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FROM JAPAN TO CHOSIN 7TH DIVISION


EVENTS OF THE 31ST RCT The day by day events of the Korean War for the 7th Division Regiments and 3rd Division Regiments involved at Chosin.
Please note: This is not a summary of ALL events of the Korean War. Please see THE KOREAN WAR, UN FORCES link for in depth coverage.

Special thanks to Ed Evanhoe and Ray Vallowe(*) for allowing me to use thier material that they have compiled.
(* copyright 2000)

You can read the entire events of all Divisions in Korea at Ed's site, THE KOREAN WAR, UN FORCES, see Links Page.

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PRE KOREAN WAR-
After World War II, The 7th Division was already in Korea under occupational duty from 1946 - 1948. All 3 regiments, 17th, 31st and 32nd, all changed positions and have been stationed at the 38th parallel. (You can view William Smith's pictures from occupational duty, 1948 under Photopoint pictures, Army, 32nd Reg. Korea

Fall 1948-
US 7th Infantry Division removed from Korea as occupational duty.

December 1948 -
7th Infantry Division moves to the northern most parts of Japan, Honshu and the island of Hokkaido.

THE KOREAN WAR JUNE 25, 1950-
North Korea attack South Korea. The war begins.<> JULY 5, 1950-
*(The opening shots were fired by the American Task Force Smith. The United States commenced its involvement in the Korean War. General Mac Arthur would choose the 24th Division because of their location being the closest to Korea.)

JULY 20th, 21st, 1950-
General William Dean, (former Commander of 7th Division) Commanding Officer of 24th Division moved his troops out of Taejon. Dean and a group of men became isolated from the remainder of his troops. General Dean and this small party of men ran into a roadblock. Some of the men were wounded, so Dean went off in the night to find water for the wounded men. Dean fell down a steep slope, was knocked unconscious, woke up with a broken shoulder and a head injury. General Dean wandered in the mountains for 36 days looking for friendly lines. Dean was captured by North Koreans due to two South Koreans exposing his whereabouts. General Dean was a POW for 3 years.

AUGUST 5, 1950-
*Airlift would bring in about 340 replacements each day, but this was far from adequate to build beyond the daily casualty rate-if to break even. Losses by August 5th, totalled 7,858 with replacements only at 7,711, and not all of these were immediately sent to Korea. As General Walker was steadily being pushed back towards the port of Pusan he would stop and establish his "Stand of Die line," otherwise known as the Pusan Perimeter. He now had on line the 25th Division and the incoming 1st Calvary Division.

*The interval between JUNE 25, and SEPTEMBER 15, 1950, left only one division in Japan, the 7th Infantry Division. Located at various camps spread between the northern regions of the main island of Honshu, and the upper island of Hokkaido. The 7th Division was gutted of its cadre non-comissioned officers and specialists (sent to other divisions to fight in Korea)

After depleting the division, it stood at one-half of its pre-Korean invasion strength, with only 574 officers and 8,200 enlisted men-of which I was one-many of these enlisted men had little if any unit training, warm bodies were the main concern, many of the technical staff and experienced non-commissioned officers had not been replaced.

JULY 29, 1950-
*General Walker appealed to Mac Arthur for the 7th Divisions 32nd Infantry Regiment to be flown into his perimeter. MacArthur denied that request stating it would, "Completely emasculate preset plans for the entire division, which was being reconstructed and will move to Korea possibly in late September."

*Mac Arthur would assist in rebuilding the division by moving 1,600 men from Okinawa, these men intended for a third battalion of the 29th Infantry Regiment. He diverted to the division an Automatic-Anti-Aircraft unit (15th AAA-AW) this unit apparently a replacement for the division own 29th AAA-AW Battery A, this battery had been deactivated while the division was serving in Korea on occupation duty (after its reactivation on April 20, 1948). This later unit attached would prove of prime value at the Chosin Reservoir, saving many, many lives their, its twin 40mm guns and those quad 50's were responsible for many alive today; without this unit, disaster would have been total.

*MacArthur assigned two companies of Combat Engineers, and requested an urgent need for three infantry battalion cadre destined for the division to be sent without delay. He requested General Walker to now return those specialists "lent" him to be returned to the division, Walker felt it would be immpossible to withdraw anyone from his front line perimeter. Mac Arthur compiled a needs of specialists he could not find within his command. He requested the Department of the Army, quickly scout out experienced non-commissioned officers (NCO's) from the many who served in World War II. He ordered 30% of 'all' replacements before September 10th to be diverted into the 7th Division. He had already completely exhausted all other sources of replacements. Still that would in no way bring the 7th Division to any reasonable war time strength in numbers!

*General MacArthur conceived plan for replacments. He would attach more than 8,000 South Korean soldiers to the 7th Division.

AUGUST 7, 1950-
*The 7th Division began amphibious training without ROK counterparts.

AUGUST 11, 1950-
*MacArthur directed General Walker to procure, screen, and ship to Japan for use in augmenting the 7th Division, able bodied male South Koreans.

AUGUST 17, 1950-
*The Republic of Korea (ROK) government shipped 7,000 Koreans out of Pusan. These men were briefly trained-somewhere-and then 'attached' to the 7th Division.

*The Korean "buddies" were beinf slowly distributed throughout the division. There was absolutely no time to train them. Since they were not being shipped to Japan from Korea until august 17, and not fully attached until August 31, D-Day and embarkation day was 10-15 days away.

*Consider the individual ROK positions, he had been grabbed off the streets in South Korea, and shipped to Japan to be integrated with American Forces. These forces were for the most part immediately resented and ignored them. South Koreans spoke very little, if any English.

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As a prelude to the landing at Inchon, US X Corps had been organized in Japan. X Corps consisted of 1st US Marine Division, 7th US Infantry Division and the 17th ROK Infantry Regiment.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1950- The 7th Infantry sailed from Yokohama Japan to Korea.

The situation at Inchon - Extremes tides at Inch'on, which can rise and fall as much as 32 feet in a 12 1/2 hour period, dictated the landing schedule for the Inch'on Invasion because at low tide mud flats extend from hundreds of yards to miles offshore. Thus the only time troops could land was from about 2 hours before high tide through about 2 hours after high tide.

Because of this it was decided the first objective to be taken on "D" Day was Wolmi-do, which then could be used as a fire base against enemy positions in and around Inch'on itself. The landing on Wolmi-do would take place shortly before high tide on the early morning of September 15. The landing at Inch'on proper would then take place in the afternoon beginning 3 hours before high tide.

September 13
- A Navy gunfire support group sailed up Flying Fish Channel and began shelling Wolmi-do, an 335-foot high island at the Northwestern mouth of Inch'on Harbor and connected to the mainland by a causeway. September 15th - Marines land on Wolmi-do. and later on in the day land on Inch'on.

-Because of Mac Arthur's decision to compromise; not with Smith, but the Navy, General Barr had only 2 regiments instead of three at Inchon-as would Smith as the 7th Marines would not arrive in time for the landing. These were the 31st RCT and the 32nd RCT, each with a strength of about 5,000 men, including nearly 2,000 ROK's. RV copyright 2000

-From Japan to Inchon-typhoon Kezia had winds of 125 mph. 260 ships crossed typhoon Kezia to reach Inchon.

SEPTEMBER 18, 1950- The 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Division, landed at Inchon. As soon as the regiment landed, it began moving toward 1st Marines positions on the Seoul Highway.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1950-
Arriving early in the morning the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Division, took up positions alongside the 1st Marines on the south side of the Seoul Highway. By evening, 32nd Infantry Regiment relieved the 1st Marines on the south side of the Han River.

The 31st Infantry regiment, 7th Infantry Division, landed at Inchon. -The 31st headed 20 miles southwest to capture Suwon and the airstrip there. (The 10th Philippine Infantry Battalion Combat Team arrived at Pusan.)

SEPTEMBER 20, 1950-
As the 1st Marines fought its way along the Inchon-Seoul highway and into to Yongdongp'o, the 7th Infantry Division protected tis right flank and engaged in the units moving toward the battle area from the south.

During the day the 32nd Infantry Regiment captured T'ongdok Mountain and part of Copper Mine Hill, located approximately two miles south of Yongdongp'o and just northeast of Anyang-ni.

(On the east coast, the 3rd ROK Division finally captured P'ohang-dong and began advancing toward Hungae.) (At Pusan, the Swedish Red Cross Field Hospital arrived and began setting up.)

SEPTEMBER 21, 1950-
Shortly after dawn the 32nd Infantry Regiment secured the rest of Copper Mine Hill.

That afternoon the 7th Division Reconnaissance Company arrived at Anyang-ni where it was ordered to turn South on the Seoul-Suwon highway and proceed to Suwon, arriving there at approximately 4 PM where it fought a number of small battles as it made its way through the town and to a blocking position three miles south of Suwon.

After dark a tank-infantry task force from the 32nd (Task Force Hannum) arrived at Suwon. Shortly after arriving a short sharp tank battle ensued between tanks from B Company, 73rd Tank Battalion, and two North Korean T-34 tanks. One B Company tank was destroyed and one T-34 tank was destroyed.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1950-
Shortly after midnight four North Korean T-34 tanks attacked 7th Division Reconnaissane Company positions three miles south of Suwon. In this encounter two T-34 tanks were destroyed. The remainder of the night was fairly quiet and shortly after dawn Reconnaissance Company proceeded to Suwon Airfield where it was joined at approximately 10 AM by Task Force Hannum.

Later that afternoon the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, arrived at Suwon Airfield and relieved the two units.

Meanwhile, a number of small battles took place between the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry and Norht Korean units seven miles northeast of Anyang-ni. In these the 1st Battalion secured the hills south of the Han River railroad and highway bridges.

The 65th Infantry Regiment, from Puerto Rico, arrived at Pusan and began unloading. (To the east, the ROK Captial Division took Kigye and advanced toward Andong. On the east coast the 3rd ROK Division captured Hunghae, driving the North Korean 5th Division northward toward Yongdok.)
(For all intents and purposes, the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter was over.)

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Introduction to Data-Numbers of 31RCT-March Order-Divisions and Regiments-Chosin Notes-32nd Reg before and after-Events To Inchon-Events 9/23 to 9/3/1950-