to repair the highway bridge well enough to allow vehicular traffic to cross the next day.
▲Tuesday, September 26
Sep 26: The North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) counter-attack in western Seoul is joined at 4:30, a.m., with a ferocious assault on Nam-san, or South Mountain, located at the heart of Seoul. U.S. Marines on the higher western knoll hold their position, but the Marines on the lower eastern knob are overrun. The Marines finally restores their positions after 2½ hours of intense fighting and spend the rest of the morning clearing the mountain’s slopes leading into the city. In the western part of Seoul, the KPA counterattack dissipates by dawn, and the Marines on Hill 79 begin moving eastward until they reach Ma-po Boulevard (present-day Hangang-daero, or Han River Boulevard), where they turn north toward the main railroad station. By 2:00 p.m., sniper fire and manned barricades limit the Marines’ advance to less than a mile. But they are able to link up with the U.S. and South Korean forces on Nam-san, which are also advancing down the the northern slopes and into the city. To the east of Seoul, ROK and American forces capture Hill 348 and the high ground overlooking the roads east of the city.
Sep 26: Just before midnight the night before, when X Corps commander Gen. Edward M. Almond thought that the KPA was abandoning Seoul, he optimistically announced its liberation in a dispatch to U.N. Command headquarters in Japan. Almond’s announcement occurred three months to the day after North Korea began its invasion. U.N. Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur had set that date as the deadline for capturing Seoul. Almond based his announcement on the seizure of Nam-San earlier in the day, the air reports that the KPA was evacuating the city, and his just-ordered night attack which was, instead, met with a heavy KPA counter-attack. With Almond’s premature announcement, MacArthur releases an official communiqué at 2:10 p.m. proclaiming: “Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, is again in friendly hands. United Nations forces, including the 17th Regiment of the ROK Army and elements of the U.S. 7th and 1st Marine Divisions, have completed the envelopment and seizure of the city.” Almond’s X Corps announcement followed a half-hour later: “Three months to the day after the North Koreans launched their surprise attack south of the thirty-eighth parallel the combat troops of Tenth Corps recaptured the city of Seoul. … By 1400 hours 25 September the military defenses of Seoul were broken and the South Korean troops of the Capital City Regiment began mopping up strong groups of defeated defenders. Reports at the end of this period indicate that the enemy is fleeing the city to the northeast…” Newspapers around the world pick up the announcement with banner headlines, but one Associated Press correspondent remains skeptical. “If the city had been liberated, the remaining North Koreans did not know it.” In fact, pitched battles for control of the city will continue for another forty-eight hours after Almond’s proclaimed victory. In subsequent communiqués, MacArthur will make no mention of further fighting in Seoul. Newspapers will continue to publish accounts of the savage house-to-house fighting in the streets of Seoul, but MacArthur will confine his comments to combat operations south and north of the city.
Sep 26: Lt. Col. Lynch, waiting at Poun (Boeun) for further orders, is told by U.N. Commanders to head northwest out of Poun as fast as possible and link up with American forces north of Osan. Task Force Lynch pulls out of Poun at 11:30 a.m. Lynch orders the lead platoons with six tanks and a small convoy of troop carriers and supply trucks to move at maximum tank speed and not to fire unless fired upon. For mile after mile, they encounter no enemy oppositions. Instead, they are greeted with cheers from villages. When they arrive at Chongju (Cheongju) in mid-afternoon, they find it deserted except for a few civilians. From there, they travel the backroads to Chonan (Cheonan), thereby avoiding Chochiwon (Jochiwon-eup) where aerial reconnaissance indicates there may be a massing of North Korean units. At 6:00 p.m., after traveling sixty-four miles (104 km), the tanks run out of gas just southwest of Chonan. Their fuel trucks are still back with the rest of the task force several miles behind them. Three of the six tanks refuel with gasoline cans collected in the column. Just then, three north Korean Trucks approach. When they realize they have encountered an American column, they abandon their vehicles. The trucks are carrying enough gasoline to refuel the other three tanks. The column resumes its advance at 8:00 p.m. Half an hour later, turn onto the main national highway south of Chonan. They enter Chonan, to find it full of North Korean soldiers, which just stand around and watch as the American tanks roll past. North of Chonan, three lead tanks pull ahead. By the time they get to Osan (which is not yet in American hands), they are out of radio range with the rest of the task force. They roar through enemy fire about three miles (5 km) north of Osan. American tanks on the other side spot the three Task Force Lynch tanks, barreling down on them at high speed and with their headlights on. Unsure of whether the tanks or friend or foe, the Americans let the lead tank run through with the plan to fire on the second tank. But when they see the white star on the lead tank, they hold their fire just in time to avoid a tragedy. The time is 10:26 p.m.; distance travelled is 106 miles (172 km) since 11:30 that morning. Meanwhile, the rest of Task Force Lynch, rushing to catch up with the three lead tanks, encounter ten North Korean tanks just south of Habung-ni (Habuk-ri) at about midnight. In the tank battle that follows, the task force destroys seven T34s and the other three withdraw northward. With two of the task force’s three tanks destroyed, they decide to stay and wait for daylight before going any farther. They will reach American lines north of Osan at 8:26 a.m. the following morning. U.N. commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur celebrates: “While mopping-up fighting is still in progress in this area, all effective escape routes are closed and the fate of the North Korean forces caught in this pocket is sealed.”
Sep 26: Back in the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula, Republic of Korea (ROK) forces move to Yonghae (Yeonghae-myeon), about eight miles (13 km) north of Yongdok (Yeungdeok). Other elements push seven miles (11 km) north of Andong, and by evening advance elements enter Yechon (Yecheon), twenty miles (32 km) to the northwest. Southwest of there, the U.S. 19th Infantry moves up the principal national highway from Kumchon (Gimcheon) and enters Yongdong (Yeongdong) without resistance. It continues pushing westward and enters Okchon (Okcheon) shortly after midnight. This places them within ten miles (16 km) of Taejon (Daejeon). To the south, the U.S. 38th Infantry enters Kochang (Geochang) at 8:30 a.m. After consolidating its position there, it moves on to Anui at 7:30 p.m. Southeast of there, about a thousand Korean refugees have spent the previous day helping U.S. engineer troops building a sanbag ford across the Nam River, allowing the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry to cross shortly before dawn and take Uiryong (Uiryeong-eup) by noon. At Chinju (Jinju), Task Force Dolvin heads out at 6:00 a.m. on the road to Hamyang. Their progress is slowed by several mine fields laid in the dirt road. A blown bridge just north of Hajon-ni (Hajeong-ri) forces them to stop for the night.
Sep 26: Eighty coal miners die in an underground fire at the Creswell colliery in Derbyshire, England. A damaged conveyer belt, which carries coal to the pithead, catches fire sometime around 3:00 a.m. during mine’s overnight shift. The thick smoke and fumes that blocks rescue workers and asphyxiates the trapped miners. One hundred and thirty-one others, nearer to the surface, manage to escape. Rescuers recover ten bodies before the flames prevent them from going further. Firefighters from nearby villages try to battle the flames, but low water pressure inside the mines hamper their efforts. They try to use sand, but the smoke and dust obscure the expanding inferno. After consulting with mine inspectors, union representatives and management, firefighters decide that the only way to put the fire out is to seal off the entire colliery and starve it of oxygen. Under the circumstances, it is now extremely unlikely that anyone trapped in the mine is still alive. One man has to work on the seal knowing that his father is still in the mine.By Tuesday evening, conditions improve enough for recovery workers to re-enter the mine. Forty-four more bodies are recovered, including twenty found in one place, apparently waiting together for rescue when they were overcome by fumes. The remaining twenty-three dead miners will remain underground until six months later, when the mine is finally unsealed and their bodies recovered. Says Arthur Horner, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, “Blood is on coal today, as it has always been. Let those who criticize the miners, and the costs of coal, now realize the price of its getting.”
▲Wednesday, September 27
Sep 27: U.S. Marines resume their block-by-block fighting in Seoul with a push up Ma-po Boulevard (present-day Hangang-daero, or Han River Boulevard), capturing the city’s main railroad station after a heavy fight. From there, they move northward to French Embassy, which they capture just before 11:00 a.m. They then drive on the Soviet Embassy nearby where they pull down the Red flag and raise an American one at 3:30. From there, they go to the adjacent American Embassy seven minutes later, where North Korean machine gunners at the gate surrender without firing. When Marines raise the Stars and Strips over the looted American Ambassador’s residence, enemy snipers nearby briefly disrupt the informal ceremony. Meanwhile, another Marine battalion moves into Seoul from the northwest against relatively light resistance. Their main objective is Government House, which is located on the edge of a large park containing an art museum and a six-centuries-old Joseon Dynasty palace. The battalion moves down Highway 1 and turns right along a major road northwest of the U.S. Embassy and fights its way east to Kwang Who Moon (Gwanghwamun) Circle, site of an important memorial shrine. The North Koreans put up the last of their organized resistance at the Circle. From there, it’s a casual ½ mile (800 m) walk north on the grand ceremonial Kwang Who Moon Boulevard (present-day Sejong-daero, or Sejong Boulevard, named for King Sejong the Great of Joseon) to Government House, which they reach at 3:08. After one last gun battle in front of the building, Marines pull down the North Korean flag and raise the Stars and Stripes in its place. Despite the victory, North Korean guerrillas occupy abandoned buildings and fire on U.N. soldiers all over the city, especially in the northwest where they mount a rear guard defense to allow the bulk of what’s left of the KPA defenders to flee north on Highway 3.
Sep 27: Troops of the North’s Korean People’s Army learn about Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s announcement that Seoul has fallen and the gap between the two allied theaters has been closed. Allied air forces carpet-bomb the peninsula with more than two million leaflets describing U.N. gains of the past twenty-four hours and asserting, “Further resistance is futile.” Promising good food and treatment to soldiers who surrender, the leaflets warn, “If the Communist leaders insist on continuing their war of aggression, they and they alone will bear full responsibility for the needless death of many innocent people.” Task Force Lynch may have traversed the gap between Osan and Poun (Boeun), but it is hardly closed. U.N. forces have not yet taken complete control of Osan, and the route taken by the task force is still, at best, lightly guarded, making it extremely porous.
Sep 27: Pyongyang radio broadcasts its report on the battles raging in Seoul. Their take is considerably different from the one offered by U.N. headquarters: “On certain sectors of the defense north and southwest of Seoul, as a result of counterblows of the unites of the People’s Army, the enemy retreated two or three kilometers. Officers and men of the units of the People’s Army defending Seoul are displaying unprecedented fighting spirit The population of Seoul, men and women, together with units of the People’s Army, has risen unanimously to the defense of the capital and are displaying bravery and patriotic self-sacrifice.”
Sep 27: In the southeast and south-central regions of the Korean peninsula, United Nations forces continue to make rapid gains against collapsing enemy opposition. Republic of Korea (ROK)’s 3rd Division pushes northward from Yonghae (Yeonghae-myeon) to Ulchin (Uljin), the Capital Division keeps abreast of the 3rd in the rough mountains and Chunyang-san (Cheongnyang-san) mountain region, he ROK 8th Division is at Tanyang (Danyang-eup) and preparing to cross the upper Han River, and the 6th Division is pushing through the roughest part of the Sobaek-san range to Mungyong (Mungyeong).
Sep 27: Last July, The then-battered, ragtag and woefully understrength U.S. 19th Infantry had been pushed out of Taejon (Daejon) by the overwhelming force of the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA). Now it is a reinvigorated 19th that is working its way back to Taejon against an unorganized, chaotic and fleeing KPA. The 19th sets out from Okchon (Okcheon) at 5:30 a.m.. Just east of there, the lead tank hits a mine in the road and is destroyed by enemy anti-tank fire. The KPA holds the heights overlooking the road and mounts a major delaying action to allow thousands of fellow soldiers to escape from Taejon. One American tank gunner, a survivor of the July battles, moves up to the front line singing, “The last time I saw Taejon, it was not bright or gay / Today I’m going to Taejon and blow the place away.”
Sep 27: At Anui, southwest of Taejon, an unseen enemy force in the surrounding mountains attacks the U.S. 2nd Division, 23rd Infantry at 4:00 a.m.m hitting the 3rd Battalion command post. Killed are the battalion’s executive officer and most of his assistance. This delays the 2nd Division’s westward advance for a day. South of there, three blown bridges west of Chinju (Jinju) delays the departure of Task Force Matthews until 10:00 a.m. They reach Hadong at 5:30 p.m., where they learn that American POW’s are being evacutated by the North Koreans and are only about thirty minutes ahead. The task force continues its advance that night. At the tiny village of Komdu, they liberate eleven American prisoners, most of whom are unable to walk and some with open wounds. Meanwhile, Task Force Dolvin continues its northwestern push from Hajon-ni (Hajeong-ri). Its progress is slowed by blown bridges, anti-tank mines and an enemy attack, which is broken up by an air strike by sixteen F-51 fighter-bombers.
▲Thursday, September 28
Sep 28: U.S. Marines sweep through the northeast corner of Seoul, fending off light resistance but encountering numerous mines. By nightfall, Marines have taken Hills 132 and 133 at Seoul’s northeast edge, and are preparing to take Hill 224 across the Seoul-Uijongnu highway where the North Koreans are still holding out. South of Seoul, American forces moved out of Suwan the day before to engage North Korean forces in Osan. After a full day of heavy fighting, gains were slight. Today, beginning at noon, seven Navy planes pound two hills and a railroad tunnel area, about two miles (3 km) north of Osan, with extensive napalm strikes. After the planes leave, field artillery pummels the hills for another half hour. By 3:15 p.m., American forces take the hill area and open the road between Suwon and and Osan.
Sep 28: At 7:00 a.m., an air strike against enemy positions on hills overlooking the road between Okchon (Okcheon) and Taejon (Daejeon) allows the U.S. 24th Division 19th Infantry to climb cautiously up the slopes, It quickly becomes clear that the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) has withdrawn sometime during the night. Aerial reconnasiance shows hundreds of enemy soldiers assembling at the Taejon train station, and another group at Yusong (Yuseong), a few miles west of Taejon, turning toward Chochiwon (Jochiwon-eup). The 19th Infantry enters Taejon at 4:30 p.m., and a Division artillery liaison plan lands at the airstrip at 6:00 p.m. The 19th Infantry captures so many North Korean stragglers that it’s unable to keep an accurate count of them all. The city has largely been leveled to the ground. At the city center, the American forces discover the bodies of 400 civilians lying in trenches in the Taejon’s prison yard. The prisoners were forced to dig the trenches just before their guards tied their hands and mowed them down. American POWs are found to be among the victims. Another 500 South Korean soldiers, hands tied behind their backs, are found near the Taejon airstrip. The last of the executions took place just moments before the city fell. Only six victims survive: two American soldiers, one South Korean soldier, and three civilians. Wounded and pretending to be dead, they had been buried alive. The two American soldiers had only a thin layer of loose soil over them, allowing them to breathe. They are rescued, still wired to dead bodies buried alongside them.
Sep 28: The South’s Republic of Korea (ROK) 3rd and Capital Divisions continue to make strong northward advances along the east coast and mountainous interior, with the ROK 3rd capturing Hosan-ni. The ROK 8th Division encounters heavy resistance at Chechon (Jecheon), so it just bypasses the enemy and races northward to Pyongchang (Pyeongchang), while the 6th takes the important crossroads at Chungju (Chungjiu).
Sep 28: At 4:00 a.m., the U.S. 2nd Division, 38th Infantry sets out from Kochang (Geochang) and Anui to Chonju (Jeonju) across seventy-five miles (120 km) of mountainous terrain. Meeting light resistance, they enter Chonju nine and a half hours later following a brief battle. They stop there for the night, having run out of fuel. They had moved so fast, their supply lines couldn’t keep up. South of there, lead elements of Task Force Matthews enters Namwon from the south, where they find it full of enemy soldiers. The North Koreans were distracted by two F-84 jets flying overhead, rocketing and strafing the town. They didn’t notice that American ground troops coming in. Surprised by the sudden appearance of an American tank, the North Koreans are thrown into a wild panic, running through the streets, dashing across rooftops, and doing everything they can to leave town. In one courtyard are eighty-six American POWs. “Most were bare-footed and in tatters, and all were obviously half starved,” says a tank commander. Later that afternoon, Task Force Dolvin enters Namwon from the east, after having passed through Hamyang earlier that afternoon. The combined forces in Namwon then break into three task forces: one to remain behind and perform mop-up operations in the area, one to press on to the west and southwest to Kwangju (Gwangju) and the other proceeds along the same route but cuts north from Sunchang to Chongup (Jeongeup). The latter two task forces make rapid progress against very little resistance and stop just short of their objectives by nightfall. They will seize Chongup and Kwangju the following morning. By coming together at Namwon, American forces have encircled the virtually impenetrable Chiri-san (Jiri-san) mountain area. The 6,000 tp 7,000-foot (1,800-2100 m) rugged and forested peaks in this 750-square-mile (2000 km2) area, roughly bounded roughly by Chinju (Jinju), Hadong, Namwon, and Hamyang at the four corners, had long been a hideout for Communist guerrillas and saboteurs before the war. The inaccessible roadless tract once again becomes a hideout for an estimated 3,000 North Korean soldiers, some still organized in units of 200 to 400 men. They will conduct guerrilla activities for the next several weeks.
Sep 28: The U.S. Public Health Service says that 1950 will likely be the third worst polio year on record, coming in just under a record set in 1949, which broke a previous record set in 1916. Last week, there were 2,170 new cases reported, bringing the cumulative total to 18,403 cases since March.
Sep 28: West Coast industrialist Henry J. Kaeser of the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation announces a new small, inexpensive car that he hopes will become America’s “people’s car.” The new model, called the Henry J., starts at $1,299 (about $13,700 today) for a four-cylinder, 68 horsepower two-door sedan that sits on a 100-inch (254 cm) wheelbase. Kaiser had originally set his sights on a $500 price tag, but soaring material and labor costs since World War II put that idea out of the question. Nevertheless, he economized wherever he could: ornamentation is kept to a minimum and there is no trunk opening — the rear seats fold forward for trunk access. Other cost saving measures axed a glove compartment, armrests, passenger-side sun visor and flow-through ventilation — the rear windows are fixed. Its light weight makes it surprisingly fast. A six-cylinder version, which goes for $1,429 (about $15,000 today), can go from zero to sixty in only fifteen seconds, which is considered peppy for its day. Speeds of ninety miles per hour (145 km/h) are possible. The timing of the Henry J’s arrival however is off, and sales will be disappointing. Cheverolet’s smallest car is only $200 more and includes more standard features, and the Henry J’s high fuel economy loses its advantage as gasoline becomes plentiful with the end of rationing.
▲Friday, September 29
Sep 29: Supreme U.N. commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur and South Korean President Syngman Rhee return victorious to Seoul. “On behalf of the United Nations command, I am happy to restore to you, Mr. President, the seat of your Government,” MacArthur says in the battle-scarred Capital building, where a fire is still smoldering in the basement and bits of glass keep falling from the skylight onto the mostly-military audience below. The brief handover-ceremony follows a jeep parade from Kimpo (Gimpo) Airfield and through the city’s rubble-strewn main streets, where military bulldozers had worked overnight to clear.
Sep 29: The rout of North Korean troops from South Korea continues without letup. Along the east coast, Republic of Korea’s (ROK) 3rd Division seizes Samchok (Samcheok) in the morning and reaches Kangnung (Gangneung) by evening. West of there, the ROK 8th Division, which encountered heavy resistance by the North’s Korean People’ Army (KPA) at Chechon (Jecheon), swings around to the eastern approach to Wonju in a bid to cut the KPA’s escape route there. South of Seoul, U.N. forces move quickly to solidify what had been a thin, little-guarded line closing the gap between Osan and the southern battle areas, cutting off important KPA escape routes. As part of that effort, the ROK 1st Division and the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division take Chochiwon (Jochiwon-eup). the U.S. 2nd Division races from Chongju (Cheongju) to Nonsan and Kanggyong (Ganggyeong-eup) on the upper Kum River estuary, and from Chongup (Jeongeup) and Namwon to Iri (Inhwadong). Everywhere, except in the impenetrable Chiri-san (Jiri-san) mountain region, other forces perform mopping up campaigns to clear vast regions of enemy combatants.
▲Saturday, September 30
Sep 30: Top United Nations officials and most delegations have come to an agreement that U.N. Supreme Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur is authorized for the time being, to set military terms of surrender. They reach this conclusion mainly because military advances are fast outrunning diplomatic discussions. U.N. officials have also conceded authority to MacArthur to cross the Thirty-Eighth Parallel if he so choses. But for now, Republic of Korea (ROK) forces on the east coast make a show of halting just a couple of miles south of the boundary line, while advance units begin crossing over to North Korean territory for the first time since the war began. Other ROK divisions push northward along the line running inland to Wonju. There, and at Chechon (Jecheon) to the south, the North Koreans are putting up strong delaying actions to allow their fellow soldiers to flee north. U.N. forces near Seoul begin pushing to the east and north and northwest, while further south, U.N. troops take the port city of Kunsan (Gunsan). While the North Koreans nominally hold territory to the north and south of Kunsan, in reality the front lines are largely disintegrating except for two stubborn stubborn pocket of resistance: in the nearly impenetrable Chris-san (Jiri-san) mountains northwest of Chinju (Jingu), and in another area west of Chochiwon (Jochiwon-eup), where KPA forces remain determined to fight their way north. Meanwhile, North Korea’s propaganda machine finally admits that its armies have been pushed out of Seoul for the first time. According to a North Korean communiqué broadcast over Radio Moscow, “Units of the People’s Army defending Seoul, under pressure from numerically superior enemy forces supported by tanks and aircraft, have withdrawn and are waging battles on the northern and eastern outskirts of the town.”